Smorgasbord Letters from America – July 1986 – Rafting on the Guadaloupe by Sally Cronin

When I was given the folder of my handwritten letters to my parents when my father died in 1996, I was amazed that he had kept them for ten years. But so pleased that he did. We tend to remember the major events, and we had plenty of amazing experiences in those two years of living in the United States, but it is easy to forget the everyday…

It is now July 1986 and we manage to get a weekend away with our friends before my niece Emma arrives from England for three weeks. We head off to San Antonio and plan to raft down the Guadalupe.. and no doubt drink margaritas. This is my letter home to my parents in the UK after our trip.

July 12th 1986

Dear M & D,

We are just about recovering from our weekend away, although some injuries may take a little longer to heal! It was action paced and a lot of fun and accommodations were interesting to say the least.

The condo only had two bedrooms and a sleeper sofa between the 8 of us. Paul and Kyle shared one bed, Debby and Anna another, Walter and Alison, David and I shared the living room with two in the sofa bed and the two of us on cushions on the floor. Debbie and I were up at 7.00 cooking breakfast for everyone which got their attention as bacon aromas drifted through the condo.

We set off for the river at 8.30, laden down with coolers of beer and wine with sandwiches for lunch, plastic bags and elastic bands (reasons later) and two rubber tubes (for the coolers). We arrived at the rafting centre and rented two, one for the four boys and one for us four girls. We attached the rubber tubes to the backs of the rafts and placed the coolers of liquid refreshment inside them to keep everything cool. Once we were under way the plastic bags were filled with river water and sealed until each boat had 20 or so each, and then the war began. We all ended up in the water at one time or another but quickly dried in the sun.

We got to the rapids and rocks where we disembarked whilst the rafting company crew got us prepared for the next section.. We were poised between two rocky sections and were told to get in the boat as quickly as possible and they would push us down the small cascade to the next river section. I was last one in and had one leg in the raft and the other by side of the chute when the guy pushed the raft. But my leg was trapped between two rocks and I was jerked off my feet and back into the water. Luckily the raft was not too far down the chute and they caught it so I could get in. Unfortunately I now have a very painful and bruised shin bone. I had it looked at by a medic at the centre at the end of the ride, and luckily it was not broken but I still have to use a stick. They say should be fine in a few days!  I seem to be accident prone. I am sure that the three beers I had in the first couple of hours had nothing to do with it!

It took six hours in total to navigate the river and a bus took us back to the centre where we had left our cars. A quick change and with me hobbling, we descended on a fantastic Mexican restaurant along the river walk in San Antonio that had a large outside area. The meal was amazing, almost as good as Pappasitos… and we had a great time. It ended up with two mariachi bands having a contest at each end of the table for nearly an hour and they ended up playing “Felice Navidad” as they had run out of things to play. We all sang along and soon all the other customers joined in for several choruses.. I can only assume that passersby thought we were all nuts in the middle of summer.

When we got back we headed down to the river that ran alongside the condo, and it was shallow enough to sit in the cold water for half and hour and it did my leg a lot of good. We then all slept like logs and then headed home in the morning. We were in bed by 10pm and I still needed a siesta yesterday to catch up.

Today I have done a big shop ready for Emma’s arrival, shampooed the carpet and been for a couple of swims to try and ease my leg, which as predicted, is feeling a bit better today.

And we have made plans for our trip home in September.  David is running an exhibition in Manchester from the 10th, so I will come home to see you for the first week and then go up and join him before we go to Prescott together to see what his company has planned for him next year. It will be lovely to be back for your anniversary on the 11th having missed last year and looking forward to seeing everyone at the party.

Better get an early night before the great day tomorrow… so looking forward to seeing Emma, and the gang will all be here on Saturday for a curry lunch to meet her, and we will ring you on Sunday to tell you all about it.

Please find enclosed a photo taken by the pool a few weeks ago… we have some new members to the group…..

love from us both.. S&D.

 

I hope you have enjoyed the latest news from Houston (1986) and will join me again next week for an update… thanks Sally.

56 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Letters from America – July 1986 – Rafting on the Guadaloupe by Sally Cronin

  1. What a fun read! It brought back an experience of White Water rafting down the Rio Grande with my kids. Mind you, the kids coerced me into going. 🙂 Plenty of laughter tossed with terror, it’s definitely a memory I’ll never forget.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love rafting, but you were lucky not to drown or break your leg. Soaking your leg in the cold water reminded me of filling up a bidet with cold water and soaking my feet after a long day of walking around ???? city in France.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great read, Sally! I enjoy reading your letters because they remind me of when I’ve had similar experiences. I’m sure we could swap some rafting tales.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Oh, I do love these! There’s never a dull one – and this one was no exception. It must have been one of those heart-stopping moments when your leg stuck but I’m glad you were able to carry on. The Felice Navidad in July made me chuckle!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. You are hilarious. I can just visualize you falling out of the raft – maybe you should have put down that Marg. LOLOL. Your story reminds me of the days when our group of friends rented a cottage together a few summers. Lol, so many stories! Love the memories Sal ❤ xxx

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Pingback: Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Weekly Round Up – 31st January – 6th February 2021 – 1960s Music, Bloggers, Book Reviews, Hormones, Shortstories, Slowcooking and Funnies | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

  7. Oh dear, Sally, you certainly were a bit accident prone. I feel I’ve lived such a staid life compared to yours which was filled with activities like this. My life seems to have been spent reading and walking [very slowly] around museums, castles and art galleries. It has been pouring with rain here for over 2 weeks now and I am the only person in South Africa who is perfectly delighted with the cooler weather which is perfect to sit and read or sit and write.

    Liked by 1 person

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