My brother, Bill, made this model of the canal boat I wrote about in my novel, Impending Love and War available at The Wild Rose Press at http://goo.gl/CFQBd1
The Irish Rose was waiting for its turn to enter
Lock Fifteen where Captain Donovan would man the
tiller. Cory waved to Grandpa and her cousins Ethan
and Paddy. They had red hair and blue eyes. Ethan was
fifteen, tall and wiry, while Paddy, two years younger,
still had enough baby fat to make him look stocky.
The pilot, who had navigated the Irish Rose
through the locks, tossed a rope to Paddy. He tied it around the snubbing post in the ground to stop the boat
in the lock chamber. The pilot jumped off and collected his fee from Captain Donovan. He ushered everyone
aboard when two men closed the back gates of the lock.
“Hurry up, girl!”
Cory handed her basket to Grandpa, who took her arm and hauled her to the top of the stern cabin. Tyler
gave her a boost on her backside. She glared at him when he joined her on the cabin roof.
Three separate cabins were connected by a catwalk along the roofs. The stable cabin was in the center.
Three mules were stored inside to replace the three tied in tandem to the towline pulling the boat. The open
midship area was loaded with cargo.
Ethan climbed aboard after Tyler. “Who’s this?”
“Tyler Montgomery.” Cory made introductions while Ethan ran across the bow cabin and jumped to the
other side of the lock.
“Take over the tiller, darlin’.” Captain Donovan grabbed an eight-foot long wooden pole with a metal
tip called a pike. “Open the paddles.”
Ethan gripped a long metal wrench and turned a rod that ran from bottom to top on the wooden gate. It
opened a small paddle door in the bottom of the gate and water rushed out. Paddy did the same on the other
“She’s a bit bumpy when we release the water.”
The captain shoved against the stone wall to keep the boat from hitting it.
Tyler grabbed Cory as the boat dropped along with the water level.
Ethan and Paddy closed the paddles when the water in the lock reached the level in the lower canal.
Ethan jumped on board, and Paddy released the line on the snubbing post. He tossed it to Ethan. Then he tossed
the team’s line to Ethan, who attached it to the boat’s deadeye on the bow deck. The two men who had closed
the back gates, opened the front gates by pushing on the balance beams.
“We’re ready to go down the canal,” Ethan shouted.
Paddy urged the mules to move and the boat jerked forward.
“Isn’t Cleveland up river?” Tyler asked.
“You’d think,” Cory answered. “But the Cuyahoga means crooked river. It flows south, hooks when it hits
the high ground of Akron, and curls around to head north, emptying into Lake Erie.” She made a hooking
motion with her hand.
The mules plodded along the well-worn towpath and pulled the boat through the canal water at a slow
and steady pace. Bullfrogs and crickets serenaded them as butterflies danced to the music. “Is this as fast as the
boat goes?” Tyler asked.
“They’re mules not race horses.” Cory swatted at a fly buzzing by her head.
Ethan gripped the edge of the board with his toes as he scurried along the catwalk. Captain Donovan
handed Ethan the pike and took the tiller handle from Cory.
Tyler still had his hands around Cory’s waist. “You can let go of my granddaughter.” Captain Donovan
looked at Cory. “Not much of a sailor, is he?”
Cory shrugged. “I told you he’s a lawyer.”
“He don’t look like a bookworm,” Ethan said.
“Might be worth training him to be a boatman.”
“He might be able to earn his fare.”
“I’m a fast learner.” Tyler winked at Cory.