Last week, I added a life experience and lesson to my repertoire.  I drove four hours from Dallas to Tahlequah, OK, with 12 adults and 12 kids to experience a float trip down the Illinois River.  I learned a few things along the way.

First, never, ever just get in a float.  This is a strategy session like the show Survivor.  Think about your weakest link and who you must throw off should you have to eat your young…  We were almost dead-last of the group floats as you had a neurotologist, anesthesiologist and marketing consultant CEO along with a four-year-old – none of who had any business commandeering a raft unless it was a rowing machine at a gym.  And you add in the cold and the rain … and well, it was quite the experience…

Second, do not trust a group full of testosterone-fueled men commanding rafts (even if they are your friends and family members) to take care of your 11-year-old daughter and the aforementioned other children.  She may end up on a float of tattoo-laden, Metallica-playing people who were nice enough to pick her up when she decided to go swimming and was left behind.  She was returned to us … with no psychological damage apparent.  The overly tattooed folks in the other raft may have a different story after experiencing my spunky little girl.

Third, this is ‘Merica.  Land of the free, home of the face tattoos and a place where body size does not dictate the size of clothing chosen.  I have no more to say here except God love their confidence.

Finally, when I was in Water Color, Florida, earlier this year, I picked up a very classy looking wine bag that happens to hold an entire bottle of wine.  Because our group did not plan well – only bringing a few six packs of beer and my glorious bottle of Martin Ray Rosé – I clearly had the best option and it was hilarious to see the bag (completely water drenched and not the most polished looking) being passed along.  The rosé absolutely saved the day for our sad little raft and added a little oomph to a day that needed it.

I bet that the good folks at Martin Ray Winery and the dear friend who represents them in a public relations capacity may not be so excited to understand the story about the wine that made this day a success during our rafting trip.  A sample has never made such a difference.