“Bumps! Bumps! Bumps!” That was Cory, two outings ago, urging Papa to go faster with a big smile on her face. This weekend, not only would Cory not get out of the boat (to try the tube or swim), she wanted assurances from Papa that he would not go as fast as Uncle Jim did last time before she would even get in it. Apparently, on that outing, “he just went too fast over those bumps,” Papa had to yell at him, and she didn’t like it one bit.
Maybe seeing and hearing Papa’s concern swung the fear pendulum way too far in the other direction, turning her into a total boating drip. Papa has to lift her screaming from the boat onto the tube with Daddy and Fisher. Once there, her screams continue. “I don’t like it!” “I’m scared!” “It hurts my neck!” “Slow down!” “Papa just threw me out of the boat!”
Fisher is happy when Daddy puts her back in the boat. Before Cory’s arrival on the tube, he gets to an undefined “Level 2,” and after a short break, he agrees to go back out, at which point Papa throws in a few donuts, gets the tube outside the wake, and makes holding on actually necessary.
F: Daddy, did we get to Level 3?
D: Fisher, I think that was Level 4!
D: Yah, we were outside the wake, skimming across bumps, hopping up and down…you did great! (Fisher smiles.) Next time, we’ll get to Level 5, maybe even Level 6. And, then you’ll be ready for next summer. Maybe Uncle Jeff will be here. He drives super-crazy! You are gonna have to be at least Level 6 before you get on a tube behind him!
F: What does he do, Daddy?
D: Goes nuts. Spins around and around, whipping the tube over big bumps from other boats, tries to knock you off of the tube and into the water.
F (mouth and eyes open wide): Did you fall off the tube?
D: Maybe once or twice, yah. It was fun, but you’re not ready yet.
F: You’re right, Daddy. I’m not ready yet, but I could be ready by then, right, Daddy?
D: Right. Eventually.
F: I don’t think Cory’s going to be ready, though, Daddy, because she just sits in the boat. I did Level 4, but she didn’t even do Level 1 because she just screamed the whole time.
D: Actually, Fisher, this is a share, not compare, kind of thing. (Pause.) Can you do me a favor?
F: What, Daddy?
D: When we get back in the boat, can you not make Cory feel bad that she didn’t like being on the tube today? Because that will make her not want to go on the tube next time. And, I want Cory to come out here with us. She was scared to even come out here. So, we want to make her feel good that she got out here and had a little bit of fun. Okay?
F: Sure. Sure, Daddy.
D: Thanks, Fisher.
F: You’re welcome.
A minute or two after getting back on the boat…
F (taunting tone): Cory, I just got to Level 4, and you didn’t even get over Level 1 because you just screamed the whole time.
Daddy glares at him. Fisher looks back, eyes like, “What, Daddy? What?”