Saturday, February 8, 2014


Soon after my parents divorced, my dad began purchasing items, which, if my dad's children weren't some of the more difficult humans on earth to live with, could be construed as his attempt at luring the kids to hang out with him. My mother played the same game by making us wake up at 5:45, read scriptures, and then practice instruments before sending us to the lions den early morning classes at school.1 I'll let you take a guess as to which one was trying to get us to move to dad's house.2

Along with the N64, that terrible horrible misery-inducing time sink the rest of you know as Myst, my dad bought a skiboat. This was a good idea because if anyone in the neighborhood were to have assigned an adjective to the Perrys, they certainly would have picked "coordinated". If you gave them enough time and money and threats. We were also known for our love of being outside, our unused and crumbling half-court basketball court in the backyard, and our permanently pasty white skin a testament to our commitment to the sun.

Dad loved that skiboat. You know he did because he spent so much time trying to get it to start. I think on one occasion over the course of its lifetime it started with the turn of the key, and that was at the dealer. Every other time we'd launch the boat and drift in the harbor waving at the other boats avoiding us, while he opened up the engine, violently muttering something about winterizing.

The most exciting part of the boat trips were always getting to and from the lake, because our old Pathfinder, roughly the same size as the boat, had a hitch, meaning it could "tow" a boat. This meant that, on a straight track on a sunny day, you could get up to speed over the course of a few miles. It also meant that if you were going downhill and the light turned red, you would flash your brights and honk like crazy as you careened out of control through the intersection.3

Largely due to that experience, my dad bought a Suburban and gave the Pathfinder to my brother, who let it rot in my mom's driveway for six years before making his wife drive it, who promptly, and correctly, demanded he sell it and buy a working automobile.

My most vivid memory is of our trip to Lake Powell, when my dad's girlfriend decided we'd all vacation together a la brady bunch. We divvied up into cars, and for inter-car coordination I brought along my most recent Christmas present: a set of walkie talkies, which I'll add, for the record, are more useful when you have friends to actually use them with. My lack of field testing was made apparent when we discovered on the freeway that their range was approximately ten feet. There was more violent muttering and some hasty freeway exits and more involved coordination before the trip was re-commenced.

I have fond memories of that boat. Hiding from the sun under a beach towel up front, finally learning to ski out of shame as my little sister schooled me, listening to the one Paul Simon tape that never left the boat, and spitting out the clouds of gnats that crowded us every time we stopped.

1. I had a great set of early morning religion teachers: one of which held the record for shortest punt in University of Utah football history, and another who made a point to inform us that he donated a million dollars to the church because he was so righteous.
2. I'll give you a hint, and it rhymes with smoth of them
3. This is a true story.


brittney perry said...

Such a charmed life. PLUS: best intro ever.

Marie said...

yes, I have plenty of pictures of you hiding under a towel. i had to buy paul simon a few years ago just because. i loved that boat.

bek said...

I am fairly certain dad sold that boat the same year I invested in a decent wakeboard. A wakeboard for garage art. Just what I wanted.