Everybody is afraid of something. I am no exception. The three most terrifying to me are water, heights and roller coasters.
Back in the seventies, after moving our family to Boise, we learned of a very popular Summer activity and decided to take our four kids and join many others who floated the Boise River on rafts or in tire tubes.
This was, and probably still is, a big deal. The city even had a little vending area at Barber Park where you could rent tubes for the ride and get some drinks and snacks if you so desired.
The day we had our first adventure on the River was warm, with overcast skies. It seemed perfect to me as I cannot take blistering hot weather. We were dressed in cutoffs and tanks, along with shoes that the water wouldn't hurt. The kids were so excited, they were all water babies at heart. Me? I was apprehensive because of my fear of water but determined to make this a great day for our family. Besides, my husband had promised to stay right by my side to protect me in case of any trouble. I knew he was a great swimmer and not afraid of anything, so I felt pretty safe in spite of myself.
We arrived at the park, rented our tubes, talked to the kids about keeping close together, then ventured to the bank of the river to get into our tubes and start our float trip. While Archie helped the two youngest kids into their tubes, (sitting with your butt in the center, legs and arms hanging over the front and back) Michelle and Darrell went into the river, got themselves situated and somehow paddled with their arms to keep themselves close as they waited for the rest of us. Archie told me what to do and that he would be right behind me with Sandee and Crisitie. So off I went into that cold water, found a spot where my tube would float and carry my weight as I situated myself into it.
Just being in that water made my heart start pounding; terror was raising it's ugly head in me and I was hopeless. As soon as I sat down in that tube, it took on a personality of it's own and soon I had floated what seemed like miles from another human being. What could I do but start screaming my head off. "Archie! I can't control this thing, I'm going to drown! Help me! Oh, my God! Hurry, hurry!" All the kids were in their tubes, looking at me like I was some kind of nut case as their Dad came running through the water toward me. My arms and legs were flailing around as I saw my life pass before my eyes.
Strangers were staring. My kids were laughing at me! How could they do this when their Mother was about to leave this life forever? Just as I was thinking that I would haunt them relentlessly for their untoward behavior, Archie reached my side to rescue me. "Jesus Ca-rist!" he said, (he rarely swore) as he leaned down, taking hold of my tube. It was only then that I noticed he was standing in water that didn't even reach his knees. I grinned at him sheepishly, apologized for my irrational behavior and off we went, him close by my side, floating freely down that river, enjoying the beauty of the land and river, feeling happy for the fun the kids were having and people watching the other adventurers. Even so, I was never so happy as when we reached solid ground again. It was one of those love/hate relationships for me.
The adventure didn't end when we reached solid ground....tomorrow I'll tell you the rest of the story, it gets better, or worse. Depends on your point of view.