Were You in the Boat, When the Boat Tipped Over?

Mum and I always did the Boat joke in conversation.  If you do not know The Boat Joke it goes,

Were you in the boat when the boat tipped over?   No silly, I was in the water!   And it must be said in an English accent

It’s a common joke, as you can attest to if you look it up on YouTube!  But our reason to laugh at the joke was compounded as it plays with a story that once happen to my Grandmum (my maternal grandmother), Nana (my paternal grandmother) and my grandmum’s cousin Joyce (my maternal first cousin twice removed).  It was in a boat, and it involves falling in the water!

It was the 1970s, before my parents were married, both sides of my family owned a cottage at Lac Connelly near St Hippolyte, that how my parents met.  It was summer, the families had been growing close, they spent a great deal of time together, enjoying the lake.

My Grandmum, Joyce, and Nana decided to take a little ride in a pedalo, or some may call it a peddle boat.  My father was on the shore, enjoying the sun with my mum when they heard a great shriek coming from the pedalo.

The pedalo had sprung a leak!  My grandmothers and Joyce were sinking.  They shouted none of them wanted their perm to get wet!  Out in the country there were few places to get your hair fixed!

Parents and Papa

Parents and Papa

My father ripped off his shirt, dove into the water and swam towards the boat to bring the boat to the dock, and save the lady’s hair.  The screaming ladies finally saw dad arrive at the boat, he stood up and walked the boat back to the shore with the ladies still on board.

My grandmothers in their nervousness about their hair, coupled with the fact that the trusted pedalo was quickly sinking, had forgot the lake was exceptionally shallow even when one was far from the shore.  They were sinking in less that four and a half feet of water, all of them were over five and half feet, and all were exceptional swimmers.

However, although everyone on the shore could see they were sinking in less than 5 feet of water, the ladies on the boat were completely unaware.  Still to this day they tell the story, of dad saving them, as if it was a scene out of Bay Watch!  The story only shows to show how vanity can play a greatly into ones sense of reality!



A Snow Cone for Christmas

When I was six, dad, mum and I went to Florida for Christmas.  I was terribly excited to be spending Christmas somewhere different, I was even more stupidly excited to experience Disney for the very first time!

We would be staying at my grandparent’s rented condo, which was in Cocoa Beach, and was actually on the beach!  However, a problem arose on Christmas day.  Everyone was sing, christmas carols, songs about snow, the cold, about open fires, and of course White Christmas.  The problem of course was, there was NO SNOW!  It was simply hot, and beautiful and perfect, and I, being six, hated it.

Grand Parents in Florida

Grand Parents in Florida

I had yet to experienced a non-white christmas!  I had been worried about this happening  before I left for Florida.  I had even discussed it with my Nana – the one who was not renting a condo in Florida, the one who had once gotten a black eye.  Nana was a world traveler, like I would become in my teens and twenties.  She tried to dissuade my fears by telling me, “When I was in Morocco, in the desert, it snowed.  It could always snow in Florida, you maybe in for a white Christmas Florence, even in Florida, my dear.”

Well, with that in my mind, my six-year-old brain I could not understand why it would not snow in Florida, after all it was CHRISTMAS!!!  The only way I could communicate my anger was to have a fit!

Me at Christmas

Me at Christmas

I went around shouting, “SNOW SNOW SNOW SNOW!!!!! Where is the Snow?”

My wonderful grandfather, understood, the reason to my frustration.  I think me shouting SNOW, was pretty obvious!   My grandfather spoke to me in a whimsical tone, “Florence”, he said, “In Florida they do have snow, it’s a special kind of snow.  Would you like to see it?”

Where was this snow?  I could not see it.  I needed to see it, it was after all Christmas, and Christmas was not Christmas without snow.  So I said, yes.  And Papa lead me to the beach.  I looked everywhere for this snow.  I really hoped he did not think I was so stupid to believe that sand was snow!  He led me to a cart with an umbrella, and asked me, “What colour would you like the snow to be, if you could pick any colour, Florence.”  “Bue”, I replied.

Then the man with the cart handed me a cone of snow, with blue liquid on it.  It was so wonderful!  I was so excited!  There was actual snow in my hands, on Christmas, in Florida whilst in a bathing-suit.  I knew it was not real snow, but it was better than real snow, because I was allowed to eat the snow and it tasted amazing!

When I was 19 years old, I spent Christmas with friends in Oman, another hot – sans snow – country.  I held out hope that perhaps it would snow at least for Christmas day, just a little.  That all I need a bit of snow for Christmas. Yet, again there was no snow…  I did find some ice and made myself a snow cone.  And I was happy.


Nana’s Little Wine Tasting Party

My mum, and even my father, loved telling this story.  One of my aunts, who is a character in this story, dislikes it, because it makes all the ladies seem like bad parents.  But we tell it because it make my lovely classy Nana gets pissed face drunk!

My mum, my dad,  Nana (my father’s mum), and I were in Toronto, for the christening of my new infant TRIPLET  cousins.  We stayed at the triplet’s house to help out before the christening.  Now the night before the christening, dad and his bother left for a night out, I believe.  I was 6 at the time, but all  I know is they certainly were not there!

Drew had left a big box of his home-made wine –  because we gotz the class  in our family.  And these classy ladies part took in some glorious wine tasting or lets say glorious frat-boy drinking…

When I say classy ladies, I mean it.  I do not remember ever seeing anyone, drunk or have a hangover.  Our family always had wine for supper, but no one ever over did it.  All three were always well dress, had immaculate houses, hosted elegant supper parties, even went to church.

That is to say this story is better if you know these ladies never got drunk!”

I went off to bed, all the children were in bed,  5 children under 6 years old.  The ladies started to celebrate by having a drink from my fathers big box of home-made wine.  Everything was silent enough for my cousins and I to sleep through the night.  However when we awoke, Nana was missing…

The day of the christening and Nana was nowhere to be seen.”

My dad joked that she must have a hangover, and can not get up.  My mum retorted with, “but we only had two drinks each.”  But Nana was hiding in the guest bedroom.

When she finally emerged, she wore dark sunglasses.  Hung-over for sure, everyone thought.

During the christening, and for all the pictures she wore dark sunglasses. It was very odd.  My Nana, this exuberantly – life of the party Nana, was a shrinking violet avoiding pictures.

After the christening, when everyone had left, she told my parents what had happened.  After finishing the little wine tasting party, with my mum and aunt, Nana had gone to the guest bedroom, tripped and fell over her suitcase on the way down she hit her face on the bed post.

She then removed her sunglasses to reveal a great big BLACK EYE.

My Dad likes to add, that when he picked up the box of wine, it was empty, so that little wine tasting party, was really not the one or two glasses, all 3 women thought it was.

I love that my perfect sweet little Nana, got pissed drunk.  It sort of makes me wonder, that if at 68 years old she could be so radical as to get a black eye, what would she have been like in her 20s before she was my Nana.