Almost Friends

From: Chris Hauserman

Sent: September 15, 2009 1:35 PM
Subject: Paddle boarding

Hey Hi

 Nice to chat the other day about paddle boarding… a couple of us are going for a paddle on Saturday around Green Lake if you want to join us. We will meet down at the Edgewater around 10am. Let me know if you can make it – but if the boards haven’t arrived yet, we will go again probably the weekend after. I also go for a paddle in the mornings on Alta Lake, around 7am if you’re also interested…


Reply Sent: Wed 09/16/2009 12:03 AM

Hi Chris,

Thanks for the invite.  No sign of boards yet – hope to see my own and a perhaps the rep from Oxbow here for a demo session on the lake before the snow flies –  but will be in the shop this weekend anyhow.  I am in for the early paddle session once we get rolling…maybe 6:30 so I can still get my son to school! Ha, ha!

 I’ll keep in touch.



Almost friends…I met Chris in the shop last summer looping Maui’s local surf flick ‘Freight’ (2005’s Big Wednesday) between ‘Riding Giants’ and the two Jeremy Koreski flicks, ‘Shrink’ and ‘Numb’.  He came in before closing that Saturday after the reply I sent when mom-nature with her wicked sense of humor blew in the biggest, earliest winter on record.  Chris was still shivering after a long paddle through heavy chop on Alta Lake that day…he stopped by just to tell me the story and say, “I think that might be the last paddle of the season.”…and part of me wished I had gone.  If I had, we would have laughed and cursed and weathered the storm and had a good story to tell now…but now that will have to wait.
Work, kids, work, bills, bad weather, no board, blah, blah, blah…it is all so simple looking back.  Just do it.  Yes, I know, Nike said it first (or at least trademarked it first) but after all of this talk about time and tide I don’t even remember how many people have died this past year…so many perhaps that I missed the article in the paper or was somehow desensitized to another fatality on Highway 99, even after Jack’s first teacher in daycare, there have been so many it’s a blur…but I somehow didn’t know.  I just didn’t. 

I had to search back to find Chris’s e-mail this week to give him the good news I signed with Naish to carry their SUP’s and paddles at Street To Peak.  Chris told me he had the Nalu 11.4 Wood and thought maybe it was a little narrow and something about maybe a warranty for some defect but the boards never came and like the seasons turning I moved on to my winter closet and didn’t ‘keep in touch’ until the ice had left the lakes and the sandals had arrived in store.

Dreams of summer and dipping paddles in glassy water on cool west Coast Range mornings are in the air and tonight I filled the living room and kitchen with old bike gear to sell at the annual WORCA Swap tomorrow to put a little cash in the bank and maybe save enough for that SUP.  (Did I mention there’s snow in the forecast…not funny.)

In the meantime, like it can, life came full circle today and stopped me in my tracks.  I sat in my office for a minute, quiet, until my son rushed in and hugged me saying, “I didn’t know where you were.”  Me, “I would never leave you.”   I sent Chris a heads-up the board order with Naish was going in this week and when I stopped in to drop off a jacket for a friend I saw one of Chris’s colleagues had replied to my note with the news…long pause…and then this;

 “Since I was the one who introduced him to paddle boarding your email still found a receptive being and I will make a point of stopping by. Cheers,”
Maybe we’ll make it out for that paddle after all Chris.   God-speed, peace and wings my friend.

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