Monday, June 20, 2005

Pod Racing on Lake Hamilton

Our family is enjoying vacation this week. Yesterday, we went out to Lake Hamilton to cruise around on a party barge. I still wince when I think about calling this pontoon boat a party barge. A party barge connotes scantily clad co-eds, drunken rednecks, and the inevitable visit from the lake patrol to turn down the music. It makes me grin when I think that my wonderfully mild-mannered in-laws own a party barge.

Of course with the addition of my family and my sister's family, which means bringing aboard a quintet of children under the age of eleven, the party atmosphere manifests. It is not the "party barge" party atmosphere, rather a "Chuck E. Cheese on the lake" sort of party. Again, the nomenclature "party barge" does not fit and I think it better to rename the vessel a play barge or a fun barge. Perhaps I should just settle for calling it a boat.

The children have no problem naming the grand ship. In fact they recreate it in their imaginations many times over. I noticed this when we were towing the giant racing-striped intertube behind us. My oldest son was the first to ride and I was impressed by how excited he was. Having been towed around in an intertube myself I am mystified by the attraction. You bounce around getting water splashed in your face and breathe in gas fumes. Why is this fun? Maintaining a parental watch on my son as he bobbed around on the waves at 12 m.p.h., I noticed that he was moving his hands back and forth on the intertube handles as if he were driving a tank. Every so often he would glance behind him. Putting it all together, I realized that he was podracing. Podracing is the sport featured on Star Wars: Episode I. The podracers are driven by funny aliens and a podracer looks like . . . well it looks a little intertube being towed by a huge pontoon boat.

I sat in the back of the party barge and watched as my son won the podrace on Lake Hamilton. I was amazed to think that a whole world was being imagined out there in that inflatable pod skimming across the water. I remembered the adventures that I created in my own youthful mind when I would swing off a rope swing at the river or paddle across the pond in a leaky boat. These material forms became whatever I wanted them to be. I could name them as I chose. Today when we head out to the lake once again, I will pass up the ride on the party barge. I have an invitation to go cruising on Gasgano's Super-Fueled Podracer.


Chad said...

Yes..I too am not much of a fan of tubing, but did indeed enjoy it as a junior high and high schooler. But it was more interesting then. We added the element of launching projectiles at the tuber by firing off bottle rockets at the victim. We never hit anyone though, but it sure added excitement.

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