Friday, November 28, 2008

Some People Call Me a Space Cowboy...

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)


  1. Wonder why some people say they can't float on their back? It comes to me so easy even though I don't swim really well. Interesting entry.Paula

  2. I'm glad your experience did not thwart your love for swimming. I used to love swimming as a child. I learned how to swim when I was nine from the YMCA at my grandparents. We lived at the beach or pool on base, was a Navy brat, lol.

  3. This had happened to me , I was very young and it was a pond with a diving board , i jumped in and 2 girls pulled me out.
    from there on i learned to swim.
    got all my badges except for life guard.

  4. Hi...I am not a good swimmer...altho at a younger age learned...down in the creek..about a mile from my house...along with the snakes and other creepy crawlies...and the miracle of it is....we lived to tell the tale...wouldn't do that today right??? anyway...swimming in the summer was a great time as teenagers also..very interesting story...glad you didn't have to go thru the trauma of water..God Bless and hugs from Ora in KY

  5. I love the water too. I'm not the best swimmer but like you i float well. It would be interesting to see if i float so well if i lost weight :-)
    Jenny <><

  6. I took swiming lesons when I was around 5. I did something the insturctor didnt like , he took me out into the deep water and dunked me under. Now I cant swim and I'm scarried of watemy feet have to touch the bottom of the pool at all times.

  7. Loved the story... was on the edge of my seat through the whole entry. I really love to swim too and love floating. We had a pool to visit near my grandparents' home one summer just like the one you described except we had no jukebox. Aren't those great memories!! Your Thanksgiving dinner sounds wonderful and yummy!! Hugs,

  8. I really enjoyed this entry!

  9. Wow- that's quite a story! I love that song btw ;-) You floating on your back makes me think of you as an otter! I'm glad you had your brother in law to pull you out so we could enjoy you! God Bless you Barbara! love Carolyn

  10. This brought back some memories for me too! Thanks for posting this. My next door neighbors had a pool and daughters my age. We swam all summer long. I remember turning blue from swimming when it was probably too cold. We also had a pond with a swim area in walking distance. Loved it! Great way to grow up.

  11. Thanks for visiting my little world :o)

  12. What great stories! That first one was so scary! Now I can't get "The Joker" out of my head, I'll be humming it for days! I have good memories connected with that song too.
    Thanks for stopping by today :-)


So glad you stopped by! Come 'round any time. ~ Barbara

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