Learning To Swim

A couple of months ago I wrote about the camper we used to take to a lakeside campground each summer. The first year we went I learned a very important lesson; how to swim.

To me it seemed like we had one of the best spots.

The lake had a huge dock that must have gone out at least 50 feet, if not more. Right by the dock was a playground — where I had my first experience seeing a kid get stuck between bars and have to get covered in butter to be removed.

Our camper was directly up the hill from these so it took us no time to get to them each morning. The only problem was, there was a very large tree between that blocked the view of the lake from the camper.

But nobody really thought of it as a bad thing until one day when my sisters and I were hanging out on the dock with some other kids.

We were sitting on the edge about halfway out with our feet in the water talking. My feet didn’t quite reach since I was only 6 so I had to stretch to get mine in.

The next thing I knew I was in the water. I had no idea how to get out and went into panic mode throwing my hands up everywhere.

My sisters and the other kids managed to pull me out. My mom and her boyfriend soon showed up. Apparently the people in the camper next to ours, who always seemed stuck up, had said to my mom, “You know your son fell in the lake, right?”

A week or so later we were at a pool party, because that’s where you bring your 6 year old after they fall in a lake not knowing how to swim. I just held on to the edge of the pool and slowly pulled my way around it. I heard people asking why I was just grabbing the edge and not swimming.

My dad found out about me falling in the lake and how I still hadn’t been taught to swim after having it happen. So the next time I went to his house he brought my sisters and me to a local park to go swimming.

The park had a creek that ran through it and it had a few swimming holes in different spots. The one we went to this time was always empty because it was the furthest from everything else.

My dad brought me into the water and held me while he told me how to move my arms and legs to float in one spot. After I started to figure it out he let go and let me practice floating. By the end of the day I had figured it out.

We went back to the park almost every weekend and would go swimming in the same swimming hole. There were some big rocks on the opposite side of the water from where we would walk in that my sisters always jumped off. I still remember when I finally got the courage to jump off of them too.

I think about 2 years after learning how to swim my dad bought a house with an in-ground swimming pool. I still remember when we first jumped into it.

 We had a blast every summer playing games in it and diving for things we had thrown in it. And there was probably only one time when we made the mistake of going from the pond straight to the pool.


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