Way back before Nintendo, all I had at 13 was a car tyre inner tube and a river. There was a pile of well-thumbed Hustler magazines from the early ‘70s, but that’s another story.
The Umgeni wound its way through our town, tracing farm paddocks, and on past manicured lawns of riverside houses. We'd start off near the Midmar dam wall, then scoot in one by one, then float for miles down the river, toward the Howick falls. Lying on our stomachs on our tubes, faces just inches from the surface of the water, we'd plunge head-first through rapids with bruising rocks, over gushing weirs six feet tall. There were calm flowing bits in between, where we'd link up tubes, compare bruises and cuts, soak up the sun, and talk about girls, monty python, and whatever young teenagers chortle about.
I dreamed about those river days last night, and woke up on the right side of bed.