IMG_5453Before I set out alone to kayak the isolated waters of the Inside Passage from Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula to Alaska, my wife Donna Sue presented me with a 9-inch-tall porcelain angel to protect me on my journey.

Life itself for me has been a grand adventure—sailing the Caribbean in a 17-foot sailboat; climbing Africa’s Mt. Kilimanjaro; hiking the Sahara; exploring the Amazon; rodeo bronc riding; parachuting as a member of a U. S. Army Special Forces operations detachment; investigating murders as a police homicide detective; following wars as a combat correspondent…

“Aren’t you afraid?” Donna Sue asked me when we first met 25 years ago.

“Only of not being able to live the life I want to live.”

God has been very good to me.

I suffered some injuries of course—broken bones, wounds, cuts, concussions, etc. Never anything serious. Nonetheless, Donna Sue was concerned whenever I departed on another jaunt.

“I always come back,” I promised.

She presented me with the ceramic angel as insurance. I snugged the angel into a cubby box in my kayak cockpit where she kept watch during storms, remained vigilant of bears at night, sharks at sea, and a whale that almost capsized us in rough seas…

The Passage is one of the most isolated—and spectacular—parts of the world. A week or so after my journey began, Donna Sue back in Oklahoma heard a news report that an American kayaking the Inside Passage was believed lost and possibly killed.

I refuse to carry a cell phone and have my pocket ringing. Why venture into the wilderness just to depend upon modern technology? Donna Sue knew I had proved I could take care of myself in any situation—but she had still sent the Angel along. She fretted out the days until I reached civilization again and telephoned her.

“Donna Sue! I always come back,” I reassured her.

CHARLES W. SASSER is a full-time freelance writer/journalist with over 60 books in publication and thousands of magazine articles. His most recent book, Crushing the Collective: America’s Last Chance to Remain Free and Self-Governing is available on-line and in bookstores. His book, Patton’s Panthers, will soon become a major Hollywood movie.