In the eyes of an innocent: We were headed out to sea like the Pirates of the Caribbean, looking for the elusive fountain of youth. Anti-aging products were un-thought of and besides, we would never need them. We would remain forever young. Our pirate ship was magnificent and the envy of all pirates near and far. It had all of the luxuries you would expect to find on a pirate ship such as ours (including featherbeds) and we were ready for high-sea adventures.
Reality check: We rented a house boat for a week that looked like it had seen better days and eased it down into the dirty mucky river while we searched the map for places we hoped would be the best fishing spots available in the vast and muddy river water. Packed deep within our suitcases was a tube of zinc oxide that we would apply to our sunburned faces. We decided where to place our sleeping bags and which bathing suit to wear first. We each had two that were purchased at a thrift store for a quarter each.
In the eyes of an innocent: We were dressed to the nines in our pirate shirts, pirate pants, coats and pirate boots. Our shirts were tucked into our pants and our pants were tucked into our boots. Our captain had on his black eye patch, a red bandanna and wore a sword on his side. Our canons were stationed at the windows ready to destroy any vessel that carried the treasures that awaited us.
Reality check: We wore skimpy bikini’s on our young and undeveloped bodies paired with flip flops while we were sprayed with every type of mosquito spray our parents could find prior to our week long fishing adventure. On top of our “attire” mom and dad strapped life jackets that we were not allowed to take off for any reason. The eye patch on dads eye was from a welding accident that required eye surgery. Hence the reason he had a week off. Sticking out of every window were our cane poles that dangled worms which made me want to barf but a necessity if we wanted to catch the fish that would be our true treasure if we wanted to eat a fresh hot meal.
In the eyes of an innocent: From dusk to dawn we looked for sunken treasure as well as for any ships carrying food that we would need to continue on our pirating sinful ways. We bathed in the sea and were served the finest steaks by our galley cooks any time we asked for such a fine meal as this.
When we weren’t fishing, we sun bathed on deck, slapping ourselves to try to kill the stinging beasts known as mosquitoes. Once a day we jumped in the water with a bar of Ivory soap (because it floats) to wash the bug spray and sweat stink off of us. We drank bottled water and bruised bananas and apples that we bought on sale prior to our trip. We had sandwiches until our bread ran out. We then moved on to canned beans, hot dogs and Vienna sausages except on the days when fish decided to latch on to our dangling worms and hooks.
This trip truly is and will always be one of my fondest childhood memories despite the fact that it was nothing like I had imagined it would be. It was a time when my siblings and I were too young to know about life beyond our tender years. All we knew was what we knew and what we knew was enough.