Memory Lane: How Not to Build a Raft

Image result for homemade raft

Hey, it’s cold outside today! Which for some obscure reason has raised up a summer memory.

Once upon a blistering hot summer day, my friends and I decided to build a raft, a la Huckleberry Finn. This we did at one of those places that’s since been paved out of existence: a sluggish little stream that flowed through woods and meadows that some of the people living nearby used as a dumping ground for junk.

But for us, the discovery of an old wooden pallet, and some discarded tires, this was a treasure trove. I had recently seen, in Popular Mechanics, a plan for building a nice raft buoyed up by a tire under each corner. Actually, the raft floated on inner tubes; but some dumb kid–me–could only remember “tires. Yeah, tires!”

So we toiled in the heat, using scrap lumber to strengthen the pallet, and laboriously attaching an old tire to each corner under the raft. This was going to be great! Like, who knew where this stream would take us, once we were afloat? And of course anyone who chanced to see us would be torn between applause and envy.  We were going to have adventures!

At great cost in labor and sweat, we wrestled our glorious new raft into the water.

And it sank. Immediately. The old tires instantly filled with water and dragged our raft straight to the bottom before any of us could even set foot on it.

We were mystified! Tires are supposed to float. These just made a horrible glug-glug-glug noise and went straight to Davy Jones’ Locker.

And that’s how I learned the difference between a tire and an inner tube.

It was fun, though–enormous fun while we were building the wretched thing, our minds on fire with imagination. And we did get it built, albeit on a false premise of design. Dreams that don’t come true are still dreams.


2 comments on “Memory Lane: How Not to Build a Raft

  1. typical kid stuff. the fun is in the building. Recall a story by my first husband who lived near the river. He built a raft that actually did float, and as he floated down the river, neighbors all along the way were waving and yelling to come back, get over here, you will fall off and drown, dummy.
    His mother was terrified, all the neighbors, too, but he survived to build again.

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