“Paddle Faster, I Hear Banjos”

TubingNobody likes being labeled a hypocrite, but I did it to myself just the other day. While I was driving my kids I told them about how I figured out the Pac-Man pattern on Atari  when I was a kid.

They didn’t call me on it, but immediately I thought about how many hours I must have spent playing in order to figure it out. Yeah, me. The same guy who gives them all kinds of grief about how many hours they spend playing video games or sitting in front of the TV.

The DBL Crew Ready to Take the Plunge

The DBL Crew Ready to Take the Plunge

Well, the latest outing of the Dads’ Bucket List forced us to get off the couch and into some swim trunks as we headed to the Georgia mountains for some end of summer tubing on the Chattahoochee River. We drove up on a beautiful blue sky Saturday – a perfect day to be on the water.

We checked in and grabbed our tubes to load onto the bus that would take us further up the river. The bus ride reminded a couple of us about our college days when we’d take them to parties. That led to some good barbs as we tried to outdo each other with stories from back in our less-than-responsible days.

"Road Trip"

“Road Trip”

I told one about an all-American kid I knew in college who jokingly sat behind the wheel of the bus while the driver was chatting with a couple other drivers outside. Once everybody started egging him on to drive, he shut the door and took the bus on a joyride through the streets of Dallas. It ended with a police chase and a night in the pokey.

Was it worth it? Hey, I’m still adding to his legend more than 20 years later. (As for age appropriateness? Don’t worry, the kids had earmuffs on.)

Once on the river, the kids were having a blast as the dads eyed each other with winks of approval as we were once again delivering on an experience. It wasn’t long after that when Mother Nature decided to deliver. Without any of us seeing it coming, the blue skies faded and gave way to an absolute downpour.

T Markley & His Old Man Having a Big Time

T Markley & His Old Man Having a Big Time

I tried to figure out who our Naval commander was so he could tell us whether we needed to abandon ship or stay the course. Apparently, that DBL position hasn’t been filled so we just continued down river.

That was until we saw lightning. Science was never my strength in school, but I seem to remember something about electricity meeting water makes bad things happen.

The weather improved and we got back on our tubes. My little man, Bo, borrowed another sailor’s water gun and decided to start playing “soldier war” by soaking as many people as he could. At least they were already wet so the “Germans” (what can I say, he’s got his WWII history down) didn’t get too upset with him.

Uncle Mike is One Cool Dude

Uncle Mike is One Cool Dude

We had a couple spills, one wet and ruined camera (yours truly) and one of our Georgia Tech grads even lost his perfectly engineered push stick (I guess the next time he’ll opt for a tree limb like the rest of us did). But we made it to the finish where the sun was shining  again so that we could enjoy our lunch spread.

Once again, this experience got “thumbs up” ratings from our little tubers.  It was a fun, relaxing way to put an end to summer and get ready for the busier schedule that comes with a new school year.

As I always do, I tried to think of a takeaway from the outing. It took me back to thinking about getting away from that Atari station when I was a kid. To go outside and find someone to play with or something to do.

"I don't think the heavy stuff's gonna come down"

“I don’t think the heavy stuff’s gonna come down for quite some time”

Although we’re now adults, we still have to be reminded to remove ourselves from computer screens. To make time to do something fun. It was put best in an e-mail I received the day after from one of our dads.

It was a piece from his company magazine and read in part: “Play doesn’t have a purpose. It’s about doing something, not getting something done; being absorbed in the activity and in the moment.”

Not a bad a way to spend a day.

Go. See. Be. Do.

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About Matt Boettcher - Dads' Bucket List

Husband and dad to two boys who's always trying to enjoy the humor and meaning in the journey of fatherhood. Check out how things are going at: http://dadsbucketlist.com In addition to these responsibilities I'm also an avid (some would say obsessive) sports fan, very amateur gardener, aging but still active runner, and an always willing to experience a new country traveler.
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2 Responses to “Paddle Faster, I Hear Banjos”

  1. ksbeth says:

    could not agree more about the value of play ) beth

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