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Shinn column: Rebecca gets crabby at the lake

You might remember my friend Rebecca from last summer, when she told me the fabulous story about the kid who lost his (glass) eye at summer camp.
She was nice enough to have coffee with me over the weekend and tell me the story of how she came to have a massive bruise on her left forearm.
Her daughter, Erin, a freshman at N.C. State, has joined the rowing club.
“It’s a small community,” Rebecca says of the rowers. “This is another avenue for her to find her niche.”
Since it’s not a varsity team, they have to raise money to attend events. They had a fundraiser the last Saturday in April, inviting parents, alumni, friends and faculty to come and row. The group gathered out at Lake Wheeler, close to campus.
Erin is a member of the novice team, whose members had never rowed before. Each team member was paired up with their guest, with eight people to a boat, rowing all in a straight line.
Rebecca is pretty much game for anything. She’s tall and thin like her daughter, but, she says, “I am not in good shape and I have never been an athlete. I thought the worst that could happen would be that I would turn the boat over.”
She did not turn the boat over.
But she did catch a couple of crabs.
Being on a freshwater lake, Rebecca couldn’t figure out how people were “catching crabs.”
She finally realized it was a term that means your oar gets stuck deep in the water.
You usually have to stop the boat to get it out.
Rebecca caught two crabs that day on the lake.
Now the thing you have to realize is that when you’re in the boat ó called a shell ó your feet are strapped in and your seat moves forward as you row.
“I was really good on the rowing machine,” she says.
The one on the land.
In the boat, however, it was another story.
Rebecca is proud of the way Erin handled herself.
“She didn’t yell and she gave clear instructions,” Rebecca says. “I was impressed that she was so good at it and I was impressed with the patience she showed me, and I appreciated it.”
Erin wanted her mother to watch her and do what she did. Although Rebecca was directly behind her, their oars were on opposite sides of the boat.
Also giving orders was the coxswain.
“She was bossy,” Rebecca says. “Apparently, the coxswain is supposed to be bossy, and she’s using words I don’t understand.”
Before long, she caught a crab.
“So my oar is up in the air, and they’re still rowing,” Rebecca says. “Erin says, ‘Mama, what are you doing?!’ And I said, ‘I don’t know!’ Finally, it popped out of the water. It was like the Ben Hur scene in the boat, and my coxswain was yelling at me.”
Before long, it happened again. Another crab.
“By now, I’m lying in the bottom of the bottom with the oar wrapped around my head,” She says. “I don’t know how the oar was so far down in the water. I’m laughing my head off. I think that’s when the oar hit me.”
At least she didn’t lose an eye.
Contact Susan Shinn at 704-797-4289 or sshinn@ salisburypost.com.

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