Adventures with my Little Brother


Friday, June 9, 2017, was another bucket list activity for my Little Brother Ethan and me. We made a bucket list last year of things we want to do together. We periodically add to it as we come up with new ideas. So far, we’ve checked off quite a few in one year. 🙂

Ethan mans the bow of the canoe.

Our activity was paddling up the Straight River. YES, there is an actual Straight River flowing through town. That’s why it’s 99.9% likely that Straight River will be the title of the book I’m finishing up that is the prequel to Castle Danger. (Keep It (the title) Simple, Stupid–KISS)

The Intrepid paddlers

It was a steamy late spring day. The wind was calm. The river level had dropped enough to make it possible to “easily” paddle upstream for a few hours, then drift back down to our starting point.

Stopped on a “mud bar” for a lunch break and a bit of fishing. Alas, no fish for lunch, just peanut butter and jelly.

Canoeing is the kind of activity that most kids in the Big Brother Big Sister program typically don’t get to participate in. Any new activity has the purpose or goal of exposing the Little to new experiences in the world, building their confidence by teaching new skills (like paddling, reading the current and the rapids, seeing or hearing new wildlife), or simply showing them the great diversity of interests and opportunities to explore outside their regular routine. We discovered the local ducks seem to prefer the wild parts of the river. The geese like the public parts where they can mooch breadcrumbs from people.


See, no premature ice cream melting in our Flurries. Ethan had Cookie Dough. I had Nestle’s Crunch.

We got a twofer on our bucket list because we stopped for ice cream after finishing our paddle. We wanted to determine if the soft-serve at one place was better–meaning it melted slower than at a rival soft-serve place. (Science!?) So we now have a new “go to” ice cream shop in town.

This is an example of how easy it is to be a Big Brother or a Big Sister. I canoe a lot anyway. It’s easy to bring an extra paddle, PFD, lunch, and water bottle for a kid who is great fun to be around and has only been in a canoe twice (both times with me). And it’s always more fun to share memories with someone.

This is the kind of impact your donations can have when you donate to Big Brother Big Sisters, or better yet, participate as a mentor. Donations and volunteers make it possible for these kids to grow, learn, experience, and often, just get away from a chaotic home for a few hours. You can’t put a price tag on that.

6 thoughts on “Adventures with my Little Brother

  1. The Big Brother Big Sister program is such a wonderful organization. Bless you, Chris, for choosing to make a difference in Ethan’s life. Experiences like this mean so much more than time invested by the Big. It sure looks like the two of you had a fine day.

    1. Thank you, PJ. The “dirty little secret” most Bigs will confess if you ask them is that we Bigs often feel get more out of the relationship than do the Littles. Plus it’s a lot of fun to do kid stuff once in a while.
      But we will all attest that the Littles do get huge benefits too. It’s just that sometimes the Littles don’t recognize that fact until they are adults.


    1. He is a cutie, isn’t he? Actually, I intend to write a middle-grade adventure story featuring a Little and a Big after I finish the Matt Lanier trilogy. I intend to name the Little “EJ.” Those are Ethan’s initials, and I’ll consult him for how 10-12-year-olds talk, act, think, etc. when I’m writing the story.


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