Keep on Swimming (and once and a while Float)

When I was a little girl, I thought I could do everything. If I just tried hard enough.  That’s how I learned to whistle.  That’s how I learned to jump rope.  That’s how I learned to swim.  I didn’t think of it as work, or perseverance, or competition, or any of those grown up words.  I just thought it was finding a way to get what I wanted.  I was pretty good at it, too.

Once after my big sister Deanna and I, and Nancy, Deanna’s best friend from across the road, learned how to swim, our dads took us way, way out in the lake on inner tubes.  I loved to swim.  I could swim all day, I liked it so much.

The two dads swam out over their heads with us three girls on our inner tubes.  Nancy had a huge inner tube from a tractor.  That was the best fun ever, cuz about six kids could fit on that inner tube all at the same time.  Deanna and I just had regular old inner tubes that had a bunch of patches on them cuz they were finally no good for anything except swimming.  My dad believed in patching stuff up until there were more patches than stuff.

Nancy’s dad bought her inner tube from the gas station:  no patches. They were rich.

Way, way out in the lake was a sand dune.  Once we all got out there, we got off the inner tubes and Continue reading

NaBloPoMo: Taking the Challenge

Adela, 6th gradeI never think of myself as being competitive.  I am more of a collaborator, a builder, a creator.  Or am I?    Tell me I can’t do something and I’m sure to prove you wrong.  Throw down a challenge, and I’ll to pick it up.  I guess it all started when I was a little girl.

Mom and Dad were geniuses at thinking up quiet contests for kids to do.  Like Dad’s “1-2-3 Quiet as a Mouse.”  Whenever he said those words, the whole car got so quiet, we could hear the bugs hitting the windshield.  Even from the way-back.  That’s the place behind the back seat where mostly Little Kids sat, ’cause Dad said there’s no sense in paying extra money for a third seat in a car wheb kids crawl all over the place pretending they’re dogs and horses and stuff.  I sat back there, too, especially if I thought Mom might make me get out and go into a store by myself of something.  I hated doing that kind of job.  Anyways, “1-2-3 Quiet as a Mouse” lasted for miles and miles, with nobody saying a word, even “I gotta go to the bathroom,” which got said a lot by kids trapped in the car.  Something about getting in a car always made me thirsty or made me need to go to the bathroom.  Mom said she had the same problem with phone booths.  She never could get in one without needed to go Number 1 as soon as that foldy-door snaps shut behind her.

Mom made up a keen game once with candy, when we sat in the car waiting for Dad to come out from talking to someone or another.  Dad could never just Continue reading

Keep on Swimming (and once in awhile float)

When I was a little girl, I thought I could do everything, if I just tried hard enough.  That’s how I learned to whistle.  That’s how I learned to jump rope.  That’s how I learned to swim.  I didn’t think of it as work, or perseverance, or competition.  I just thought it was finding a way to get what I wanted.  I was pretty good at it, too.

Once after Deanna and I, and Nancy, Deanna’s best friend from across the road, learned how to swim, our dads took us way, way out in the lake on inner tubes.  I loved to swim.  I could swim all day, I liked it so much.  The two dads swam out over their heads with us girls on our inner tubes.  Nancy had a huge inner tube from a tractor, that was the best fun ever, ’cause about six kids could fit on that inner tube all at the same time.  Deanna and I just had regular old inner tubes that had a bunch of patches on them ’cause they were finally no good for anything except swimming.  My dad believed in patching stuff up until there were more patches than stuff.  Nancy’s dad bought her inner tube from the gas station:  no patches; they were rich.

Way, way out in the lake was a sand dune.  Once the dads got out there, we got off the inner tubes.  Next the dads got in the inner tubes and us girls started swimming to shore.  Dad floated right behind, telling me what a good swimmer I was and ‘keep it up’, and ‘wow, I can’t believe how those girls can swim’, and other nice stuff like that.  It was super-easy, ’cause if I got tired of the Continue reading