i’ve shared my story about the time my dad, charlie, cousin karl, and uncles greg and jon floated down the missouri river in 2003. i believe i focused on the bathroom aspect. (really, go read that. jane laughs every time.)
what i didn’t focus on was how whiny charlie was! holy cow. he really did not want to go on this trip, and i feel like my dad thought this would be a great father-son bonding experience. instead, he got his oldest daughter to come on the trip and a whiny 15-year-old son. probably not what he was envisioning.
at one point, my dad told me his expectations for this trip were entirely different when it came to charlie 🙁 he complained; he was annoyed with the work; he didn’t want to be there. i felt really bad for my dad, as i knew i had sort of wedged myself into this trip and his son wasn’t really being a great participant. i think at one point, i actually pulled charlie aside and told him to shape up. cuz we couldn’t ship him out.
we spent three days floating on the missouri river. my dad and i paddled this weird almost-canoe that was great when the wind was at our backs. i got a pretty severe sunburn on my chin and an appreciation for porta-potties out of it.
my dad was enamored by the white cliffs, and charlie told me more than once that every time he looked back at us, i was paddling and dad was sitting there (way to go, dad). we avoided the specified campsites and ended up camping for the night at weird locations – both islands in the river. the first night was an island full of yellow mustard weeds and a great latrine my cousin karl dug. if i remember correctly, this night our uncle jon passed around a flask of irish whiskey (i passed) and IPAs (i did NOT pass). this may have been charlie’s first sip of whiskey.
the second night was an island found while on the run from a thunderstorm, with no trees and barely a bush to dig a latrine behind. (this is where i gained my deep appreciation for any type of non-hole-in-the-ground bathroom facilities.) it thunderstormed all night, and the morning after, charlie told me he had been afraid the tent would blow away; i had been afraid the river was going to flood us out. neither happened, so we continued on our way.
OH! and before we left for the canoe trip, we stayed at one of my dad’s friend’s brother darryl’s house in montana. this guy had a giant pulldown screen with a projector in his living room. we watched “ice age”. he also had a lot of cars, INCLUDING a delorean!
that was kind of fun!
but the morals of this story, kids, are: don’t be a whiny little bugger. wear sunscreen. appreciate elevated toilet places. and don’t make your dad regret he brought you along!