Guest Opinion: Life's richer after a break-even day on the rascally river

April Fools' Day is approaching, so I thought I’d share a true story about a practical joke played on me, courtesy of the Delaware River.

The best things in life are free, and swimming in the river is on that list.

My brother and I frequently scuba dive in the river. No kidding! North of Trenton, the river’s clear, rocky, shallow, and warm. That’s why you see so many inner tubers in the summertime. On this day my brother wanted to metal detect near an old mill in Upper Bucks County. We had been there before. He put on his scuba gear and settled into the mill race.

I just had my snorkeling gear and was going to spend my day swimming in the Delaware. The water was clear and warm as I snorkeled away from our boat. I spotted a dollar bill stuck to a rock, pinned there by the current. A few seconds later I found a twenty the same way. Then another dollar. Then another twenty. I’d only been snorkeling a few minutes, but I’d found $42. I was going to find every twenty stuck to rocks in the Delaware. I was swimming like a fool, downstream, upstream, over to Treasure Island (Not kidding, that’s its name.) But I didn’t find any more twenties stuck to rocks.

I saw my brother unloading his gear into the boat. I swam over and started to brag. “Hey, what did you find? I found forty-two dollars.”

He said, nonchalantly, “Didn’t you leave the house with forty-two dollars?”

That’s when I realized why I hadn’t found any more money. I had found my own money! Now, I could’ve been sad I wasn’t $42 richer. But I was happy. I hadn’t lost $42 either. Besides, I had spent a few wonderful hours swimming in the Delaware River, and it literally hadn’t cost me a dime.

We loaded up the boat and headed upstream. It’s a lot easier in a boat with a motor (unlike swimming.) We entered the calm waters of Pigeon Pool. You won’t find it on a map, just like you won’t find Karly’s Kut Thru, or Chicken Cutlet. Those are our places.

I stopped in Frenchtown for a bag of chips and a ginger ale. Swimming makes you hungry. I handed the cashier a soggy twenty-dollar bill. She handled it like it was toxic and slipped it under the till where the larger bills are kept.

Driving home I thought of another cliché. Money talks. I bet it does, ‘cuz there’s this twenty I know, bragging to the fifties and hundreds that it’s summer and you can go swimming in the Delaware River for free. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Carl Radich lives in Falls Township.

This article originally appeared on Bucks County Courier Times: Guest Opinion: Life's richer after a break-even day on the Delaware