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Proper Operating Proceedure

Around 1950 I spent a portion of a summer in Muskoka with my rather frail and elderly aunt. As an impressionable young boy I soon gained great respect for her prowess in handling her "putter", an Uncle Sam, which by that time had seen many summers and was in much the same condition as she.

In those days Dippy owners took it as a matter of proper seamanship always to pass on the wrong side of every buoy, and my aunt was no exception. On a trip to Port Carling one sunny day, we were heading over a very shallow sandy area in the Indian River, on the wrong side of the markers as usual, when the large 750 -ton passenger steamer Sagamo passed by. For a brief moment, the ship drew all the water out from beneath our little Dippy, and there we were, sitting high and dry on the sand, with the propeller thrashing about up in its housing.

 In a silent panic, I glanced at my aunt to see what she would do in this terrible predicament. A second or two later, when the wash returned, we were gently floated off the sand and my aunt, with an air of utter nonchalance, shoved the device handle firmly back down again with her foot. Had she been Sir Malcolm Campbell himself, I doubt that I would have been any more impressed.

... by Paul Dodington