Always Listen To Your Parents, Or You Will Float Away

by - February 27, 2010

I was the type of kid who was anxious about the STRANGEST things.  I worried about my stuffed animals when I was in school, fretting if they were comfortable enough while I was gone.  I would tuck them into my bed and kiss them all goodbye before I left, promising them a swift return.

My father had a 'pet' garden spider one summer.  He would go out and tend to his garden everyday and talk about his spider as if it were a member of the family.  I in turn, began to think of it as a member of the family as well, so when the weather began to get frigid, I worried that the spider was uncomfortable and cold.  What did I do?  I covered it lovingly with a big rock one day, therefore ending the poor thing's life.  But I only wanted to make it cozy.

As a young teenager, I could not go to sleep until everyone else in the house was sleeping.  This included the rare occasion when my parents would attend a work party, or the all-the-time occurrences when my older sister would be out very late at night.  I would stay up, beady-eyed and loopy, waiting for a bedroom door to gently close before I would snuggle down into my covers, happy that my family was safe and warm in their own beds.

I was a worrier.  But THIS story takes the worry cake.

It was a beautiful Summer day in 1988, and my parents decided it would be lovely to spend the day on the family boat on Lake Belwood.  My father hitched the boat to the van while my mother made a picnic lunch for us all.  Mid morning and we were on our way.  We spent a lovely morning speeding across the lake, swimming, and waving at other boaters in our happiness to be sharing such a wonderful day with them.  

Towards the end of the afternoon, we were out in the middle of the lake when my parents noticed a gigantic storm cloud descending upon us.  It seemed to have come out of nowhere, and it's colour was unnerving.  Pitch black with a tinge of green, one could feel the silence that was beginning to engulf the area from the intensity of the storm that was on the way.  It became a race against time to make it to shore, rig the boat back up to the van, and hop into the vehicle to avoid the downpour that was inevitable.  

Oh god.  My worst nightmare.  Not only was I anxious, but now there was a time limit.  This spells disaster in my mind.  Of course my worrying brain translated all of this to mean: if we do not make it back in time to rig everything up and gather all of our stuff to make it into the car before the rain hit, WE WOULD ALL DIE.

We made it to shore and began tying the boat to the dock to secure it so my father could drive the van down the loading ramp.  I was sitting on the bow of the boat (a 20 foot Bayliner) passing clothing and picnic stuff to my mother so she could pack it all away in the van.  I noticed that there were yellow nylon ropes tied to the boat, and in my anxiety-ridden mind, I wanted them to be packed away as well, safe from the storm along with everything else.  The wind had kicked up and I had to hold onto the metal rails around the bow to prevent myself from toppling into the water.  My parents were yelling at me over the wind to get down so the boat could be rigged to the van.  I yelled "What about the ropes?", and my father shouted to leave them.  Not one to listen to rationality, I untied the ropes and threw them onto the dock.

Those ropes were securing the boat to the dock, and I had just untied them from the boat.  I began to swiftly drift away from the dock due to the now roiling water being sloshed this way and that from the strong wind.  I was frozen on my knees, watching as I drifted away, unable to speak out of the fear that was building inside of me.  I heard a sound come out of my mother that would only come out of someone who was terrified that their child was in danger.  I have never seen my father and uncle move so fast.  They both dove into the water and grabbed onto the boat and kept a strong hold on it as they dragged it through the water back to the dock.  I am not sure how they even did that as they were swimming and the boat sat very high out of the water.  I only know that I am glad they did.

Lesson learned.  Don't worry about inanimate objects and things that belong outside.  Oh you mean you don't?  That was probably just weirdo me who needed to be taught that lesson.

We began the drive home while the storm raged around us, safely tucked away into the van.  I received a tongue lashing about my stupidity which I knew I deserved.  Even though I was being yelled at I could not help but be happy and relieved that we beat the storm. We were all together in the car with everything packed up, and we were dry and warm.

Well, some of us were.  The hero's of the day had to suffer through squelching shoes and wet shorts.  


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