For the most part, the family reunion/vacation was a great time. There were a few incidents that made things stressful. There is always someone willing to be a jerk and ruin someone else’s good time. In this case, the manager of the Riverside Lodge in Red River was a real pain. He was rude and unfriendly for no apparent reason. Then he yelled at me because my rat terrier was on the property when a simple explanation of the rules would have been sufficient. It turns out that the week before our reunion the manager had been rude to someone from the NM governor’s office. Not that I care about Bill Richardson, but in a resort town, it is best not to run off your customers. This customer will not ever stay at the Riverside Lodge again.
Being with my family was great fun. The Ohio cousins turned out to be a real treat. My cousin, Julie, married a young man who is an Ohio National Guard, a pilot, a singer, and just a fun guy. He was quite a hit at the local bar when he got up on stage and sang with the band. He was a real heartthrob and hit of the reunion. While at the reunion, we did find out that my USMC cousin, Captain Jim (soon to be Major), will be heading back to Iraq in October. He has moved his wedding date up from late August to the first of July, and from Texas to the East Coast, which means we will not be able to attend. We wish him and his new bride the best.
Now for the best part of the trip – rafting down the Rio Grande in funyaks (a kayak raft)! On Sunday after the reunion, I took my daughter and her girl friend over to Taos to float the Rio Grande. The water was too low to float the Box (which is the best whitewater), but we took an all day trip in raft/kayaks down what is called Racecourse (south of Taos). Jesse and Lindsay were in a double funyak while I was in a single. We had three guides with us – two guys and a girl who were great fun (Los Rios River Runners). There were also ten men from the Deep South on the trip. They ranged in age from about early thirties to early forties, and they were all a bit nerdish (engineers, accountants, etc.) Apparently, they were college buddies or coworkers who take a canoe trip once a year together. This time, they had the trip of their lives because they were with the wild girls from Oklahoma.
The trip started off peaceful enough. Then one man paddled up close to Jes and Lindsay. The girls attacked him by splashing him with their oars. He, of course, fought back. J&L stopped splashing and acted horrified that someone they did "not even know" would splash them. The man was dumbfounded until he realized the girls were teasing him (laughing at him). After the first initial splashing, the war was on, and friends were made. Dousing each other with water was the norm. Flipping someone out of his or her funyak was the goal. During one particular slow part of the river, a big battle took place. Lindsay flipped one of the men out of his kayak -who then tried to flip the girls out of their kayak. But the girls fought back. More of the men joined to battle trying to flip the girls over. They were eventually successful and a cheer went up from the men. I watched all from a safe distance and gathered paddles and debris floating in the river. I asked, "How many men does it take to flip two little girls from a kayak?" One of the men turned to me in all seriousness and said, "Six!"
That was not the end of the battle. J&L climbed back into their kayak, but this time Jesse was in the front of the raft while Lindsay was in the back – I knew something was up since Jesse was normally the guide in the back of the kayak. Lindsay took off paddling hard toward one of the men. When she got up behind him, Jesse stood up in the kayak, took two steps, and lunged across the water at the other kayaker. She wrapped her arms around him and took him cleanly off his kayak and into the river. It was a sight to see. The men hooted and hollered – clearly impressed by the flying tackle. The man never saw it coming. It was perfect! I just shook my head at my two dainty girls - competing with grown men and kicking butt.
I think the men had a great time. They certainly had never met anyone like my girls. The truth is that J&L are pretty special. Not only are they both beautiful and dazzling, they are smart and godly. I wanted to tell the men that J&L had been homeschooled and taught to be homemakers. They can sew and cook and take care of a home. Currently, they are both working out in the world – doing quite well. They make life exciting wherever they go and with whatever they do. Instead, I just kept quiet and let the men be impressed with what they could see. I heard two of the men talking. One said to the other, "Why can’t we meet girls like this back home?" Sorry guys, you won’t meet girls like this just anywhere, but you were lucky enough to meet them on the Rio Grande and have a grand time.