By Mary Tucker

“Be flexible.” “Learn something new each day'” “Do one of the things on your ‘want to do someday’ list.” Comments like these crop up often these days. Here is how this happened on Saturday of Labor Day weekend.

The plan was to spend the day with my teenage grandson, Connor, starting with picking blackberries, having lunch, then Connor would mow my lawn. Next, we’d play tennis on the new Andes courts, and end up “hanging out” at my home until evening. Everything was going according to plan; we picked blackberries from 11:15 to 12:30 and were getting ready to have lunch. Suddenly the plan changed with a phone call from Sharon Tucker, my daughter-in-law, asking if we would like to go tubing.

“Where? The Esopus? What time and who’s going?” I asked.
She answered “The Delaware River, now while the sun is hot and you, Connor, Kestra, Ian (my two youngest grandchildren) and me.”

“Well, Connor was going to mow my lawn but I guess that can wait. We’ll be there soon. Can’t pass up an opportunity for a new experience!” was my reply.
After changing into bathing suits, old clothes and sneakers, we grabbed PBJ sandwiches to eat on the way, along with two snow tubes, and headed for Delhi.
We were dropped off by Snyders Garden Center on Route 10 and entered the river there to begin our trip, a group of five with two large tubes and two small snow tubes to ride on. Sharon took Ian, age 6, on a large tube, and Kestra, 8, was on a small tube beside her. I had the other large tube while Connor was on the second small tube that had a slow leak. We were on our way!

All went well until we came to a spot where the middle of the river was blocked by fallen trees, leaving narrow passages on each side. The others navigated safely through one side. No such luck for me. The swift current swept my tube to the other passage where I couldn’t avoid hitting a tree branch resting on a huge rock which put a good sized hole in the tube. Immediately, I gripped the hole with my left hand, holding it tightly to stop the leak, and continued on dodging fallen trees, rocks, going over rapids, until my hand tired. Holding the hole with my right hand did not stop the leak, so Connor and I traded tubes, going on until his tube lost all the air, was completely flat and had to be discarded.

What now? Changing tubes again, Connor, holding Ian, was on the large tube, Kestra was on a small tube, with Sharon walking beside her guiding the tube. I had the leaky tube that had lost a lot of air but was still floating somewhat. We made our way down the twists and turns of the river to a spot by the American Legion Field where we made our way ashore, walked across the Legion Field back where we started from approximately three hours earlier. What a scraggly bunch; everyone’s clothes were soaked and muddy since we all had been dunked on the way. At one deep spot, I slipped off the tube, sank over my head to the bottom and came up spluttering, my Andes baseball cap still on.

After getting into dry clothes, Connor was ready to play tennis. Putting him off several times (three, to be exact) I said “Okay let’s go play on the college courts”. We played 2 sets … he won of course… then back to the Tuckers’ for a barbeque, played board games for a while, then headed for Fall Clove and to our respective homes. So I was flexible, learned and did something new, even though it wasn’t on the “want to do someday” list, all in one great day.

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