Zip Lining: The Prequel

Growing up, I was not necessarily an “outdoorsy” type.

Sure, my siblings and I swam at the public pool for a good 8 hours a day each summer while my mom nursed her hangover.  Lest I sound bitter, I’m not:  We had so much fun at that pool, and I became a great swimmer. 

Sometimes I visit my sisters, who still live in our hometown, and we take all of our kids back to that same pool to swim.  The kids marvel at the fact that it used to be a simple concrete rectangle as opposed to what it is now: a waterpark complete with four water slides, a climbing wall, and a ninja warrior course.

“You had…fun…in just a big square full of water?” my boys will ask me.

“Yep,” I’ll respond, nodding my head definitively.  “It only cost a dollar to get in, and guess how much money Grandma would send us with for snacks? Fifty cents.  FOR THE WHOLE DAY.”

They’ll gasp and ask what fifty cents could possibly have bought back then, and it’s usually at this point in the story that I’ll realize that I am an 85-year-old woman with blue hair residing in an assisted living facility.

There was one time that my older sister Vickie and my cousin Brian stole my 50 cents, and 11-year-old me swam from noon until 8 PM without a morsel of food in my belly. I almost passed out—at one point I lay on the blazing hot concrete, squinting into the sun with a delirious smile on my face as I watched a swarm of beautiful angels hovering above, ready to collect me—and I’m still bitter about it, but I’ll save that story for another post.  I’ll just say this for now:  I hope God never forgives them.

So yeah, I grew up loving swimming, and I played outside until all hours of the night with my neighborhood friends like all kids did in the 70’s and 80’s. But beyond that?

Nah. I’d have rather been inside in the air condition, reading a book.

My younger son is a lot like me.  Once it was a perfect 75 degree spring day with a nice light breeze—one of those days you walk out into and immediately thank God for all of the good things in life—and I was driving my boys home from school.  When we got to our street and saw some of the neighbor kids playing basketball in their driveway, my older son said, “Mom!  Let me out here.”  As my older son climbed out of the car, my younger son pushed the button to lower his car door window and address the neighbor kids somewhat imperiously.

“I would come play with you guys too,” he explained, “but it’s too sunny out there.”  He shuddered and then pushed the button again so the window would go back up, leaving the neighbor boys staring into the car, their eyebrows drawn together in confusion.

“You can drive now, Mom,” my younger son said.

The funny thing is, he loves to swim, too.  We’re at the pool every summer day for about 3 hours; I call him my swimming buddy.  The best part is I now have my own money for all the snacks I want so take that, VICKIE.

The worst part is I’m 44 and have been watching what I eat since I was like 20, so I never buy any snacks for myself.

How’s that for a Catch-22?  It’s like the guy who sold his watch to buy combs for the lady who sold her hair to buy a chain for his watch…or whatever.  If only I had watched that movie before that day at the pool when my sister stole my snack money. I could have run to the barber shop and gotten my hair cut off for 50 cents to buy some Reese’s cups.

Ah, well. Live and learn.

It seems I’ve gotten off track. This post was supposed to be about zip lining.

What, you couldn’t tell?

I’ll pick the story line back up another day.  In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this picture of my brother-in-law and me swimming a couple of weekends ago. I love that it kind of goes along with the unintended theme of this post because really, it’s also a great excuse to show off one of my new favorite swimsuits.  $22 at Wal-Mart, baby!!!!!

I hope you guys are enjoying summer as much as my family and I are.


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