Lakewoodites Flirt With 1876 Tom Sawyer Style

I have to admit, my mind was a million miles away. I had just gotten back from some meetings in Parma. The differences in the various cities around Cleveland always amaze me, but at the same time every Clevelander and Cleveland neighborhood is so much alike. Each neighborhood straining between new, and old, rich and poor, arts, life, biking, garden, golf, shopping, all starting to blend into an over-homogenized almond double mil latte, while desperately struggling to hang on to the reality we all want and need to believe. We have made the right choice, our neighborhood is...

Three guys from Lakewood living the Tom Sawyer dream.

Suddenly I cannot believe my eyes. I try to use Metro Parks when ever possible for getting around the city. There is no fast way to Parma, so why not take the most relaxing. As I look over between the branches and weeds, I swear I was seeing Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn rafting down Rocky River on hot summer day. I pull the car over stop and grab my camera and sure enough coming around the bend is a raft made of who knows what, with 4 folding chairs attached in some wacky way with 3 teenagers who were living the big adventure, building a raft and taking it to the river, and to the rapids.

I am sure it is much like a nautical version of "Sharkey's Hill" another foolish and sometimes dangerous way for young boys to blow off steam, test their manhood, while desperately being "cool." (Sharkey Hill story, "You really should have been here yesterday" ... rkeys-hill)

I shouted down to them and asked, "YO Captain Stubbins, where are you guys from?" One of them shouted out, "Lakewood!" Ah it takes me back to when we were lads, and they were building, well, they were building every crappy building in Lakewood when I was a teen, and there would always be a cement trough or two-- in the 60's and 70's they would mix their cement on site, in a metal trough big enough to fit four boys. For many of Lakewood's youths, or ewtes if you are a fan of "My Cousin Vinny," these were our dream yachts, our SS Minnows, you could grab one, or two, take them right down the cliffs, and into the river. You could be a captain for a day, or even sometimes a week, before they were found and returned or sunk. Another idiotic chance to prove manhood on so many silly-ass levels, but a lot of fun.

So here we are in the 21st Century as these three were living the dream of boys and lads for decades. As I was at peace with the world, and had the time, I went to the first ford they would cross. It was flooded enough that the guys would not have to stop, and it was enough of a drop to cause a little anxiety--I don't care what the would-be river pirates might tell you-- they looked scared going over, look at the photos. While I reflected on the very real dangers, and the fact that they had no OH numbers on the boat.

I had to smile at their attitude and their adventure, who knows, by the end of summer maybe I'll...

How To Make A Raft Like Tom Sawyer

Tom Sawyer and his raft embody the freedom of childhood. If you have access to a navigable lake, stream or river, you could build your own raft for exploring. The materials required can be found or purchased. With a little patience and hard work, you will soon be adrift on your homemade raft.Read more:

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Volume 9, Issue 14, Posted 8:59 AM, 07.10.2013