Houseboating one mid-sixties summer
we traded up from canvas roofs.
Vacation on the Kentucky River
rippling gently, flowing north.
Father captained our floating camper,
While Mother disciplined the crew:
Five youngsters on lazy outdoor days
of nautical terms and knots,
Grandpa trolled for fish and Grandma
Cooked his catch and served cold Schlitz.
Fishing, swimming, spinning on a black inner tube
In calm pools designated safe by Captain Dad.
Mosquitos, flies, hordes of gnats swim
over our tender necks and arms
prickling, irritating, wounding.
Two days out we land at sandy Boonesboro beach,
rope dangling from a limb perfectly positioned
for cannonballs in deep cove waters.
Evening baseball broadcast
from Grandpa’s portable radio
a silly song plays at the bottom of the ninth.
Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport,
a simple chorus
we sailors master the accent
and ship’s mates scurry for a respite from the din.
Our refrain interrupts the wallaby and koala
we hum through to the best line done over four times.
When transistor battery runs too low
to catch the scratchy Kangaroo
we spin the dial in vain.
Sunburned and bug-bitten our family is content
at journey’s end we ride home
begging Dad to okay another hunt for the Kangaroo.