What Could Go Wrong?

Great Idea!

By Steve Carr

Most of Idaho experienced a better than usual winter—that is, if you enjoy lots and lots of snow. We did need the extra moisture. As I write this, the snow outside my office window in Idaho Falls is gone, just barely. The lawn looks anything but OK: dead leaves are matted to the lifeless grass underneath, joined by burger wrappers, plastic hot drink lids and a few unmentionables blown in from as far away as Utah. Yep, last season’s first snowfall came early. By the time you read this, I’ll need a new rake, and you’ll be wishing it would cool down before your Father’s Day BBQ. With this quick weather turnaround, winter is already just a memory. So what could possibly go wrong?

Ah, the specter of flooding. I hope you aren’t reading this from behind a wall of sandbags. In the Wood River Valley, the last time the snow was this high, the river rose far beyond its banks, causing more than a little trouble. Our extended family gathered there that year for a reunion over the Fourth of July. Instead of the omen that the raging river should have been, it was an invitation for the Carr clan to indulge our best knuckleheaded tendencies.

The group, ages six to sixty-six, cobbled together an assortment of toy water floats, patched inner tubes, sticks for oars, and jumped in below the Gimlet Bridge. Within sixty seconds we were split up, spit up, scraped, bruised, and beaten. The water swept under and around fallen trees and thrashing dogwoods. My nephew and his new wife shared a partially inflated dollar-store kids’ pool tube. Fewer than three hundred yards downstream, they were sucked under a huge sweeper. They survived but their tube was shredded.

They pulled themselves to the bank in the middle of dense dogwoods and willows. All they could do was fight through the bramble, hoping to find their way to the road. Eventually they emerged onto a manicured lawn. He was missing a contact lens and a tennis shoe. The deflated pink inner tube hung around his neck. Her hastily cut off Daisy Dukes were now torn, her T-shirt ripped, black mascara and a bright red trickle of blood ran down her cheeks. They checked fingers and toes and tilted their heads to jump up and down, draining the river from their ears, before looking up to determine their whereabouts.

A wedding party of two hundred seated guests stared back at them. A tuxedoed officiate, nonplussed, froze mid-nuptials. My nephew silently took his young wife by the hand. With polite nods to the strangers, they raised their chins, looked straight ahead and limped across the lawn, his soggy tennis shoe slurping and belching with each step as they disappeared into the woods.

Our family made it back to our place one and two at a time, trickling in from various points downstream, intact except for cuts and scrapes. It could have, should have, been worse. We deserved worse. Yet we survived.

Let’s hope the flooding this year will be minimal and that we all will enjoy an excellent Idaho summer. On the Fourth, the Carr family will be roasting marshmallows from a safe campsite on high ground. At least that will be the plan until one of us gets a brilliant idea involving sharp sticks or blindfolds or cute baby bear cubs and then it will begin again. What could possibly go wrong?


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Steve Carr

About Steve Carr

Since you asked, Steve Carr is a recovering attorney, who can be reached at [email protected].

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