Monday, May 17, 2010

Is This What's Called a Tempest?

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, A tale of a fateful trip/
That started from this tropic port aboard this tiny ship.

Although the forecast yesterday called for heavy thunderstorms, I rationalized that Dallas, our Captain, had been in the National Guard -- he obviously has inside intelligence about all sorts of things. It might rain all over Arkansas, but Lake Ouachita would be spared. And look what a handsome guy he is.

Note how Susan, sitting behind him, seems a bit skeptical that his training has anything to do with being able to control the weather.

Realizing that things might get rough, our Captain turned over control of the boat; our new skipper was obviously wary but determined to get his passengers home safely.

We left the marina in high spirits, not knowing what was ahead. Or maybe Billie knew but couldn't tell us; like Cassandra, she too often made predictions that were ignored. Can you guess which one is Billie?

We hadn't gotten very far when gentle rainfall began. This did not dampen our spirits.

The weather started getting rough, The tiny ship was tossed/
If not for the courage of the fearless crew,The minnow would be lost, the minnow would be lost.

Okay, so we were wet and cold; that couldn't dampen our spirits. At least until we heard ominous thunder. We had taken shelter on one island and for some reason decided to move to another. Maybe it was because the first island had what looked to be a grave, complete with cross. And a stack of firewood and bricks placed strategically for ceremonies. The kids all swore that what came next happened because some of us had to pee on holy land.

Not all of us had to pee. One provided coverage with a towel, but I'm not saying who. One peed on her feet and had to wash her shoes in the lake. "Washing your shoes" is a euphemism among some tribes for peeing in the water.

This is what we looked like not long after we offended the gods.

Our Captain said "Just five more minutes of this, and then the sun will come out!" We heard a variation of that several times, and some of us began to doubt. We pulled up to the second island, whose trees seemed to designed specifically as lightning rods. The Lightning God obliged with a very cool show. The dilemna: struck by lightning under a tree or on the boat - it had lots of metal, which I hear is very atractive to lightning. We stuck with the boat. I felt compelled to capture our last moments. Note to self: bring disposable, waterproof camera next time so I can capture the boat flooding, lightning and hail.

I cowered in terror under my soaking towel, contemplating the saying about how there are no athiests in foxholes. I hadn't had the pleasure of sucking my thumb in many years!!!! However, being from Liverpool, Sherry is used to rain. How could we be worried when our hostess was obviously having such a great time? When we first met, she told me that her favorite memory was eating fish and chips while wearing her rubbers and macintosh, dodging lightning as she sprinted through the streets singing obscure Beatles songs like "Rain."

I think she might have been zapped by a wee bit of lightning sometime in her youth.

Our Captain, meanwhile, grew weary of the whining.

I think his exact words were "Don't make me come back there and take you out."

I was deep into making up various scenarios in which, if I made it home alive, I explained the crispness of our children to my husband. Then one of the teenagers began yelling "Ouch! It's hailing! Ouch! Ouch!" I thought it was a joke until I heard the clatter on the boat and felt the hail on my head. They were the size and weight of bowling balls. By this point, I was hysterical with laughter. Or maybe I had a concussion from the hail. I had stashed one extra additional bonus emergency backup towel in our waterproof bag that I was saving for (myself) when the rain stopped. When my youngest daughter's lips turned blue and she begged me for it, I couldn't refuse. I would appear a much better mother if I handed it over instead of fighting her for it. One has to keep up appearances. Note to self: bring at least two towels apiece on future outings.

I even gave her the lion's share of the towel. Because that's the kind of mother I am.

This is how we ended the trip, knowing that a nice sunny day would have been nice, but we had memories to last a lifetime.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you didn't write about when I started wishing aloud that Kaity's vocal cords would freeze.

    Wait, she doesn't read this, does she?