Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Reverend Mister Black

For some of you, the title will spark memories. For the rest of you, the rest of the story -

When Ron was in college and I was in high school, Mom and Dad decided to do a family vacation that would bring all of us together for something special. They rented a houseboat on Lake Powell for about a week. It was a good sized boat but not so big that there were beds for all of us. We also towed a small row boat with small engine for exploring some side canyons.

As we planned for the trip, Dad told the older kids that they needed to earn some money to buy their own sleeping bags. So, I saved some money from my summer job and bought a nice, new sleeping bag.

When we took off from Wahweep Marina it was decided that some of us would sleep under the open stars, on the roof of the cabin. We swam, did a little fishing, some sight seeing and exploring on the trip.

When we found a place to stop for the night, we anchored off of a small beach. After eating, we were all sitting around on the roof. For some reason, I was asked to sing "The Reverend Mister Black". Being the shy guy that I am, but also realizing that when I do that song, it is an exact reproduction of the original, I finally agreed. As I got a few words into the song, everyone began laughing. Naturally, not wanting to be rude, I stopped. Eventually, they stopped laughing and started telling me to continue. Did they think I was a fool? Yes! After considerable pleading, I began again. Same result. They laughed even harder and I stopped again. I began to wonder if they really wanted to hear the song. But, when they all finally stopped laughing, they assured me that they did want me to keep singing and they promised to not laugh again. Being a trusting soul and not wanting to spoil the whole trip for them, I began again to sing for the third time.

Were they respectful? No, same song, same result. This time, I began catching onto their evil scheme. They laughed so hard that the Park Patrol was summoned by other boaters up the lake and into Utah. Well, maybe not Park Patrol, but it was loud and long, very long. Being much the wiser, I refused to sing it again.

After watching stars and having a good time, it was time to get setup for the night. We climbed down and got our sleeping bags and took them back onto the roof. I rolled out my nice new bag, the one the rest were all envious about. I then went back down to get something else. Just when I climbed back to the roof, a gust of wind came along and blew my sleeping bag off and into the lake. Some believe it was because I had a reputation for being frugal, but the real reason I jumped off of the roof and into the lake, in the dark, when I could barely swim; was because I was loyal. Yes, loyal to the bag that was planning on serving my needs and keeping me warm. As the bag drifted away from the boat, I swam after it, grabbing ahold. Someone grabbed a light and someone else threw me a life preserver.

As I am here now, you can safely assume I and my bag were rescued. By the next night the bag was dry and I used that same bag for many years after that.

One of the next evenings, after we had dropped anchor in a small cove and were settling in for the evening, we heard a speed boat zip past us from a fairly close distance. Since it was dark, it caught our attention and as we listened. We heard it run ashore on the far side of the cove. Ron and I got in our small boat and went to check on the occupants. If I remember it right, it was a man and two women, all of which were drunk. They were not hurt and we were able to drag their boat back into the water, where they climbed back in - thanked us and told us how strong we were - and took off again.

On the trip, we saw Rainbow Bridge, before water was in the canyon as far as the arch. We had a great time and established some lasting memories.


  1. Good times! I am sorry, Mike that the others laughed. I was too young to understand what was so funny. I thot you did a great job and I would like you to sing it to me again.

  2. Can you post the lyrics to that song for me? That and Big, Bad John. I've always wondered if you remembered those!