Just one more time

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, July 9, 2014

It started out just as any other July 4th holiday at Compass Lake.  My children and grandchildren, along with my mother, made it another four generation vacation at the lake, which is always special.

Henry, now six years old, has made the transformation from a tentative swimmer wearing a life jacket in the deep water to a literal fish.  He loves diving down to retrieve things thrown off the dock, no easy feat since the water is about 13 feet at that point.

Laura, following in her cousin’s footstep at every turn, is now five.   While still wearing a life vest when the water is over her head, she will soon be as comfortable in the water as she is on land.

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At some point, Henry decided he wanted to jump off the upper deck of the dock.  That platform is some 14-15 feet above the water, but believe me it seems much higher when you are contemplating a jump.  I have seen many adults back down the ladder, so I wasn’t expecting too much of Henry at this point.

With his Dad up there with him, and me waiting below in the water, someone counted to three and he jumped.  No hesitation.  No fear.   He came up from the water with a huge grin on his face, almost as big as mine.

Of course, Laura, then decided she needed to jump off the high dive like her cousin Henry.  With her Dad accompanying her up the ladder, no one really thought she would do it, but she proved us wrong.  Without hesitation, she sailed off the platform and into the water.   A bit of fear was on her face as she swam over to me and said, “Granddaddy, I don’t think I am going to do that again”.

Less than a minute later, she was on the high dive again, ready for her second jump.

Later that day, Laura and Henry decided to tube for the first time without an adult.  Going over all the hand signals first, I pulled them around the lake.  Later, they both decided they wanted to tube alone.  With these two kids never seeming to get tired, I realized that my cost of a family vacation at the lake had just increased by about $100 a day in fuel costs.

Henry then surprised us all by getting up on two skis in his first attempt.  He can’t go very far yet, but it will click soon.   Not to be outdone, both of my daughters decided to ski for the first time in years.

My third grandchild, Will, is just eleven months old, but already loves the water.   Looking at him, I realized that in just two blinks of an eye, he will be jumping off the high dive and asking to be pulled behind the boat just one more time.

The more life changes, the more it stays the same.  I learned to ski behind a 35hp outboard on homemade skis.   Henry and Laura tube behind a 300hp inboard/outboard that sucks fuel like a rocket engine.  Yet the thrill is the same.

My grandfather and father pulled their grandchildren behind a boat enough miles to cross the Atlantic.  God willing, I hope to do the exact same thing.