“Hi” she said as she made her way into the kitchen. Her teenage daughter stood there in her swimsuit top and her shorts gathering the makings of breakfast. She had a bowl of spaghetti and an apple. Gladys got her coffee and sat down at the table. “So it’s raining. What is plan B” she asked her daughter. “I don’t think this rain is supposed to last all day. I hope it doesn’t. I want to go exploring this afternoon” Tadpole answered while dipping the apple into the spaghetti sauce. Gladys looked at her daughter and thought that she would never understand the eating habits of 14 year old girls or for that matter 38 year old girls as she dipped her own apple slice in peanut butter.
They both sat and watched the rain out the kitchen window. They could see the jet skis on the dock just past the garden. This was South Texas, the rain may last all day or it might be gone in ten minutes. They finished breakfast and danced around the kitchen to Alanis Morrisette's pissed off tunes. Gladys grabbed a broom and began to sweep using it partly as a cleaning device but mostly as a microphone. Tadpole moved and sang as the music blared. They moved from the kitchen to the living room this time armed with duster and vacuum to the accompaniment of Bonnie Raitt. The music changed to a little Hootie and the Blowfish and they moved into scrubbing toilets and sinks. The morning flew by and by the time they had finished the sun was shining brightly and the temperatures were on the rise.
“Mama, can we go now” Tadpole asked impatiently. Gladys was putting the finishing touches on a marinade for the steaks she had set out for supper. “Did you take the clothes out of the dryer? Did you put another load in the washer” Gladys questioned as her answer. “Yes, ma’am. I even put the clothes up. Come on let’s go” exclaimed an exasperated Tadpole.
They grabbed their life-vest off the rack and took the jet-ski key. Gladys climbed on the jet-ski as Tadpole lowered the water craft . Once the lift was underwater and the ski was floating they pushed off and headed out. Gladys drove down the canal and out into the Bayou. They wound their way out through the different inlets and into the main stream. Gladys slowed in the no-wake zone next to the boat launch and took this opportunity to ask her passenger where she wanted to explore. “Out there past the inter-coastal, just past there” Tadpole exclaimed as she pointed out into the swamp.
Gladys kicked it up and the sped across the water. It was mother and daughter together on an exploration of the bayou surrounding their home. They sang as the skipped across waves and even braved a few tug boat wakes. They ventured on until they found a creek. They discussed the possibilities of what might be up this particular water way and decided to find out. It started out wide with plenty of room to maneuver. They saw turtles sunning themselves on logs and perch jumping at the sunlight or maybe tiny flies. Then the banks started closing in and it became narrow and harder to navigate. The two looked up ahead and saw it getting no bigger or better. They turned oh so carefully hoping not to lean too far to one side or the other. You see jet-skis are not the most stable water craft and will tip over and dump you off with just the smallest of movements. They slowly turned but didn’t anticipate the swiftness that the tail of the ski would come around and they both ended up in the shallow water. It’s human nature to put your feet down which the two of them being humans by nature did. Only their feet did not meet with solid ground or even a rocky bottom. Their feet sunk instead into slimy muck. Tadpole screamed and started flailing around chanting “gross, gross, gross!” Gladys pulled her feet up and grabbed the ski chanting “shit, shit, shit.” They boarded the craft and looked at the icky mess on their feet and shook that icky shake that happens after coming into contact with well, ickiness.
They were shook up and ready to head back home to shower and get muck off. The pair agreed they had enough exploring for the day. Gladys sped the little ski up and headed out the same way she had come when the ski skipped and hopped. It felt as if she had hit a speed bump. The thought crossed her mind that she might have hit a log and turned to see Tadpoles eyes the size of salad plates. There was a frozen scream on her face and she was trying to say something but nothing was coming out. That is when Gladys saw the tail of a large alligator swirling in the water. She slowed the ski down just a bit to make sure she had just seen what she thought she had seen. She realized the log wasn’t a log after all but that big old alligator. Then it floated back to the top of the water eyes and snout visible. She turned to go and floating to the side of the ski was an upside down dead baby alligator. She choked back a scream told Tadpole to hold-on and pushed open the throttle. They sped up the creek and out into the Bayou. They skipped over the water as fast as they could go never looking back. They moved in tandem through the turns of the winding canal. Gladys pulled the ski onto the lift and Tadpole jumped off and winched the lift up as fast as she could.
They threw off their vests and ran as fast as they could through the garden and onto the porch. That is when they both let out a long held but much needed high pitch scream. That was pretty much the last of their expeditions, but it was not the last of their run-in’s with Mother Nature along the bayou.