Due to the good time we had the last time we went, and the fact that our personal pirate pal Captain Jane Swallow was going to be there, our family trucked down to Vergennes for the annual Kids Pirate Festival at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. There were no plans to fall off of any logs at that time. We were going to dress up as pirates, but then we didn’t, although we did pre-game a little bit by letting Ruby paint piratey things on all of us. Here is the skull and crossbones she painted on my arm.
We got there just in time to see Rockin’ Ron the Friendly Pirate do his show, which was a lot of fun and the kids were literally dancing in the aisles. As they do. There was a slight problem when our tiny destroyer went up to the front, sat down on the floor, and played with the pirate ship wheel until it broke, but Rockin’ Ron said not to worry about that. I think we are not the first family to destroy the friendly pirate’s wheel.
We left the theater and inched closer to destiny as we met up with Captain Jane and got some treasure from her treasure box. And that is not a metaphor or an innuendo. That is literal. And she suggested that we check out the boats. Yes, this year there were actual boats that the children could paddle around in, which was pretty much the most exciting thing that had ever happened to either one of them, so Ruby and Edward tore off toward shore, ready to get out onto the water. After a quick stop at the real pirate ship of course!
We got off of the pirate ship and walked past the log, completely unaware that it had it out for us. We continued on and waited in a very long line of children, all wishing to captain their own vessel for the first time. If I have one complaint with the event, it is this: one child was told, after waiting a long time in the line, that she was too tall to ride the boats once she got to the front. If there was a height/weight requirement, that should have been posted ahead of time. They almost didn’t let Ruby ride, and I was ready and willing to attack the poor, unsuspecting ride overlady, but she then decided that Ruby could give it a try, so I had to swallow down all of my prepared rage and save it for another day. Both Ruby and Edward went out on the boats, and it was their favorite thing of all time life.
Once we were done with the boats we started to walk back along the beach to the festival proper once more, which was when Ruby noticed the log. “Can I climb on that log?!” she begged. And so, moments later, my daughter was up on the slippery log, making her way across the slimy, green, algae-infested waters, trying to reach the tiny island that lay under the other end of the log. You can see the water conditions behind her in this picture.
She made it across, no problem. She did not fall off of the log. This prompted Edward to ask if he too could go on the log. I said, “Ask your mother,” which I feel the is the proper response to questions of danger and risk. We dads get a bad rap sometimes in terms of risk. I’m sure you have seen the memes of moms being protective and helicoptery, while the dads dangle their children off of the helicopter. I was not going to contribute to this stereotype by letting my son, whose medications rob him of his balance, crawl out onto a potentially hazardous log. I mean, I totally would have, but I was going to let his mother decide this one. She said it was fine, so out he went onto the log. And it he made it across, no problem. He did not fall off of the log.
One Edward got out there Ruby decided that she needed to get back. Getting back was not going to be as easy. The branches that made it so easy to get started were all on the other side now, and it was uphill. Ruby was struggling a bit to get over. But she made it. She did not fall off of the log. That made it Edward’s turn. “Just get down and crawl across!” my wife instructed him. He did this, and began to inch his way across the log, waiting for his chance to grab for a branch that would allow him to stand. The nearest branch was halfway across the log, and he finally made it, reaching his hand out to grab that steadying protrusion. And then, he missed. *SPLASH* He was in the water on his back, and none to happy about it. I’m sorry that I do not have a picture of this for you, but I was sprinting at that time.
If it was just the water, it might have been a little better, but poor Edward emerged from the lake looking like some sort of sea monster. Algae covered his little body. It was in his ears, all over his back, in his hair, on his arms and hands, and when he tried to brush water out of his face, it just spread there too. He was spitting algae out of his mouth between cries, and we tried to comfort him, feeling very parentally guilty for letting him go up there in the first place.
Luckily there were more fun things to do, like play pirate games and watch a remote control submarine swim around a giant tank. By the end of our visit, he was dried off and mostly algae-free. And we had a good piratey adventure story to tell. We went home happy, having avoided Davey Jones’ locker, and only slightly greener than before. Although be careful if you are planning to ride in my car. I think we’ll be picking algae out of it until the day we sell it.