Life’s greatest adventure has ups, downs — most of all, value

Someone asked me last week if I’d ever been in the back of a police vehicle, to which I quickly started to answer, “No, I can’t say that I’ve ever had that experience.”

Then I remembered.

When I was in high school, a friend drove me and my youngest brother downtown to watch the fireworks. When his car broke down, an empathetic police officer drove us home. So, technically I was riding in the back of a police vehicle. If that doesn’t count, my college roommate’s brother was an Indiana State Police trooper, who occasionally gave us rides home for the holidays.

Then they asked me what was the scariest adventure I had ever experienced. Since the hubby and I had just watched the 3D movie “Everest,” about the 1996 disastrous climb, when a violent blizzard killed eight climbers in one day — I figured my little climb rappelling near Durango, Colorado, with its 14,000-foot peak doesn’t quite compare with ice- and snow- covered Everest with its elevation of 29,035 feet.

Nope, I think the scariest adventure was when I went with my brothers and my hubby to go whitewater rafting in West Virginia. It wasn’t the rafting on the New and Gauley rivers with the rushing current set against the steep slopes and backdrop of towering cliffs — no, it was the horse ride on top of the 3,000-foot mountain on a rainy day when my horse’s two back hooves slipped off the rock over a cliff that might as well have been Mount Everest.

Nothing makes a gal more frightened than seeing your usually calm and collected husband’s and brother’s eyes get wide with fright — like they are about to watch their loved one go over the cliff into the abyss. They were probably thinking, “Darn it, one of us has to tell Betty (my mom) that she’s gone, and there was no way to retrieve her body.”

You’re reading this, so you know the adventure ended well. But I kept searching for scary adventure experiences.

Maybe when the hubby and I took a taxi and got dropped off on a barren area of Cayman Brac Island with our scuba gear, asking the cabbie to pick us up in four hours. When we were diving off the shore in about 40 to 50 feet of water, I remember getting a chill down my spine when I reached over to touch Steve to show him an octopus.

It wasn’t Steve next to me, but a 4-foot-long barracuda hanging out right beside me. I realize that barracudas don’t usually care for divers, but seeing those fang-like teeth jutting out from its powerful jaw is a slight bit unnerving.

I calmly and slowly swam to Steve — I figured the barracuda would obviously think my husband tasted better.

I thought about the close-call lightning strikes while fishing in Canadian waters. I thought about spinning 360 degrees on ice-covered Interstate 465 in a sports car.

But the all-time biggest adventure with lots of scary parts is raising children — and the adventure with the greatest value.