The Suitcase Lady


July 10, 2007, 10:34 pm

My parents were jocks. They were not into team sports, but they believed in individual fitness.

Muscle building and gymnastic feats were my father’s forte. He could do handsprings and twirl my mom around in the air. My mother was the high diving board champ.

Both of my parents were powerful swimmers. When we visited my aunt’s lake cottage, their idea of a good swim was across the lake.

My mother was also a Red Cross swimming instructor. She taught women who were afraid of water. Her success rate at teaching the terrified to swim was impressive.

And then I came along. What a disappointment my lack of athletic ability must have been to my parents!

My mother began my swimming lessons. The harder I tried to please her, the faster I sank. She had visions of my perfect Australian crawl stroke, but I more closely resembled a mixmaster gone berserk. This sorry state of affairs lasted about three years. Finally, one day, my mother gave up on me. “I’ll teach you the lazy man’s stroke,” she sadly said. There would be no gold swim medals for her daughter.

I’m happy to report that if I fell out of a boat today, I could save myself. The sidestroke may be for us unathletic types, but it certainly does the trick for survival and fun in the water.

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