By Marian Brennan Pratt
Originally Published on October 15th, 2018.
This summer story was memorable to some but not to everybody. We were on vacation with another family, staying in a tiny cabin big enough for three small people. There were nine of us and not very many of us were small. The fathers of the group decided to take a trip to the store. The kids all wanted to go and normally the fathers would take them; but no, not this time. They were up to something. They were either buying lottery tickets, beer, or something for the kids that we would never let them buy, such as slingshots or water guns.
Soon the fathers came driving in the yard and got out with a plastic bag. The kids all gathered around to see what was in there, but the answer was not available. The fathers headed for the beach with the line of kids following along like little lemmings. The fathers eventually sat down on the beach and produced two blow-up floats out of the bag. It seems that they, themselves, were going floating. The fathers asked the kids if they wanted to help blow up the floats and were told, “No Thank You.” Now, remember that some of these kids were small and some were not – the second “some” were teenagers …… and they were not stupid. They realized straight away that they were never likely to get their hands on those floats so helping to blow them up was such a waste of their time and if nobody is saying they HAVE TO, then why would they. Really. Isn’t Teenage reasoning a thing to behold?
After about two hours, the red-faced, out-of-breath fathers were ready to embark on their journey. They walked out to deep water and proceeded to try to get on the floats. Obviously, they hadn’t done this in quite a while – 30 years maybe. We were all lying on our bellies on top of the bluff watching this debacle and giggling. When the fathers dragged the floats back in and yelled for help, we could barely contain ourselves. When help didn’t seem to be forthcoming, they sat down on the beach and just laughed. At this, the other mother decided maybe we should go to help them. “Hold your ground, girl,” I said. “You know if we go down there we’re going to get wet”. That other mother tended to be a little naïve. But, OH! LOOK HERE, the fathers were up again and managed to get their round bellies on the floats and off they went.
I’ll admit I did check on them a few times in case they would happen to wander out in the shipping lanes and get run over by a freighter. Three hours later the fathers came walking up from the beach and there was a decided difference in the way they walked, kind of stiff-legged like Herman Munster or as one might say “they had a hitch in their get-along.” I never once wondered if they had sun tan lotion on – of course they did. They didn’t! The fathers went in the tiny cabin and flopped head first onto the only two beds in the place. We sprayed them down with something foul smelling and prepared for everybody else to sleep on the floor in the kitchen. As we settled down to sleep a little voice said:
“Momma, is daddy ok?”
“Daddy is ok, sweet pea, now go to sleep.”
“Momma, why did daddy fall onto the bed.”
“Do you know how I tell you that sometimes you make bad choices?
Well, Daddies can make bad choices too. Now go to sleep, my pretty girl.”
“Momma, I need to get my jammies out of that room and I need to kiss him goodnight.”
“Go to sleep, honey”
“Not tonight, darling”
Then came a whisper from a teenager, “Mom is on her last nerve, now GO TO SLEEP!”
“What’s a last nerve?”……………………………………….
Marian Brennan Pratt held the position of Church Secretary at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in the Village of Emmett, Michigan for 24 years. She has four grown children: Barbara, Suzanne, Bernie and Steve, seven grandchildren: Daniel, Kaitlynn, Emily, Ashley, Taylor, Brennan and Benjamin, one great-grandchild: Paislee and another on-the-way. While a member of the community, she joined the ladies of the parish in a Book Club, was a member of Daughters of Isabella #452 and a past member of the Village Council. Marian lives in Port Huron now and has always been interested in Journalism which led to her joining the staff of St. Stephen’s High School newspaper, the Stephecho. She has written several articles for the Emmett News and has had a book published, entitled “Emmett Township”, part of the Images of America series by Arcadia Publishing which plays a large part in the preservation of local heritage.