As promised, here are more reflections on “standing tall”.
Who said, “If you can’t laugh at yourself you are missing the best joke of the century.” I accept the clown that is alive and well in this body of mine. I have spent a lifetime experiencing misadventures that have given my family fodder for stories many years after I die. Here’s hoping there’s a life lesson or two for my kids. It seems to be a running theme “don’t do what I did”!
Travelling to Wales and renting a canal boat was something I never dreamed of. Pre-children and post University, Jim and I decided to seize the moment. The long narrow boat complete with kitchen, bathroom, living space and bed was charming. It was like a houseboat only skinnier. What a great way to see the countryside and test a new skill. Pah! I am a reluctant student. Obedience is a skill I am still working on. Learn? Why? I am on vacation!
For me it was easy. Jim (husband/partner/best friend) took care of steering us through the canals holding onto the thingamajig and guiding with the whatchamacallit.
“Would you like to try steering, honey?”
“Nah!” I said.
I had very little to do. I tried not to look too much like a tourist as I waved at the other boats and pointed out the stunning landscape. We moved through the waterways at a leisurely pace. Bliss. The other boaters were very friendly. “This isn’t rocket science,” I thought to myself. “What a piece of cake.”
I stood on the bow. (Don’t be impressed. I had to look it up to remember what it was called.) A soft breeze made the air fresh. We passed green lush rolling hills and quaint villages. I watched my husband embrace the rhythm and relax into the peaceful drone of the engine. It was a stretch for a man who enjoyed the quiet of the canoe but Jim was always game for a new experience. He took everything in pointing out the smallest of details as we moved along.
As usual, I got frigidity. Even in my adulthood I never quite mastered stillness. I needed something to do. Lucky my husband was a teacher. He knew how to amuse me. Quickly he handed me a mop and told me to busy myself by swabbing the deck.
I was instantly gratified! There I was, swabbing the deck. I mopped up water droplets and began to hum. My footing became lighter as I skipped along.
“Honey, you might want to be careful,” warned the loving teacher hubby from the stern.
(Again, I had to look the term up. Remember…not a detail person.)
“Yeah, yeah,” I said. I continued to goof around.
“Hey, honey,” the dear man said, straining to be patient, as his smile got tighter. “ You might wanna be careful. It’s narrow along the side.”
“Well of course it is,” I retorted. “We’re on a canal boat!”
I continued to ignore and now found “I’se the b’y that builds the boat” the perfect ditty for my dance.
“Ahhhhhhhhh!” Within seconds I had slipped on the wet floor, hit my chin on the edge of the boat and had fallen into the water.
The murky mess of brownish ice filled my eyes. I was sinking!
My husband yelled.
My first thought, “I am going to die!”
My second thought, “How old was this water? Yuck! Ancient cooties! I am drowning! I am drowning!”
Third thought, “Damage deposit! (Well I am my father’s daughter.) Hang onto that mop, Lana. Whatever you do!”
My body crashed and thrashed in the water as I held onto that mop. Somewhere in the mire, I could hear Jim. I swallowed, sputtered and gasped! What? What was he saying?
I stood up. I was in waist high water.
He hauled me onto the deck. I began to shake.
Shock was setting in. I had to get on dry clothes.
Thank God I married a mountain man.
Of course I was wearing narrowed legged jeans that were glued to my skin. It took both Jim and I to peel them off. This did NOT happen on the deck. The public humiliation had been enough.
Blood flowed from my chin onto my shirt. I had a nasty cut that needed a doctor. Did I mention that my husband is also great with First Aid? Quickly he grabbed a towel and shoved it around my neck. He docked us at the next village and found a clinic.
When we entered the office, the doctor warned there would be stitches. He asked how it happened. We told him. Once the sticthes were done he said, “What do you do for a living?”
“I’m an actor.”
He smiled, “For real?”
“Yup,” I said. “But don’t worry about the scar. I’m a character actor. This could get me more work.”
He walked over to the doorway and flicked the lights on and off, “Arise Frankenstein!” he said.
We all had a great belly laugh and I spent the rest of my UK trip with a huge bandage on my chin. So flattering!
It was worth it. What a great story!
Of course there is more to this adventure.
I also managed to almost ground our boat when we went through a set of canal locks…..again….not one for paying attention I sort of unlocked the wrong gate and watched the boat and hubby go down, down, down and the water on the wrong side of the lock go up, up, up….but that’s another story!
I guess….I stood tall…when absolutely necessary…hahaha!