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.