Sunday was Father's Day here in the US. Though I wasn't all excited about eating at Applebees, the prospect of hanging out with 2/3rds of my sisters and a niece as well as making my parents happy was irresistable.
Planning on hitting the river after eating, I put on my swim gear--long black workout leggings, long-sleeved high neck stretch shirt, and river shoes with old orthotics. Then I hit the road.
On the way, I realized I had forgotten Dad's card. I stopped at the dollar store on the way to see if there was anything left worthwhile. Amazingly, there was my dad right there. Not in the store. On a card. It looked just like him, down to the mustache. Only, anyone would know it wasn't him, because the guy in picture was jet-skiing. He had a look of terror on his face similar to what my dad would have if anyone could manage to get him in the water at all. It was, therefore, perfect. Dad thinks he may have to frame it. He spent the time before the meal came imitating the facial expression of the guy on the card and generally being silly. Dad may not always have been the steadiest provider, but he may well be the most unselfconsciously goofy.
Taking leave of the parents, we headed for the river, that bain of Dad's existence. The parking lots were full, but I have a tiny car, so I was able to park fairly near the jump-in point. Yay, tiny car! We got to the river bank, tubes, towels and car keys in hand, and put the non-water stuff to the side. (You might think that's just inviting theft, but no one takes anything there. All they'd ever find would be towels and random keys.) We forced ourselves into the frigid waters. And then made a serious mistake.
We started tubing downstream without having planned to.
About half a mile down, I pointed out our predicament. Three vehicles, and not one of them would be downstream. Baby Sister suggested we walk back. I said, if we were going to do that, I had to do it now, because I can't walk far and we were already too far. I tried to get over to the bank, but my feet got stuck in the muck. With a great deal of effort, as my sisters and niece floated on ahead, I freed my feet at the cost of my shoes. Now there would definitely be no walking back. Good thing those were old orthotics. I wonder how far down those shoes were sucked?
Having learned from Dad that serious situations without any good solution require enjoying the moment, I paddled up to the sisters. Baby Sister again said we'd have to walk back to the starting point. I said that wasn't happening since I no longer have shoes, and stuck out my bare feet. A good laugh was had by all and we floated the rest of the way down to the usual getting out point, observing various waterfowl and swimming snakes (yipe!) and splash fighting with gusto. The splashing resulted in me seeing, for the first time in years, Niece with no mascara. She got the worst of it, but she loved it.
At last, we were at the get-out spot. The river taxi was there, picking up people who had rented tubes from them. That was not us. I suggested we ask for a ride anyways and discovered at that point that my gimp experience made me the only one of us four who didn't think anything of asking people to do things for me. The river taxi people didn't care at all. I excitedly informed the siblings and child, telling them to see if they could go, too, since there was plenty of room. But they cowered in fear.
With great power comes great responsibility. Which meant, I was the one who had to go for the SUV to fetch the others and their tubes. At least I got to soak Baby Sister's seat with my wet butt instead of my own car seat. And Sister J and her daughter got to go down the perilous rapids in my absence that I couldn't have managed anymore, what with the whole needing fast reflexes to not crack your skull thing that goes on there.
I did have to end up walking, though. On the hot gravel parking lot. With no shoes. My feet, which would usually simply be in pain from the experience, are now shredded and toasted, too. And my hips hurt. But I look forward to doing it again, only with better planning. And new river shoes. I have many ancient pairs of shoes and orthotics waiting their turn to appease the river goddess.