Like many people, I can say my daddy is wonderful. He is so kind, gentle hearted, sweet, loving, and….well, he is AWESOME! You know, all those late 80s early 90s dudes. Chuck Norris without the karate… Arnold without the accent…He is….MACGYVER!
It seems like my parents test drove an unusual amount of vehicles, boats, jet skis, etc. during my childhood. Oddly enough, I really don’t remember them buying very many of these things. I think they were just using the salespeople for free family fun. (I am going to try it.)
One of these test drives took place in Arkansas. I was about twelve years old and begged my parents to let my best friend come with us. So, my friend and I sat in the backseat of my parent’s pink Ford Explorer singing Pam Tillis and annoying my brother. When we got to the boat store, we were allowed to be a little wild. We climbed on all the boats, and went from running around like kids to primping like teenagers in seconds. We were at that weird in between age where we still wanted to run barefoot in the woods, but with make up and boys.
My parents finally finagled (finagled: one of my daddy’s words) a free test drive out of the salesman. The man gave them the keys & helped us load up the pink boat my parents had picked out. (Not sure what their deal was with pink.)
We got to the lake and daddy started with some minor ‘man’ stuff, you know… unhooking the boat, tying knots, putting the boat in the water, fixing water skis, and duct taping inner tubes. We swam around in the gasoline filled waters while we waited for him to get everything ready. Finally, all the prep work was complete and we set off into the calm, crystal clear water.
We all took turns skiing, knee boarding, and of course tubing. (Tubing: you and your friend hang on for dear life while the boat driver slings you from one side of the lake to the other. You will have bruises, ear infections, and permanent wedgies when all is said and done.) After the millionth lap around the lake, we were all hungry. We sat in the boat and ate sandwiches, everybody getting full and sleepy.
My friend and I had a teenage moment and decided we wanted to lay out. (Ahhhh, the good ole days when we weren’t afraid of the sun.) My mama did the same, and daddy rested for a minute. My brother sat in the inner tube that was still tied to the back of the boat. The gentle waves slowly rocked the boat and somehow… we fell asleep! My brother used his hand to push himself around and around the boat enjoying his break from our version of “Shake the Sugar Tree.” (In case you couldn’t tell, I had a short-lived Pam Tillis obsession.)
We woke suddenly to the clap of thunder and the waves picking up. Daddy quickly began to get things ready to go. He turned the key and the boat made a sound, but didn’t start. He tried a few more times and the same thing happened. The wind picked up and started pushing the boat toward an area of the lake that was full of trees. Mama began to panic which set my brother off. While daddy tried to figure out what was wrong, mama prayed, my brother cried, and my friend and I sang. (Weird I know.) The wind won, and the boat began to scrap against the tops of trees that were poking up out of the water. Daddy looked at us all huddled in our towels. He went full-blown MACGYVER.
Daddy squinted his eyes and began to look all around the boat. We watched as he fearlessly dove into the tree filled water. He came back to the surface looking even more intense. “Give me a coke can,” he said. Daddy ripped the coke can in half while we all stared, jaw dropped. He jumped into the water while mama cried and prayed. (She also requested that we sing “Master of the Wind” as opposed to “Spilled Perfume”.) We couldn’t take our eyes off the place where daddy had jumped in the water. He reemerged and explained that the rope from the inner tube had wrapped around the propeller. He was using the coke can as a knife to cut the rope… Cue the theme song.
We all held our breath as he continued to dive into the wavy waters. The sky turned black and we could see lightning in the distance. Finally, daddy hopped into the boat holding the can in one hand and rope in the other. He looked around and said, “I got it, let’s go.” He cranked the boat and it took off toward the boat ramp with us kids cheering and mama checking the boat for scratches. I sat on the back seat and looked at my cool MACGYVER daddy. I thought, who does those things? I mean, “Johnny uses a coke can to saw the rope and save his family from the perilous storm!” It sounded like a tag line. A MACGYVER tag line. Gah, my daddy is awesome! My daddy is MACGYVER!