Monday, May 28, 2012

My Unconditional Friend

I remember one summer, it was blazing hot on our annual family vacation to Minnesota. It was one of those heat waves that literally took the region by surprise. My dad and I packed up the car for a day trip to the secret lake. This lake was not a lake to be swum in. It was a lake that was overpopulated with Northern Pike and Blue Gill. We had to hike a half mile in to the lake with our shirts tucked into our pants, pants tucked into our socks, hats on our head so as not to get ticks in our belly buttons; all while talking as loudly as possible so as not to scare the bears.

This may have been the same trip in which I was reeling in the biggest northern pike EVER when something else hit my line. I was fighting the 'fish' with my pole, the boat was about to tip over from the strength of this fish, my dad and I were getting excited about the prospect of a 50 lb fish at the end of my line. Just as the boat was about to tip, the northern surfaces, attached to the fish was a huge turtle. My dad and I debated bringing the turtle home for some stew, but we didn't want to hike out with the turtle; so we cut the line and let the turtle have a nice snack, otherwise known as my big fat northern. Ever hear the phrase 'early to bed, early to rise, fish all day and make up lies?' This story is not a fisherman tale, but a true story of father and daughter having fun in the wilderness!

And I digress, so on this trip we had to carry copious amounts of water, but also left some in the car for our drive back to Willow Lake. After the adventures of the day, my dad and I hiked back to the car and climbed in. I was parched, he was parched and so we grabbed the water we left in the car. The car was well over 100 degrees inside but my dad opened up that bottle and took a big swig of the water before handing the bottle to me. I looked at him sideways, as I was holding the coffee hot water, and my dad said with a smile, water is refreshing no matter the temperature. I thought he was crazy and drank some anyway.

So, this past weekend, it was unseasonably hot in Ohio. I spent my weekend in the country, listening to good music and hanging out with some friends. It was one of those weekends where sitting still in the shade made you sweat and sweating we did. Because I am a glutton for punishment, I woke up on Saturday morning, put on my running clothes and went out for my 30 minute run. Damn, it was hot. I was sweating before I began, simply from wrestling on my sports bra, in the crazy humidity.

Trying to make Smores in the sun, on my car. It was THAT hot!
I got back to camp and swiftly drank a ton of water and ate some breakfast, and then one of the moments of brilliance set in, thanks to one of my camping buddies. The road side pond was 20 yards from our camp site. You know the road side ponds I am talking about. It is the one where the fertilizer run off goes to sit, where bacteria grows, where the reeds are so thick they wrap around your legs, you don't want to put your head underwater because you don't want to have some parasite crawl into your brain. What did we do? We jumped in with little abandon. OK, so maybe there was a moment of hesitation when someone told me a mole had just swum by, but I honestly didn't care, I was that damn hot.

The refreshing nature of that pond made me think of that grimy lake in Minnesota, where I almost caught my first 300 lb turtle and my dad's reaction to the hot water. It also made me think about friends. I have a handful of friends who are always there. No matter what the situation, they allow me to cry on their shoulders, talk their ears off, embarrass myself, say things to them that could be uncomfortable and at the end of the day, the time with them is refreshing REGARDLESS of the situation. Those handful of friend are what I call my unconditional friends. I know everyone knows what unconditional love is, these unconditional friendships are the same. Regardless of the moments of irritation with these friends (we all have it from time to time) it still feels good to be around them.

So what does this all have to do with athleticism? Not a damn thing really but here is the learning moment for me...

Not only did I swim in the dirty lake, I also drank nasty cooler water, hot water, cold Gatorade, very cold beer and more water in whatever form just to keep hydrated. The thing that worked the best and was always refreshing? Water. After 20 years or so, I now understand what my dad was talking about. I will take it one step farther and acknowledge that water will forever be my unconditional friend, perfectly refreshing regardless of its form.

Now cross your fingers that I stay healthy after my unhygienic use of my friend...

Swimming with Timchips in the NASTY pond!!!


  1. You are too funny! It has been hot this weekend so tough to keep anything cold! Glad you had fun this weekend!

  2. Hahaha! Quite a scorcher this weekend! Glad you had a good time with your friend!

  3. oh boy, better check the nether parts for leeches and rinse your mouth with peroxide. you big hippie!!

  4. Let me know if you or Timchips start turning blue!

  5. Very fond memories....Skelly Lake, Northern Pike, Big Turtles, Bears on the loose. This blog touched at my heart strings. On a serious note...water is a life saving natural resource that we cannot live without. On this matter, we should be thinking globally. So glad that you had such a fun weekend!