Inside the shed, he found mostly what he expected: rotting wood, cobwebs, dust-covered tools, and in the middle of it all, a patched up, rusty canoe. “Hello, ugly. Ready for one more trip?”

It was a four hour drive up to the lake. He made only one stop, just like when he was a kid, at the combination gas station and soda parlor that still smelled like stale cigarettes. Despite the October chill, he left the windows of his Ford Tempo cracked so that the bungee cords and twine could loop through and keep the canoe secure on the roof until he arrived.

Frosted fallen leaves crunched beneath his feet as he dragged the boat to the water’s edge. On its surface was reflected a blaze of orange, brown and yellow leaves. By the time he reached the middle of the lake, there were a couple inches of water in the bottom of the canoe. He opened the cooler beside him, no bait, no fish, no beer, not even ice. Instead, he withdrew an urn. “Shoulda just dumped you in the boat and let the whole thing sink,” he muttered. Then with shaking hands, he lifted the lid. “Goodbye, dad.”

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Story by Gregory M. Fox
Photo by Hasan Albari from Pexels