A couple weeks ago, our little family trekked down to the city for a very special afternoon.
We were meeting a friend at the lake.
To get in his boat.
And watch a special air show that is part of a big annual celebration in our city.
A celebration that we’ve never been to, but (apparently) is quite festive and our version of Mardi Gras.
And we were supposed to meet our friend at a certain dock.
But when we got there, we couldn’t see him anywhere.
There were crowds and crowds of people there and we soon realized…..
That the Blue Angels were performing!
And when the Blue Angels perform, all movement on the lake underneath their low-flying show is halted.
Which meant our friend couldn’t meet us at the dock until the show was over.
So we sat back and enjoyed the end of this death-defying performance.
(And Bubbers didn’t even freak out once when the jets flew right over our heads and the ground shook beneath us).
It wasn’t long before it was over and we walked out onto the dock to wait for our friend’s boat to appear.
And while we waited, we saw…..
….. This ginormous dinner cruise boat approaching the tiny dock.
We were shocked and thought, “There’s no way that huge boat has room to dock here.”
“Stop!!!” Bubbers cried out.
But the boat didn’t listen.
And docked anyway.
So Bubbers took off and walked his Dad down the dock.
And this stranger asked me to take his picture with a case of Apple Juice Light.
Then he shook my hand and wished me a happy day.
And I smiled and kindly wondered if he’d already started drinking some of that Apple Juice Light.
Then I turned to watch the boats and searched for a boat without bikinis or Apple Juice Light.
Because that would be our friend!!
Back in the day, Larry was roommates with my older brothers at BYU and has been an old friend of the family ever since.
And a few days before the show, he surprised me by calling up and inviting us to watch an air show on his boat.
You see, Larry had special seats to this air show, because he was a patrol captain.
Which meant he was assigned to patrol the shore and lifeguard as the show was going on.
And he could drive in places that normal spectators weren’t allowed.
Without hesitation, I told Larry we were thrilled to accept his invitation and watch the show!
Not to mention, it had been years since we’ve seen Larry and his beautiful wife, Janet.
So we profusely thanked them for their kind invitation and excitedly boarded their boat.
Then I strapped Bubbers into a life jacket and cinched it as tight as possible.
And watched him get his sea legs.
“I’m getting my sea legs.”
Then Larry sat at the helm and gently drove us out onto the gorgeous lake.
When he found a secluded spot near the show, he cut the engine and cleared his throat.
“I think we’ll just stay here and lay low,” he said quietly, barely meeting my eye.
“Okay, that’s fine,” I said with a smile, confident it was a great place to see the show.
“The grand stands are over there,” Larry pointed in the distance, “But if it’s okay, we’ll just stay here.”
Janet eyed her husband warily, but didn’t say anything.
Suddenly, I realized something was going on.
“Is something going on?” I asked slowly, looking back and forth from Larry to Janet.
“Well, no, not really…..” Larry said, trying to wave away my concerns, but in a way that was less than reassuring.
Then I suddenly remembered that when we’d gotten on the boat, Janet had looked at Bubbers and then me with surprise and then confusion.
I turned to look at my son and then back at Larry.
I pinned him with my eyes and asked, “Does it have something to do with Bubbers?”
Larry squirmed in his seat and then finally nodded, “Well, yeah….. You’re not really supposed to have kids out here.”
I stared at him for a second, trying to understand his words.
“Wait a minute,” I said, “You mean we’re not allowed to have children here? Bubbers isn’t allowed to be here?!”
Still squirming, Larry shrugged and answered, “Well, yeah, he’s not allowed.”
“But Larry!” I cried, “You didn’t tell me that! You told me to bring him!!”
Janet laughed and said, “Larry likes to break rules.”
“I’ll say!” I burst out, the rule-follower in me starting to panic and then a light went on and I turned to Janet, “So that’s why you didn’t bring your daughter! I was wondering!….. And then here you see us coming on board and bringing our son! Holy smokes, Larry!”
“I knew you wouldn’t come if you couldn’t bring Bubbers,” Larry explained quickly, “So I told you to bring him. But it’s okay. Really, it’s no big deal.”
“Well who gets in trouble if we get caught?” I asked suddenly, visions of my child being taken away from me overtaking my worried mother’s imagination.
“Larry does,” Janet answered immediately.
“And you’re okay with that?” I asked pointedly as I looked at Larry.
He shrugged, “No problem. I’m a volunteer, so what can they do?”
Charming and I laughed.
“Well, okay,” I said finally, “As long as you’re okay with it.”
“Sure,” Larry said, “We’ll just stay away from the grand stands and other boats and we should be fine. And if anyone comes by, just hide Bubbers.”
Bubbers didn’t know what to think of that plan, but he didn’t really have a choice.
And then the show started and the first pilot was flying overhead.
We all looked up and watched in awe as the plane performed incredible maneuvers.
Well, all of us except the Bubbers king.
Who suddenly saw something much more interesting than loud planes overhead.
“May I please drive your boat?” Bubbers asked Larry in his sweetest voice.
“Sure thing,” Larry said and Bubbers was in heaven!
First he pushed a button.
Then he grabbed the steering wheel.
“Look, look Bubbers!!” I cried as a new stunt pilot spun through the air above our boat.
Bubbers briefly glanced at the sky.
Then immediately resumed “driving”.
We watched each plane in amazement.
And Larry (a pilot himself!) told us about every plane with incredible detail.
And I tried my best to pass it on to Bubbers.
And much too soon it came time for us to head back to the dock.
But, holy smokes! if that wasn’t an awesome afternoon.
(Even if we were breaking the rules). :)
Thank you so much, Larry and Janet!
Pictures by: Heidi