Come with us on vacation, they said. It will be so relaxing, they said.
Our “inner circle” over the past COVID months headed to a lake in Arkansas. A new adventure, they said, since none of us had been there before. My daughters, their husbands and three of the grandkids discovered more than a little R&R on our mini-vacay.
When strange things happen to our family, we jokingly say we expect nothing less. There’s something about our genes that seems to attract oddness, not only in ourselves but in our surroundings.
The first clue things were getting funky was when the hot water heater only allowed one person to shower before it tripped the breaker. The second clue was when the 6-foot-3 son-in-law slipped in the shower, with no hot water, and cracked a rib.
The next day, as the only one who knew how to drive a boat, the guy with the cracked rib got us successfully onto the lake. It was blazing hot, but we didn’t care, as we were ready to get in and do some swimming. The little boys and the oldest daughter jumped in first.
After I jumped in, I thought it was a bit strange the three of them were paddling as hard as they could back to the ladder. As I rounded the boat, I realized there was a current pulling us all away and no matter how hard we paddled, we couldn’t get back. The sons-in-law were struggling with what to do, or say, for that matter, as we began to panic and the 3-year-old started crying. No matter how hard we swam, we were going nowhere. Eventually with life jackets, tied together to make a “rope,” the little boys were back on the boat and, just as the rest of us were getting close, someone screamed “snake.”
I looked up to see a seven-foot water moccasin headed our way. (No exaggeration – I have a video to prove it as the non-injured son-in-law thought it would be a great time to film his family being pulled away and chased by a snake.)
The next time we stopped in a cove, I offered myself up to be the first one to jump in. Much to my dismay, they agreed.
After several hours of boating and swimming, and having made our way nearly all the way to the other end of the lake, we decided to cove hop our way back, until the boat stopped working. For the next hour and a half we limped our way back to the marina at 5 mph. It was difficult, but we all managed to huddle around the driver, as the only place to shade from the sun. Eventually another boat came by to rescue us.
We were hot and tired, and this time didn’t care that we only had lukewarm water for showers. The boys kept telling the events of the day over and over again, and each time we laughed at how these things always seem to happen to us.
Did I mention all of the beaches in this town were flooded? Little did we know it had rained there for the last two weeks. We swam and fished near a stop sign on one of the park’s streets. Again, odd, but true.
We made lemonade out of lemons, but, in actuality, we had a great time because we were together and had unplugged from all of the craziness, as we made our own.
Let’s do it again next year, they said.
I said, “Only with scuba gear.”
Sandy Turner lives in Independence. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.