by Beth Boswell Jacks
work is done, she becomes a grandmother.”
~ Edward H. Dreschnack
So you take a mature woman (me) and you place her in Colorado with three grandchildren (ages 8, 9 and 12) and you have her make all kinds of promises, like: “Yessirree, kids, we’ll do anything you want to do except ride bicycles straight up the mountain or float off toward the North Pole in a hot air balloon.”
Problem is, eliminating biking and ballooning still leaves more activities than ancient bones are willing and able to handle.
But promises are promises, especially when they’re made to grandchildren.
Thus, on one breezy Rocky Mountain afternoon, we (this grandmother and her three charges) made our way through the Snowmass Village mall to Blazing Saddles Adventure Excursions to inquire about activities. We’d gone up the mountain in a gondola and we’d swung from the chairlift a dozen times (lovely pastimes that require only the ability to board and sit), but the kids were anxious for something more adventurous. They suggested white water rafting.
I approached the Blazing Saddles Adventure Excursions desk timidly. Two friendly, bronzed females welcomed us to BSAE and offered their assistance.
I told them we were thinking we might go white water rafting. The young women nodded and said this is just the most perfect adventure for a grandmother and three kids . . . but a ding-ding in my brain advised me to check out the perfection.
Does Grandma have to get in the river? They laughed. Only if you’re dumped, they said. Grandma didn’t smile.
Does Grandma have to row the boat? Yes, everybody rows. Like a Viking ship, they explained. Yo ho, heave ho, Grandma muttered.
Sooo, I then asked the ladies how long this great adventure lasts. Four or five hours, depending on the traffic, they said.
Yes, you board a bus at daybreak and ride for an hour till you reach the BSAE rafting headquarters. There you get “river ready” with life preservers and zippered booties. Then you climb on another bus and ride another thirty minutes to the steep place on the river where you launch. And, by the way, everybody has to help launch – carrying the boats down to the water. And tripping down the rocky embankment with the oars. And slip-sliding with the rest of the gear.
Even grandmas? Yep.
I guess most grandmothers are a little crazy, which explains why I plunked down my credit card and agreed to this rafting torture in the rapids of the Shoshone section of the Colorado River.
A joke by “anonymous” goes: “Grandmas always have a warm feeling after playing with their grandchildren. It’s the liniment working.”
I rowed that boat like a true blue Viking. “Everybody forward! Row! Row!!” I simply followed the strokes of the person in front of me, a peevish fellow named Floyd who seemed to resent grandson Wayne’s shooting him over and over with a water pistol.
Unfortunately, I didn’t heed the advice about not wearing cotton and, believe me, white cotton Capri pants aren’t cute soaking wet.
But wet britches, squishy booties and suffocating life preserver aside, the long morning was truly stupendous. I didn’t lose my sunglasses, I wasn’t dumped into the river, and my pants dried sufficiently for me to exit the boat at the end of the trip. The kids’ screams of laughter as we rode the foaming rapids and their murmurs of awe as we admired the spectacular vistas were worth every penny spent and every nerve shot.
I came out all right. Bought the kids a forty dollar ticket to bounce down a raging river and was rewarded with pleasure a thousand times over.
For an old, cautious granny, that’s quite a bargain.
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