After driving 700+ miles to Lockport, New York for a wedding, I realized we were within 20 miles of Niagara Falls. Since our children (as I mentioned in a previous post) are ultra-impressed with even small and disgusting natural wonders (like bird poop), we could only imagine the impression something like Niagara Falls would make. So after trading dad (who was brunching with cousins) for grandpa (my partner in several recent adventures), he, Nana and I loaded everyone back in the car and made the short trip.
It was amazing! I must say, our kids were impressed by the falls, but even more impressed by the rainbow that is almost always there as the sun hits the mist created by the water.
However, they ended up being most impressed by (you will never guess it…) a garbage can.
I take the blame for this. I went to falls as a kid and have two key memories about my trip: (1) refusing to wear a raincoat while viewing the base of the falls, getting drenched, and screaming “I’m NOT wet!” in denial/defiance at everyone staring at me (yes, as the mother of three, I get my daily comeuppance…) and (2) seeing a replica of the barrel used by some daredevil to (long ago) transport himself over the falls.
Well, we didn’t travel to the base of the falls this time (kids were amply impressed with the higher view) so I did not have to relive the raincoat disaster from the perspective of a parent (sorry, mom…). However, I was absolutely determined to recreate my barrel viewing experience for the children. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find that exhibit anywhere (maybe it was on the Canadian side? Or at the base?) Anyway, I did find two pictures tucked away in a random corner of the museum (near the bathrooms) that I thought would work, and I showed them to the kids.
The first photo showed a barrel going over the falls (pretty incredible).
The second showed a man getting out of the barrel into the water after his successful trip down (even more incredible).
These photos were located near a large garbage can, so after showing the pictures, I told the girls that the barrel in the photo was about the same size as the can.
E’s response: That guy is crazy! He went down that big waterfall?!?!
S’ response: That guy is really crazy! He climbed in that stinky garbage can!!!!
I tried to explain, but it was little use, and the girls were so excited that we ended up spending more time that you would imagine hanging out by the garbage. I imagine the other mothers thought I had the kids in some sort of smelly time out or something, but in truth they were very happy imagining themselves so much smarter than that crazy grown-up who climbed in with the garbage (and, as an afterthought, hurled himself over the falls).
As it turns out, the day we got home from our trip, the news reported that a lady had just fallen into a whirlpool in the river formed by the falls. Praise God, she was saved by a very well-timed tour boat with an able captain and crew. I showed the girls the video of the lady and her hero on my computer, and they decided she was (1) bad at following instructions (I mean, they had been shown the signs warning people about going near the water…didn’t she see them?), (2) blessed and lucky (That man found her? He helped her breathe?!) and (3) still much smarter than the guy that climbed in the garbage can (yuck!!!).
Side note: I did try to explain again by going on a website that showed the actual barrels , and I think I have now gotten through. However, I am glad I had to narrate the website for my not-yet readers, since some of the stories on there are crazy! Did you know one man successfully went over the falls, then died years later after he slipped on an orange peel and subsequently contracted gangrene (I guess the wound got infected)? That another thought it would be a good idea to put an anvil in the barrel with him for ballast and tie the anvil to himself for security? They found the barrel later, with only his right arm inside. If anyone woud like to join me in my new, creepy area of interest, here’s the link… http://www.niagarafallslive.com/daredevils_of_niagara_falls.htm
And if anyone would like to join us on our next roadtrip (we see and celebrate it all, even the garbage cans…), just let me know. There is a seat available right next to the kids!