No Wonder!

 In the story, He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother, I write about a time when I was able to do something beyond my natural strength and ability when my brother was hurt; it took place while we were waterskiing. This is another story about skiing, but in this one, instead of being able to pull my brother into the boat with super-human strength, I am unable to get myself out of the water.

We were on vacation—a fabulous vacation, by the way—and were making a tour of the national parks and other points of interest throughout the western United States. Our first stop was Yellowstone, where the story Tanya and the Bear took place. One of our other stops was in New Mexico, where we had arranged to meet my brother, Ken, and some of my cousins, for a weekend of camping and waterskiing.

We had a blast, but I had a bit of a problem in the skiing department—I was unable to “get up”, which is the term for when you come up out of the water and begin to ski. I had been a skier all my life, and though I was certainly no expert, I was a pretty good skier. But though we tried and tried, I was not able to get up. Finally, Ken swung around for another try and when he did, he tossed me the second ski—I’d been trying to get up on one, which I’d always been able to do—and told me to get up on two skis then kick one off. Getting up on two skis is much easier, and though I didn’t like the idea of having to stoop to such an amateurish tactic, I reluctantly agreed. I popped up on the first try with two skis on, kicked one off, and went for a short run. It was short, because after having spent so much energy trying to get up on one ski—not to mention I was really out of shape—I was quickly exhausted.

I’d like to explain that the reason I was so out of shape and easily exhausted was because this was not long after my battle with a huge tree, and the resultant broken leg (You can read about the details of that in my story, The Old Man And The Tree.) Actually, it had been about three years since the accident, but I’d spent more than two  of those three years in a cast. Not to mention that, during that time, I had endured several operations on the leg. I had only recently begun to feel like my leg was normal again.

All in all, the vacation was a rousing success, and the camping and skiing with Ken and the others was definitely a highlight of the trip. We’d been home a week or so, and were showing some friends pictures of our trip. When we came to the one of the group that was with us in New Mexico at the lake, Kathy asked me to name all my relatives in the picture. I obliged, and went down the row of people lined up on the beach for the shot, naming each one and how they were related to me. I came to one in the middle of the group that stumped me—a big guy, with a round face, wearing a ball cap, and a swimsuit that appeared to be about two sized too, small for him—and I said, “I don’t know who the fat guy is.” When I said that, Kathy elbowed me in the ribs, and I gave her a what-the-heck-did-you-do-that-for-look. I think she realized I truly didn’t know who the guy was, so she just smiled and told me to continue naming the rest of the people in the picture.

A few minutes later, when we were alone in the kitchen, I asked her why she’d elbowed me. She was trying not to smile, but not having a lot of success, as she got right in front of me, and whispered, “That fat guy in the picture…” She searched my eyes for any hint I might know who he was then finished, “Is you.”

I jerked my head back and stared at her with a look that said, “Quite frankly, my dear, you’ve lost your mind.” Then, I rushed into the living room, snatched the packet of photos from the coffee table and retreated back to the kitchen. I fumbled through the pictures and when I found the group photo at the lake, my eyes went straight to the fat guy in the middle.

I didn’t say it out loud, but in my mind, I screamed, OH-MY-GAWD!

Needless to say, a diet and vigorous exercise routine was immediately instituted.

(No wonder Ken couldn’t get me up on one ski!)

2 Comments »

  1. Sherry Mashburn said

    Don’t you hate it when you see a picture and can’t figure out who that 1) fat; 2) old; 3) wrinkled); 4) grey-headed; 5) bald-headed (pick one or more!) stranger is?!?!?

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