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Cam Marston on Family Fun Gone Wrong

Forced Family Fun is what we call it when my wife and I mandate family time. We announce the event, we fend off the kid’s objections, we ignore the eyerolls, and, when the day comes, off we go. My wife and I chant, "Forced Family Fun! Forced Family Fun!"

Last Sunday was such a day. We rented a pontoon boat to spend the day puttering around Perdido Bay. The forecast showed low humidity, a high of eighty-five degrees, and a fifteen percent chance of rain. Just perfect.

We loaded the boat with piles of towels, coolers, kids, toys, and a dog, I noticed the sky and said to myself, “Well, the forecast says it should clear up soon.” It didn’t and never did. It began raining shortly after we left the dock and kept raining more or less all day. We soldiered on, though, believing that the forecast would ultimately win out. It didn’t. The low-ish humidity plus the wind made it a chilly, cold rain. Riding across Perdido Bay through this windy, cold rain was miserable. We were soaked. Everything we brought was soaked. We were shivering. But, gosh darn it, it was forced family fun and at any moment the forecast would win out and the fun would begin.

The only time it stopped raining was when we stopped for lunch at the locally famous Pirates Cove Yacht Club, and it was NOT an original idea. There were, and this is a conservative estimate, 50,000 boats, 250,000 people, and 5000 dogs roaming around. There was a line for the bathroom, a line to order food, the food took well over an hour, and we spent that time ogling the spectacle of humanity on display. From a bachelorette party whoopin’ it up, to bathing suits cut strangely to bathing suits that were way, way too small. It was an eye full and thank goodness for mirrored sunglasses.

We left Pirates Cove, and the rain started again. We tied up at a marina and sat under the roof of a bait shop for hours until the rain slacked, and we ran for the boat to declare defeat and call it a day. With our final destination in site, we ran aground. My son sarcastically called out, “Dad, I think it might be shallow here!” Everyone expected me to snap, but I had to laugh. “Everywhere I can see,” I said, “is blue sky, but it’s pouring on us.” It was true. Everyone was hiding under a soaking wet towel, trying to get out of the rain. Even the dog.

Finally, back at the launch, returning the boat two hours early, we nosed up to the dock and the rain stopped. No kidding. No one said a word about it. We loaded the car, climbed in, and he kids began chanting, "Forced Family Fail! Forced Family Fail!"

We were laughing before we left the parking lot.

I’m Cam Marston, and I’m still trying to warm up.

Cam Marston is the Keepin' It Real host for Alabama Public Radio.