Turning Back the Clock, One Puddle at a Time


Turning Back the Clock

One puddle at a time

I was born with two left feet, a qualified klutz for sure. You know those exercise videos with music that make it look like you’ve got rhythm? Well, let’s just say there’s a reason I do them behind closed doors. The closest I come to physical coordination is puddle jumping. I love to teach kids how to do it so the water splashes on someone else.

While thumbing through some notes I made in preparation of my next novel, I came across a story I jotted down this summer after a weekend trip to my daughter’s lake house. I found myself laughing so hard I had to run to the bathroom. Maybe you could use a chuckle today, too, totally at my expense, of course.

A dear friend sent me a book, Younger Next Year by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge, M.D. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/96597.Younger_Next_Year_for_Women I became engrossed in the claims made by the two male authors. They encouraged, actually, insisted, there is an athlete in each of us and we better find it if we hope to be mobile as we age. Heck, I’m already aged, and more than a little overweight, but somehow their words made it worth a shot.

While at the lake, I relaxed on their redwood deck that sits high above the end of a peaceful cove. With my book in one hand, a glass of pinot noir in the other, and a box of cheesy snacks within an arm’s reach between me and my daughter, I turned the page. Harry’s Rules, the ones I just finished reading, smacked me upside the head. The irony of reading this particular book, while stuffing my face with Cheez-Its, and following each swallow with sips of chilled wine, made me cringe.

Was I just going to read about getting fit or put it in action? I closed the book, stood and brushed the crumbs from my jeans. “Let’s go take the neighbor’s paddle boat out.”

My daughter looked at me with raised brows, but to my surprise, she jumped up and headed up the stairs to the cabin. “Aren’t you going to change into your swim suit?”

The last thing I wanted to do was expose more of my rolls of fat and cellulite. “Naw. We’re not going in the water, just in the boat.”

I’m sure you know what happens next, but I did promise to entertain you, so I’ll continue.

With towels and sunscreen in hand, my daughter returned and we walked down the thirty-something steps to her neighbor’s dock. We hoisted the paddleboat over the side of the dock and my daughter held onto one of the ropes The other was tethered to the dock.

“Go ahead and get in.”

Leading with my right foot, I tried to step into the swaying object without success. Then I tried my left foot. Somehow, I managed to plop down on the hard plastic bump between the two seats, but at least I was in it and not the lake.

With the ease of an experienced sailor, my daughter climbed in, released both ropes, and we were off. We peddled together for a while until my legs tired, a good twenty foot, for sure. Taking turns pumping our legs, we rode out to the end of the cove and back. The hot July sun burned overhead, almost as much as the calves of my legs, but it was a pleasant experience and reminded me of the many options available to exercise our bodies into shape.

We made our way back to the side of the neighbor’s dock and my daughter jumped out, pulling the front rope tight so I could climb out. I stood and wobbled, trying to find my balance on the waves, then put a foot on the platform. The back of the boat swung away from the dock stretching my legs apart. Too late to do anything else, I simply sat down in the water.

Of course, I’m not what you’d call a swimmer, so I treaded water, trying to figure out how I was going to get to shore or back on the deck.

“Stand up.” My daughter shouted between belly laughs. “Stand up.”

Fortunately, the water was only waist high. Laughter echoed from the top of the hill where my husband stood watching as I hoisted myself up on the end of the dock. My daughter’s fiancée, too polite to laugh out loud, fiddled with his cell phone to avoid eye contact, but asked if I needed help.

“I’m good, thanks.”  I laughed as hard as the others. “Did you get all that on video?”

It was fortunate that I had left my phone on the deck and didn’t try to avoid the inevitable dunk, possibly breaking a leg or arm. By the time I climbed the thirty-something steps back to the cabin, my jeans laden with lake water, I felt I’d gotten a good start on my new exercise program, although I anticipated in the future it would be on dry land.

It’s been six months since my husband and I started getting serious about exercise. We average twenty-five to thirty miles a week and I’m thirty pounds lighter. I doubt I’ll ever succeed at the exercise videos, although I still try occasionally, and I haven’t been kayaking or water skiing, but I still love puddle jumping. I feel younger than I did last year, so that’s a plus.