I was five when my father threw me out of our boat into Lake Mendocino.
It was time to learn how to water ski. Bobbing behind the boat with my lifejacket hovering over my head, my left arm got tangled in the tow-rope. I yelled “Hit it” hoping the rope would sort itself out. I remember thinking at the time that I didn’t try hard enough to get untangled. I gave up because I got tired and it was easier than trying to keep my head above the water. While being dragged underwater behind the boat occasionally coming up for air, I could hear my dad screaming my name “Karen! Karen! Karen!” He sounded like he was furious and I suddenly felt guilty, embarrassed and stupid that I gave up so easily.
My father and our sweet, black Labrador Retriever, Cinder, both jumped in the water and swam out to rescue me as the boat idled unattended.
After this, anytime I was in water Cinder swam out and circled me until I grabbed her tail to pull me to safety, even if I was only knee deep in a swimming pool. I did eventually learn how to water-ski and every time I jumped out of the boat, Cinder followed me in.
Men and dogs rescue. Girls give up. This lesson took about 15 years to unlearn. And become amusing. It was just my first near death by politeness.
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