The old white haired Indian slowly paddled his canoe in silent purposeful strokes. He was heading for a favorite fishing hole on a sunny August weekend, filled with city folk and their frantic actions to squeeze in every last minute on the lake.
As he slid through a narrow bay, he was very aware of all the owners of camps and cottages that lined the shores on each side. Sitting on their docks, sharing the view and comradeship, surrounded in boats and canoes.
The hum of outboard motors was constant in the background but the canoeist tuned into one particularly loud motor that was coming closer. He had earlier seen these four boaters who were heavily into their drinks and racing about without a purpose.
As the motor noise came up behind him, the old man was alert and prepared for the loud rush and roar as the big boat sped by with a large bow wave. It was met by the experienced flick of the wrist that presented the bow of the canoe to meet the attacking wave.
The canoe rose easily to shrug off the rush of water, and just as easily swung back to his original track, without effort or emotion.
The rabble in the boat, shouting, yelling, and swilling more firewater, suddenly realized they had a great object to harass. The big boat swiftly and easily swung back the way they came and headed for the defenseless victim.
A pattern soon formed of the racing boat with the high bow waving coming closer and closer to the canoe on each pass. It progressed to the point that the boat would swerve at the last moment before impact to create a very large wave with the stern of the boat.
The Old canoeist met each attack with skill and calm. The bow of the canoe met each wave head on and just as skillfully turned back on course, which was slowly taking it deeper into the bay. A little water entered the boat but nothing to be of concern.
During this dangerous game, the property owners sitting and standing on the many docks were become very concerned about the safety of the canoeist.
On one of the last attacks, the boat went a little farther out into the bay before returning on what appeared to be a high speed pass. During their last turn out in the bay they failed to appreciate that the old Indian not only had been paddling deeper into the bay, he was also moving closer to the rocky shore on his right.
As the boisterous crew of four young men came closer they noticed for the first time that the canoeist was backing up, as if he was afraid and was no longer meeting their challenge.
Two or three of the old cabin owner on shore jumped up and started waving their hands in the air, in what appeared to be an attempt to tell the boater to slow down or go back. However they were very familure with the waters and reefs in their bay, and like the old man, knew the danger.
Youth and alcohol fueled their activities and only spurred them on.
When the high speed boat was almost up to the canoe a huge CRASH filled the bay with sound. The entire portion of the racing outboard motor was sheered off below the hull of the boat. Follow seconds later by a great thumping Crash, as the bow of the wooden boat smashed its way onto the hidden reef.
The blow suffered by the engine was transferred to the transom of the boat, to which the engine was attached. While the engine was not torn free it partly broke the transom, allowing water to pour into the boat.
The front bottom portion of the boat was holed in two places, causing the water to roar in as if from high speed pump. All four occupants, drink in hand or in the mouth, were propelled forcefully, either into the windshield or through it and onto the bow.
The canoeist rapidly and skillfully avoided the disaster while everyone on the docks were standing watching and stunned by the events.
Each occupant of the destroyed boat were hurt in various ways, but in shock with minor injuries. The boat came to a stop with the bow on the reef which was about a foot under water. The rapidly filling boat sank by the stern and into the deeper water.
The old man threw out his small anchor, strode across the reef, and one by one pulled the four boys onto the reef where they sat safe in a foot of water crying and moaning. The driver of the boat was moaning through a battered bleeding mouth and threatening to sue the old Indian for causing the accident.
Many people lining the bay jumped into their boat and rushed out to help. Soon the reef was busy with people helping the injured into boats and heading into town to the hospital. No one was paying any attention to the canoeist who had climbed back in his canoe and just as determinedly as before continued his journey to his fishing hole.
As the turmoil toned down, the smashed boat finally filled, and slipped off the reef into deeper water, damaged beyond repair. Leaving the water covered reef with no evidence of what transpired.
The Police investigation was filled with a dozen witnesses who gave detailed facts as to what occurred. Charges were eventually laid against the boaters for dangerous driving. No one even interviewed the old man. They couldn’t find him or his fishing hole.