Munchie on the Ocoee
Let it never be said of me that I prefer to be boring. I like my sweet tea with lots of sugar and lots of lemon, the meat in my freezer was once running around in someone’s backwoods, and I eat eggs with hot sauce for breakfast every morning! Ha!
My mom once told me that I was named after the Apostle Peter and I think Peter was one of the least boring Apostles there was — besides Paul. Here was a man’s man who liked to fish, he was boisterous — always opening his mouth when he shouldn’t, but yet when it came to stretching his faith he was the first and only human to step out of the boat and walk on water. Peter wasn’t boring. He was a rough around the edges adventurous soul. I’ve always admired the man.
Sometimes though, more often than naught, I find myself exhibiting the Apostle Peter’s less favorable characteristics. But this past weekend, I sort of got to do something he did if you can compare white water rafting to walking on water. Okay maybe a bit of a stretch — but I wonder if the rush of class IV rapids was similar to the waves experienced in the boat as Jesus walked toward it on Galilee?
I knew my white water trip with the men of Rock Springs Church in Milner was going to be interesting when the guide paired six of us in a raft with a dude named Munchie. Not to mention that the Ocoee River in Tennessee was running the highest it has in years. Tragically, our trip was delayed one-hour because the group before us lost a member going over Grumpy — a class IV straight out of the chute. Needless to say I was extremely nervous about our turn. However, like the Apostle Peter, I decided to test my faith in the turbulent Ocoee.
Now let me officially introduce you to our guide — Munchie. If you were to take Willie Robertson from Duck Dynasty, beard and body type, and give him the personality of comedian Jack Black — you would have Munchie. And I don’t think he got his nickname solely from his love for snacks — if you get my drift.
So here we go, all 7 of us to face certain doom on the Ocoee. And leading us into the fray is a happy-go-lucky “surfs up” dude at the helm. Things got a little dicey going over Grumpy, but once we got on the other side I started to think “I can handle this!”
Per Munchie’s instruction — a successful ride depended on us paying attention to his constant instruction. Keep your eyes down river and listen for the commands to paddle how fast and how long while Munchie steered the raft. Things went pretty smooth so-to-speak until we hit the final group of class IV rapids and one in particular called the “double suck”.
We were warned about the double suck, that if we didn’t get enough speed up we could get caught on the back side of the rapid and flip. Apparently the raft ahead of us didn’t get the memo and there they were waiting for us in the double suck as we steamed full speed ahead!
WHAM! Our bow slammed into their stern full speed and the stern shot up almost 90 degrees. Poor Munchie tried to hang on for dear life. Unfortunately he missed his grip and all 300 lbs (at least) came down like a massive felled tree. Just before I realized we would hit the raft ahead of us, I put my oar in the air to avoid it being ripped out of my hand by the current. Unfortunately, Munchie’s face did a meet and greet with it on his way down to the bow where his body was laid out bow to stern in a full face-plant! We all thought it was the end of Munchie — but he got back up, straightened his helmet and life jacket out and on we went.
It was the trip of a life time for sure! Our raft became legendary on the river that afternoon as everyone recalled Munchie’s face plant. But all kidding aside, rafting down the Ocoee was a great life lesson.
Sometimes we feel as though life just tosses us about in rapids and we don’t know what to do, but — if I may stretch this lesson here a bit — we all have Munchie or should I say Jesus back in the stern of the raft calling out directions and steering the raft. All we need to do is make sure we pay attention to his voice and keep looking down river.