When I was a young boy living within a pasture field of Indiana’s beloved Wabash River, a close neighborhood friend would join me in going for hikes on old trails near the historical river. Some of that was spurred by an adventure spirit that had always been in our friendship. Some of the prowess for those hikes came from my involvement with Cub Scouts and sketching maps as we recorded items along the trail.

On one particular hike, my mother had “a little chat” with my friend, several years older than me, cautioning us to not go close to an area where a resort lake under construction was filling with water. He gave her his word that we were not going that direction.

As usual, our hike led into an area close to the Wabash River known as, “Rainbow Bottom.” It was a trail in the area that we knew well and had taken several times.

Presently, as we got deeper into the woods, there were some sights that we recognized and others that we were not familiar with, but were sites that were associated with the new construction.

Suddenly we broke out of an opening and were shocked to discover the newly constructed Rainbow Lake lapping at our feet, exactly where we weren’t supposed to be. “Oh my gosh,” said my buddy. “Don’t ever tell your mother that we ended up here or I will never take you on another hike.” Such a threat had a lot of bite and to my knowledge, I don’t think I ever told my mother that we ended up that day exactly where my mother had cautioned that we should not end up.

Several years later, an elderly lady from our village told me about two girls that once meandered on to the Wabash River in a canoe. They started paddling towards the northwest and they rowed and rowed and rowed. Time went past mid-day and they continued to stir the canoe towards the direction of Linn Grover, Indiana.

About the middle of the afternoon, my grandma and her best friend across the street realized that “Elnora” and “Jean” had not been seen for some time. As time continued, a general alarm began to set in. As the day started to fade and there were still no girls, large groups of people from the neighborhood started to become concerned.

In the meantime, late in the afternoon, the two girls paddle their canoes into a small community of Linn Grove and it suddenly struck them that time was passing on and there they were still 10 miles from home. Quickly, the girls turned around and started padding briskly into the direction they had come from.

Close to 5:30 p.m., searching residents discovered the girls and word was quickly spreading that they had been found safe and sound several miles west of the place they had launched from. As the day started to fade, the two girls arrived at their home destination to the joyful and tearful celebrations of their families who had nervously waited for their returns.

The mother who 25 years later was to tell her young son to never go close to the river on a neighborhood hike, had returned from her own adventure, much more dramatic than her original fete. Fast forward, several years after her son had ended up on the banks of the Wabash, someone tried to tell her of her son’s misjudged journey.

“Oh Jim would never do that,” said the mother with a sense of orneriness. But she would.