William De Voe in Lifestyle, Creative Writers, Writers Archery Coach • USA Archery Oct 12, 2016 · 2 min read · +300

It’s A Wonder I am Still Alive

It’s A Wonder I am Still Alive

I was thinking back of the life’s experiences during my last hunting trip to Idaho (Honey Posted – Serenity & The Awakening) and just wondered in some cases, how I survived my childhood adventures!!! 

I guess I would be considered a risk taker during my childhood or maybe accident prone. If challenged on a dare I would accommodate to prove that no one messes with me or questions my intestinal fortitude! This was in my early teens when the outdoors was my kingdom, an explorer, hunter and fisherman! I grew up on the Hudson River in Upstate NY in a small village where you could walk through town with a 22 rifle!!! My home was on a stream that fed into the Hudson River 100 ft. away! We were from a poor family and I had the chores to run the traps after school in the dark for pelts to help with family income. This was at the tender age of 11!

I guess I grew up very quickly and always very responsible (sort of)! There were a few adventures I did that it’s a wonder I am still alive.

I remember in the winter with a friend playing Huckleberry Finn with a huge chunk of ice in the stream feeding into the Hudson River. We chipped off that chunk with a huge chipping iron and jumped on! So cool floating down the stream. Never anticipating what would happen next. As we approached the Hudson River that was still frozen solid, I figured it would just hit the ice and stop! Not a chance, it hit the solid ice and started very quickly sliding underneath! Holy Crap! My friend jumped off onto the ice before me; unfortunately he weighed twice as much as me. Every step he took it cracked and he made it to shore. I did the same but due his cracking the ice, it crumbled under my weight, I went under and the current was pulling me under. I caught the edge with my hands and held on for dear life! Pulled myself up and slowly edged my way to shore. If my hand had slipped they would have not found me until spring thaw somewhere in the Hudson!!!

My friend and I thought it would be so cool to sail the frozen Hudson with makeshift bed sheets (borrowed moms bed sheets without her knowledge). Attached them to cut off maple branches and we had our sails. Wind was blowing strong and we strapped on our ice skates. The sails actually worked great and coasted for a long time until I hit a soft spot in the ice and yes, went under! Caught the edge of the hole and held on until my friend was able to pull me out! There was a river current and if I had slipped the same result as above.

Or the time I was dared to walk across the top of our dam above town with not cat walks, not rails, just a four foot width at the top. It was covered with moss and moisture. On one side a 150 ft. drop onto shale and the water side two huge water pipes that fed the power plant, sucking everything into the screen under water. Yes, I was stupid enough to do it, slipping a few times and doing the high wire act!

Or the time I was speeding down a remote country road with my muscle car and hitting black ice on a corner! Several 360’s and missing huge maple trees and coming to rest in a ditch!!!!

Or the time playing Tarzan on the vines that would extend over the Hudson with a 50ft. drop into water. You guessed it! It snapped and ended up into brush snapping my leg and other injuries! It never happened to Tarzan?

I guess that is why they called me wild Bill in the military! Since then I have mellowed quite a bit! Years back I went home to visit mom and took a stroll up to the dam! It now is gated off at both ends. My stomach sank to my ankles looking over the scene and actually turned quite pale! Not so invincible now are you? I asked a store owner when was it gated it off. He said a rumor was some kid walked across the dam on a dare many years back! I quipped back; gosh that was a dumb kid shaking my head!!! Kids!!! Hum!!

William De Voe Oct 12, 2016 · #5

#2 Thanks Karen Anne! I really appreciate your comment!!!!

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William De Voe Oct 12, 2016 · #4

Thanks! Yes I would cringe nor it would never happen sending my kids alone in the dark rowing up and down rapids and the Hudson River at 11 running traps!!! It is a different time! Back then we all had to grow up much faster!!! Pops said your old enough to earn your keep!!!

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Aaron Skogen Oct 12, 2016 · #3

I think you and I might have lived parallel childhoods. My siblings and I were sitting around the table a while back recounting all the times we defied some unfortunate end with our shenanigans. It was an evening filled with gut busting laughter. Now I just think, "If my kids ever tried that. . ." On the other hand, when I tell the kids "There's not much you could do that I haven't done", I think its pretty true. . .