Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Uncrushable Betty

I'd just like to begin this story by saying it was worth it. That if somebody had offered me this story in exchange for 100 bucks, I would have bought it.

As you know, Betty Debbie and I were in Idaho/Wyoming over the last weekend. We were snapping pictures left and right for blogs, various and sundry. My camera is a basic little point and shoot because the Casa van Voorhees is notoriously hard on cameras--having to replace roughly every year and a half--and the cost to replace something fancier (after dropping it onto the garage floor or having it become possessed by evil spirits in Venice, Italy with 8 days left of my vacation...) would make me ill.

So, we drove up to this precious little spring--the headwaters of Henry's Fork--on Sunday. It was so chilly so I borrowed a sweater...with pockets...shallow pockets. Of course, Betty came with. Betty always comes with.

The spring was just beautiful--clear as glass, five or six feet deep...'No littering, no fishing, no wading' signs abounded. Some trout were hanging out under the bridge, if I just leaned a little bit...PLOP. Not just any plop. A bell-like Platonic ideal of a plop. The kind of plop Olympic divers make when they've nailed an arcing dive.

I stared in shock at my camera at the bottom of the spring. Everyone (our party and another small family) on the footbridge was in shock. No serious effort was made to rescue it--it was on the bottom of a frigid body of water. Rescue was impossible--though I felt rotten about littering.

And then the screen turned on. We could see it as clearly as if there were no water, flashing on and off like some desperate Russian sub trapped on the ocean floor. And then bubbles started to rise from it. At this point, I seriously considered jumping in.

Channeling the ghost of the 10-year-old boy that he once was, the grown man in the other party marched into the forest. He marched out again with a 9 foot long fallen tree branch. Stirred around for 5 minutes and...yadda, yadda, yadda. (See right.)

The camera is a...ahem...wash but we retrieved the memory stick. The fisherman was a hero to his wife and young boys. This Betty was muchly appreciative. Most of the Betty in the Wild pictures from last week were salvaged from this disaster.


  1. You forgot to mention that besides being chilly, it was rainy as well.

    The clusters of air bubbles were hilarious and pathetic...rather like the last gasps of a drowning man.

    This was definitely not the weekend for cameras...mine is still down.

  2. Too bad it wasn't "The Unsinkable Betty".

  3. Did you forget to mention that the hero of our story (to give him a human side) offered to pitch his wife in to the pond for the said $100 bucks that you had been idly murmuring about as a wish to get it back? To give him credit he did offer to do that cheerfully.

  4. I'm so happy for you! The memory stick is all that is truly important (and a metaphor for life?) ... carry on Bettys!

  5. The Van der Hertenzoon household discovered cameras are amazingly tough when canoeing on the Juniata River. I was in a 2-person kayak with one rotating child (um, the child wasn't rotating but you know what I mean). Professor van der Hertenzoon had the other three in the canoe. No. 1 Son, the space cadet, had rotated back into the canoe but forgot he was in the canoe and lurched to one side, promptly tipping everyone in along with the supposedly waterproof bag with the camera. Yep, not waterproof--didn't discover that until several hours later.

    Pictures were intact, and camera still works except every time it is turned on the time and date has to be reset.

    Maybe all this computer chip stuff is a crock and a very small person does live inside each camera and runs the whole thing--thus my little guy just took a bath as it were and your hero saved your little guy from drowning?