Saturday, June 24, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me...

Well, it was actually a while ago, but Greg and I got around to picking out my gift yesterday. We've been discussing it for a while, so we just had to find time to go acquire it.

We live close to several lakes and one pretty calm river, so I've been interested in finding a way to get out on the water with the boys more frequently. When I was growing up, our family owned a motor home and a trusty ski boat named "St. Jude" who always ran reliably at least the first day of any ski trip. We grew up camping and skiing with friends several times a year. I have great memories of trips to Lake Havasu (the California side) where the most ambitious thing we did for a week was to wake up at the crack of dawn to catch the glassy water. After skiing from 6 to 8 am, we'd come back to camp and spend the rest of the day languishing next to the 105 degree lake water. From my memory, the adults would sit in chairs at the shore, partially submerged to keep cool in the 118 degree heat while the kids played in the water. Serving of adult beverages (mostly Lucky Lager, I think) started around ten in the morning. I'm pretty sure we rarely showered or brushed our teeth, and we usually had our run of the campground, which we shared with a band of wild burrows. As we got older, each of us brought friends, and the families of our friends began to join us. Sometimes at trips closer to our Orange County home (like Mission Bay in San Diego), our favorite priest would come out to say Saturday evening mass for the campers. It was incredible. One of my fondest camping trip memories was the year when I was a young teenager and my clothes were all sprayed by a skunk on the first night of the trip. I spent the rest of the week in my bathing suit and a good friend's practice football jersey...I'm sure I would have smelled better in the skunk clothes by week's end.

These are memories the Hendey boys won't experience. My husband's idea of camping is staying in a two star hotel. We have done some pretty minimal camping trips with the boys, but not many. But I can't miss the chance to take advantage of some fun afternoons out and around the lakes that are so close by. We had our fun pontoon boat outing earlier this week, and it was great.

What I really wanted for my birthday was a kayak - one of those swift little numbers that can whoosh down white water rapids or paddle along the coastline in Monterey near the seals. Well, that's not going to happen this year - we determined we should by a two person model (no boy is allowed to go paddling yet without a parent). The price and size made them impossible at this point. We did look at some cute and very sporty one person kayaks (they even had cupholders!). But alas, now is not the time for mom to go paddling off into the sunset on her own...those days will be here soon enough, I know.

So what we settled on is a thrifty inflatable model that can be used by two people at a time, and can be deflated and thrown in the back on the Volkswagen Bus for easy transport. She's been christened "Renown" - we're big Horatio Hornblower fans in our house and the Renown was Horatio's third ship, where he first served as a real Lieutenant.

Renown hit the pool yesterday, and she's headed off to Millerton today for a picnic lunch and some paddling. She's a far cry from St. Jude, but she'll do the trick for now!


Anonymous said...

Looks like great fun! But Wait...I thought I saw two boys in that kayak alone...and did MOM get a turn?

By the way, not everyone had Lucky Lager at 10:30 am...but those camping trips were fun!

Anonymous said...

For the record, I didn't crack my first Lucky Lager until I got back into the boat after my first ski run -- usually about 6:30 a.m. But that's only because I didn't drink coffee. And you should also share about your marathon water skiing, like the time you skied all the way from Rainbow Bridge to Wahweap at Lake Powell (about 30 miles) when you were 12 years old, but at least you weren't drinking Lucky Lager. Love and Misses, Dad.

Maggie said...

I can relate to your Memories. My Grandparents had a Lake house in Michigan that I spent a lot of time. We too would get up early to get the glass water for water skiing.

My parents now have a lake house but it's 9 hours away. I'm expecting my Dad to buy a little aluminun row boat and put a 10 HP motor on the back for my boys to explore the cove they live in. My Grnadfather had one for his Grandkids. Enjoy the inflatable.

Anonymous said...

I, too, can relate to your memories. I grew up in - and still live in Needles. But our camping trips took us to Lake Mead when I was a child. And the Lucky Lager came along with our family, too. Thanks for the happy memories.
Helen in Needles, CA