A canoeist and new dad came up with the perfect “basket” to take his new son canoeing on the St. Croix River. I’m quite sure he never expected his invention to be put to the real test in the chilly fall waters.(More)

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break.

The dad had taken a large cooler and weighted the bottom. He had anchored a baby seat into the cooler and attached two foam outriggers for stability. At the boat landing as he and his wife were loading their canoe he was explaining his invention and how he’d tested it. Their 4 month old baby was sleeping in the cooler quite contentedly. The baby was in the middle of the canoe and most of their gear was stashed. Mom and Dad were standing on the dock.

Our canoe was loaded and we were ready to push off. Just then the family behind us loaded their Golden Retriever into the canoe. The puppy was so excited that his shaking body tipped the canoe. The baby in his contraption slid into the river and started to float downstream. We set off after the baby who my young sons were now calling Moses. On the dock the mother was yelling, “I told you the baby or the puppy but not both of them.”

We reached Moses and easily retrieved him in his cooler/basket. Remarkably he was dry and still sleeping unaware of the excitement his unplanned float trip was causing. We paddled back to the landing and handed Moses over to his distraught parents. By now the puppy was tied to the car in the parking lot, his head hanging low and the dad was trying to retrieve the wet belongings from the canoe. We visited long enough to know that they were abandoning their canoeing trip.

I remember saying to the dad, “Well at least your baby contraption worked just like you planned. That’s something.”

His wife said, “Please don’t encourage him” and rolled her eyes.

The dad was obviously torn between pride in his invention and the terror of his wife and the piles of wet gear on the dock.

Moses on the St. Croix gave me and my family an inexhaustible topic of conversation for the weekend. Lots of “How did that basket work?” and “Why was the mom crying?” questions and questions about dogs and canoes.