Some families have wonderful vacation memories of watching the sun set over the Grand Canyon or the time they saw the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace but my family's most lasting vacation memory revolves around humor. It only takes three words to make us fall around laughing all over again -- Banana Boat Ride.
For the uninitiated a banana boat is a large inflatable boat, shaped like a banana and colored bright yellow. It's big enough to seat half a dozen people and is towed behind a motor boat to give people a fun ride on the sea, close to the shore. That's the theory. In practice it can become an instrument of terror.
On holiday in Cornwall the resort where I stayed with my husband and three young sons was right on the beach. Of course someone spotted the banana boat rides being given around the bay and thought it would be a fun family thing to do together. I was talked into it -- you need to know I'm not a physically brave person at all -- and will admit it wasn't as bad as I'd expected. The problem came the next day. Once wasn't enough so the boys pleaded to do it again. I gave in, hoisted myself back onto the giant rubber object, held onto the handle in front of me and prepared for another ride.
Something was different that day and it didn't take long for fear to strike. The boat began to bounce like crazy and with my first scream came my laughing husband's observation that the waves were much rougher today. No kidding! I clung on until I lost all feeling in my hands -- convinced my life would end here in Pentewan Bay. I'd be flung off and they'd never find me -- all this raced through my head as I continued to scream. Of course my boys loved every minute, purposely bouncing to make it go higher and laughing fit to burst. Eventually we slowed down and the torture ended -- I thought.
It proved to be only the beginning of my agony. When I woke the next morning my thighs were in excruciating pain because I'd clamped them so hard against the boat in a desperate effort to stay on. I could barely walk and the sight of me limping along made my four heartless men crack up. They laughed on and off all day and fifteen years later it still only takes hearing those three dreaded words to set them off again.
So you can keep your more conventional vacation memories and I'll keep mine. My boys are all grown up now but those three magic words take me back to a special time - even if it is at my expense!
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