Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mermaid Maggie

If you were inside, looking out, it appeared to be the perfect summer day, but when you hit the outside, it was only around 50 degrees, so it was a little too cold to.... say, swim in a lake. I love to swim. I LOVE the water- I think I am part fish.

Growing up, my parents always let us go to the public swimming pool with them or with our friends. We would spend hours in the water. I took lessons and one summer I went through three levels in the first week- everyone was amazed that I took to swimming like...a fish takes to water (I hear all of you groaning!). And I am still just in love with the water. I love the ocean. I love to swim. I really do. The next place I move is going to be a water place- lake, ocean, the Irish Sea....

Daddy-O's mama, my Grandma F (NOT ever ever ever to be confused with the Shrews!!!), owned a house on a lake and we would swim there. I loved it. She had a pier and when you jumped off the end of it, there was no touching bottom. As a kid I always thought is was a bottomless pit because it was so deep Daddy-O couldn't even touch. Us kids, my bro, my and our cousins, would dare each other to try to swim down and touch to bottom and no one ever could (As an adult, it was probably a damn good thing we couldn't or we might have disrupted snakes!). There was also a shallow area and we could drag beach toys out and swim there, with water up to our knees.

At the deep end, though, was the magic. We were always allowed to jump off the deep end once or twice at the end of the swim day, into my dad's arms, before we went back up to Grandma F's house. As I got older and we could swim in the deep end, we would go to the floating raft with a diving board on it which was a few yards away from the pier's edge- though it always seemed further as a child. No wonder I was so thin then- we would swim out the float, climb up and jump in, tread water until everyone was in, then all scramble up on the float gain- first one on got to jump first and wait for everyone else. It was grand. (The only time I was ever freaked out about swimming off the pier was after I saw a movie called Joni, where a teen girl was paralyzed for life after swimming off a pier from a diving accident. I still think about it even today when I dive.)

Years later after Grandma F had moved, I would still go there to swim. I would knock on the neighbor's door and ask permission to swim. They would still remember me and my grandma F and let me use their pier, of course. One gentleman, who has since passed away, was elderly and didn't get down to the water much, so he loved it when I would come around. He would get to come down to the water and sometimes he would just sit and keep me company and other times he would venture into the water. When he couldn't get into the deep end but wanted the water, we would place a lawn chair in the shallows for him to sit in. And during the last years when he couldn't make the walk down the terrace to the water, I would bring back a bit of the water in a cup so he could smell it and touch it- he always said he liked the way the water felt and missed that. I would go just about 4-5 times a week- I would run out after work and take a quick dip, or if Mac was with his dad, I would go swim about a 1/2 hour before darkness fell. I loved having it all to myself. I would swim laps and different stokes. I would jump off the diving board or just sit in the shallows, and listen to the whippoorwills, or float on my back and watch the sun set and the moon rise.

After the neighbor died and the woman who had bought my Grandma F's house had sold it to someone else, I stopped going. I didn't know many people around there anymore and I am not sure they would remember I was Grandma F's granddaughter. But on a warm summer day, I would be on that lake and swimming and relaxing if I could. I miss those days.

Fish outta water,


Curley said...

Wow! The pictures that makes in my head. Beautiful writing. Anytime you want to go up to my parents and swim or just look at the lake you are more than welcome.

Shirl said...

Hello I'm still making my Pink Saturday visits, thankyou so much for stopping by and leaving a sweet comment.
Love your pink post this week!
Blessings, Shirl
Shirls Rose Cottage