I grew up with ditches. Louisiana rain meant there was a need for those deep ditches to keep the waters at bay until the ground could slurp it all up.
There was no going to the lake and learning how to swim, I learned how to swim in the town's swimming pool with eighty thousand other kids. Where the bottom was clearly visible and no sharks in site.
Dating my husband way back when, it was the first time I had ever been to the lake. Back then, we would visit his grandparent’s lake house... a tiny little stone home a rock’s throw from the lake. It was rustic and fantastic.
It was my first experience swimming with things in the water... besides people that is. I had thick ole southern girl feet, because we didn’t need shoes during outside in the garden or in the scrubby grass of our backyard.
I wasn’t scared of walking across the shells and sharp rocks of the lakes’ shore... but I wasn’t prepared for the flitter of little fishes against my skin.
I climbed that boy like tree. From my perch safely atop his shoulders and head, every so ungracefully, I realized that I wasn’t quite prepared for lake life. Turns out, people shared the waters with the very things they caught from there? I’m a fairly intelligent person and that fact never occurred to me.
It took weeks to work through my fear to get back into the water... finally though I was able to wade out up to my knees and enjoy the splash of the water.
I could easily fish from the banks so it wasn’t that big of a deal. Before summer’s end, he had talked me into going out on the water in a boat.
Now my safety net here was that when everyone else wanted to jump in and swim with the critters, I would simply sunbathe, safely on the boat. Out of critter range. Completely reasonable and I didn’t look scared in from of my guy.
We packed up a cooler of yummies, we greased up to get the best tan and we headed out with the family to do some boating. I’m not sure if our goal was to ski or tube... because we never got that far. I’m sure whatever it was, it was going to be amazingly fun.
My first time on a boat with a motor was an eye opener. It went so fast and the whipping wind was just addictive. Holding my guy’s hand, I was just having the best time.
In our haste to reach the good times, we may have weaved into a “no wake” cove without preparing and slowing down. Our driver reacted with a swiftness... slapping the boat into a gear waaaaay lower than what we had been at. The world went into one of those weird, slo-mo kinda things. Where you feel like you are watching from a distance... in slight horror.
Now a little science to go with it... if the boat is going 34 mph and suddenly drops power... but someone asks his girl to grab him a soda out of the cooler... and she stands up just at the same time that the “oh crap” happened... how fast would the girl standing up be going when she slammed into the side of the boat?
The answer is... who knows. Because she blacked out cold and woke up to the most gorgeous boy in the world staring into her eyes... I’m not sure what he was saying but yes... I’d follow you anywhere, I mean yes those are three fingers. Lord have mercy you are so cute, are you busy later? Can we have dinner? Marry me.
We headed back to the safety of our little cabin to hang out the rest of the day.
I continued to struggle with the idea that fishes are gonna feast on my feet. But I got over that real quick later on when I realized that my toddlers had no such fear and would attempt to eat any fish or thingy they found in the water. Their fearlessness helped me find mine.
Kalynn Brazeal is a conservative, Christian wife/mom/country girl carrying around an MBA, several decades of business experience and a strong opinion. Dividing her time between Grand Lake and North Dakota, she continues to share her column on life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and cake. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.