I left you promising stories to come out of the six things I shared. This is the 1st one.
When I was just a little girl, about 3 years old, I was out on an inner tube with my very pregnant sister, Edna. Her young husband, Howard, was there. And I think Mama was on the shore. Not sure if they were in the Neches River or on Village Creek. Suppose I could call and ask Edna, but it really doesn't matter. Not for my story.
Somehow, we managed to flip over. We were both in the water. Edna so pregnant she could barely swim herself, and I totally ignorant of anything about the water. Most of this has been related to me by my Mama and by Edna at some point, but this I remember clearly: dark murky water all around. My eyes wide open drinking in the sights as I float quietly downward. I remember watching the tiny little air bubbles rising to the top. Fascinated by it. All seemed so calm and serene. I had no idea I was in jeopardy. That I was going to the bottom and fast running out of air. I suppose the fact that I didn't know to panic actually made my breath last longer. Then I remember being jerked by an arm. And that is that. All of my actual memory. It had been a young muscular, James Dean looking Howard who had pulled me from the water.
I was not left with any fear of water...probably again because I had not known I was fast approaching death and had suffered nothing traumatic. One summer when I was around seven or eight, Mama had a friend of my sisters who had a pool in their backyard give me swimming lessons. She did an excellent job. Again, absolutely no fear, only joy in the water. She taught me to float, to swim above the water and below it. To do a simple dive. And to retrieve things from the bottom of the pool.
Soon, I was going to the pool in town every chance I could to swim, slide and dive. The older I got the more summer afternoons I spent there. It was a wonderful place. Fenced in pool area, San Augustine grass all around the pool and the covered pavilion. Hard plastic deck chairs lining the cement around the pool for sunbathing and lounging. Basket lockers and a shower/changing room for each of the sexes. A small snack bar for refreshments.
The pavilion had chairs and picnic tables and pool tables beneath it. Teenage boys in cut off jeans would keep the pool balls clicking and clacking throughout the day. And there was the jukebox. Don't know how many songs it had on it....or how often they were changed out, but overwhelmingly in my memory I hear the echoes of the Steve Miller Band and "The Joker". So much so, that whenever or wherever I hear the familiar strains of that song I immediately smell chlorine, feel the suns warmth and hear the "Thwang" of the diving board.
There was a small slide in the shallows for little ones. There was a huge slide at about 6 foot for everyone else. There were two diving boards on the cavernous 12" deep end. One regular and the other a towering high dive.
When I went to college at Stephen F. Austin and had to select a phys ed course, I happily signed up for swimming. What could be better than being able to swim every single day if one wanted regardless of the whether!
There they picked my form apart and put it back together. If there was a stroke I never learned, I don't know what it could be. I received high marks on them all. For one of the higher swimming classes we had to complete the Red Cross Basic Rescue training. Hear we learned to scissor kick for breaths and hang like jelly fish. For the grand finale we had to enter the pool on the deep end in our jeans and all our clothes. Take our jeans off while treading water, tie the legs together and while holding the waste line in either hand whop them down hard on the water to trap air inside and use them as life preservers.
The actual fact is I'd probably never need in assistance except in the roughest of water. I am a natural floater. I can literally lie on my back in the water, floating on it and reading, sipping a drink through a straw, whatever. I look as though I am laying on an imaginary float! My instructors plainly told me that although I managed to complete the exercises satisfactorily, I would indeed be better off on my back in many situations.
Went on to learn how to drag folks out of the water. Not on a level to qualify for a life guard, just for a real immediate emergency. I'm very happy I have never had to attempt to use any of that training. The only way it has been put to use really, is that I trained Hannah Bug myself to float and to swim.
Coming next in this series is the story of how I earned my canoeing badge.
Hope this finds you all happy and satisfied from a great Thanksgiving Day.
Hey, Barbara, what'd you have for Thanksgiving? Well, since we celebrated at the deer camp, I kept it quite simple. There was a spiral cut ham, corn casserole, green beans chocked full of bacon and pineapple cherry salad. I'm sure the ham bone will find a pot of beans. ;o)