Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Skiing at the lake

The lake water was cold and dark. The bottom was slimy. I could see shiny green algae all over the side of the raft in the water. The smell of gasoline was floating through the air.

This was my fifth or sixth summer to try to get up on skis. I'd been trying every summer for as long as I could remember.

This year would be different. I was another year older. I was stronger. I was going to do it this year.

The life jacket was tight and resting under my chin. I kept pulling it down but it kept floating back up.

I was holding on to the rope trying to relax.

I finally heard the charge of the engine. This was it. I adjusted the life jacket one last time.

They gave me the thumbs up. So I gave them the thumbs up. And in one split second the boat lunged forward. It happened so fast. I wasn't ready. I only had one hand on the rope. The force yanked me out of the water leaning forward. I tried to straighten up but I couldn't hold on. I let go and fell flat on my face in the middle of the lake.

I did it again. I fell. And I sucked down half of the slimy green lake, too.

I floated in the water, skis bouncing around in the ripples, trying to keep my balance until the boat returned.

"Grab the rope, let's try again!" they all shouted.

"OK!" I said, half smiling. I just needed to get up so I could say I did it.

Please, please, please help me get up. Please........

"Keep your legs straight!" my uncle Bob shouted.

"Don't stick out your butt!!!" the kids yelled laughing.

I grabbed the rope and tried to get it lined up between my skis. Everybody was watching. My body was starting to shake from the cold and my skis were crossing. I had both hands on the rope. I was ready. My uncle gave me a shout and a thumbs up.

"OK!" I said, and quickly signaled with a thumbs up.

The boat jolted forward, the rope popped out of the water as it tightened, and then ripped right out of my hands with me smacking the water face first behind it - again. I didn't even go two feet.

This is how it went every summer until we moved away when I was in 8th grade.

It wasn't until I was in college that I finally gave it a try again. I got up on the first try. I was so excited and shocked I froze and skied in the wake of the boat all the way around the lake until I was brave enough to slide to the side in smoother water.

My friends didn't understand why I was so excited.

They had no idea.

TRDC Prompt: This week, as the school year is wrapping up and we're on the cusp of summer, we've decided to go easy on you.

We want to know what, from your childhood, do you still know by heart?

Is it a story? A jump-roping song? The number of rungs on the ladder to your treehouse? How much money you had to save to buy something you really wanted?

500 word limit this week.


  1. I love how you described the feel of the lake as slimy and the smell as gasoline. Smell is such an important aspect of memory! Often, a story about water-skiing would tell us how glistening and perfect everything was, even though the reality is cold, slimy water hitting us in the face.
    Thanks for sharing this!

  2. I suck at water anything! I can't even stay on a tube! Glad to know I'm not the only one!

    Found you through TRDC

  3. oh Kris, I never did get up! SO I am so proud of you. I understand that feeling of "WOW I FINALLY DID IT!!"

    what an accomplishment!

    your descriptions were spot on, I could have been next to you in that lake!

  4. Thanks for the laugh!! Too funny. Don't know if I ever got up either - too young to remember. I watched Mike try to get up this past summer at Lake Mead and all I know is that not only did he NOT get up, but he could barely hold a beer for the next few days!! He blew his arms out!! LOL -Kathy

  5. WOOHOO! That must've felt SO good! Yay!

  6. I finally stopped laughing long enough to respond..........you tried.........but Dad was the funny too.........He wouldn't let go of the rope and we dragged him through the water with only his hands in view....we were all shouting "let go of the rope"...He told us he thought he had to hang on....his skis were far behind him...He was one big bruise the next day...BUT he tried and loves to tell the story about his "skiing experience".

  7. Oh I remember watching my brothers and their accidents (one time involved a lot of blood), I wouldn't even try. Good for you and your perseverance, glad it finally paid off.


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