July 16, 2013

Twins take to kayaking, outdoors together

Jessica Lane, Staff Writer,
The Express-Star


What's 10 to 12 feet long, sometimes catches fish and comes in pairs? Kayaking twins, of course. 

"Being twins, we are never lacking for adventure," Janice Cockrum, twin to Janet Howard, said. 

The pair are doubly interested in fishing as well as kayaking. 

Cockrum recently kayaked her way into first place in her division in the 32nd Annual Memphis Tennessee Canoe and Kayak race on the Mississippi River on June 15. She paddled down the river, encouraged by shouts of "Boomer Sooner" along the way. 

Cockrum learned about the kayaking competition from her son, Colton Cockrum, who works for Memphis University. There were about 250 to 300 competitors in the 32nd Annual Memphis Tennessee Canoe and Kayak race.

This was her first competition. She said the river was very swift. 

"I wondered if I knew what I was getting myself into," Cockrum said. 

Cockrum said that this year she is excited to train for more competitions down the line, as kayaking is excellent exercise, good for the waist and a great cardiovascular workout. 

Other than exercise, Cockrum said that she and her husband, as well as her twin sister and her husband, all enjoy kayaking together. 

Cockrum introduced her husband to kayaking because both enjoy the outdoors. They explored the North Fork Lake in Arkansas together. They've taken a white water course and taken lessons in Broken Bow. 

Twins, sisters as well as next-door neighbors, Howard and Cockrum engage in their favorite activities together including horse riding, gardening, quilting and, of course, fishing.

Being twins makes for some interesting coincidences. Both Cochran and Howard have careers in public schools in Grady County. Howard is a kindergarten teacher at Friend School and Cockrum is a Chickasha Public School nurse. 

However, Cockrum said her twin sister is about to out-fish her. Howard recently caught an impressive 15 and a half pound striper.

More than fishing buddies, the sisters are mirror twins. Some features they share as mirror twins include a near identical mole, but on the opposite side of each other's faces as well as one being right handed and the other being left handed. 

"So, in a mirror, we really are mirror twins," Cockrum said. 

Both women said they really don't expect people to be able to tell them apart, and that they understand from their own encounters with twins that mistakes happen.

In the case of a mixup, the twins say they are not offended and usually don't correct the mistaken party. Instead they act as representatives to the other and relay the message to the correct twin. They do this because they don't want to make anyone feel bad for confusing one for the other.

The two once sent their mother the same birthday card--each card bought from different stores. And while some might cringe at the prospect of showing up somewhere in the same outfit, for Howard and Cockrum, it's not a faux pas. It's just part of the territory.