Sunday, July 24, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Water

Week 29: Water. Do you have any memories of the sea or another body of water? Did you live there or just visit? What did you do there? You can also describe a body of water by which you live or visit in the present day.

Water and I have a mixed history.

Living in Minnesota, you're never far from water of some sort.  Summer weekends are frequently spent going to the lake, whether to a cabin, or just to a beach for swimming.  My family never owned lakefront property, but we did go fairly often to swim at any of several nearby lakes.  Of course, being Minnesota, the water is pretty cold until high summer.  I'm not one of those crazies who do the polar bear thing, cutting holes in the ice for a quick icy dip in the winter!

When I was young, my mother took me to swimming lessons like many kids.  I had a traumatic experience once during a lesson.  I got away from the side of the pool, in water that was a little over my head, and I was not yet able to swim.  I panicked.  It put me off swimming for a long time, and I never became a strong swimmer.  Now, I'll go to the lake occasionally, maybe a couple or three times in a summer, or I'll swim in a pool if I travel and stay in a hotel that has one, but I don't go out of my way to find a swimming hole.  I'll boat, or go fishing on occasion, but I'm not big into either of those activities, either. 

When I was older, I enlisted in the Navy.  We're talking a whole new level of involvement with water, here.  Everyone in the Navy must be able to pass a swim test.  Fortunately, I was able to pass the minimums sufficiently that I did not need remedial swim lessons.  I got assigned to a fighter squadron, which deployed on an aircraft carrier.  I went to sea numerous times.  My Sea Duty counter ended up at over 11 months during the 3.5 years I was assigned to sea duty in that squadron.  The longest deployment was when I made a Mediterranean Cruise, a 6-month plus deployment.  I passed over a lot of water on that ship. 

While I was enlisted, I lived a couple of miles from the Atlantic Ocean shore at Virginia Beach, VA.  As a pointer to my previous indifference to water, I may have gone to the beach a dozen times in the almost six years I lived there.  I found that I liked body surfing in the small waves there, but the abrasions from running into the beach sand were annoying.  I don't care for the way salt water gets everywhere, making everything taste salty.  And there were a lot of small jellyfish in that area.  Not enough to really hurt, just really itchy-annoying.

Water in Minnesota lakes is usually clear to a muddy green/brown.  Our lakes are known for being a bit murky.  It's hard to find that murky water beautiful.  Water close to shore even on the oceans is usually more of a greenish or brownish color due to all of the junk we dispose of, and algae and other sea life.  When you get really out to sea, however, the water is the most beautiful blue color that is most of what you see in pictures of Earth from space. 

This and all other articles on this blog are © copyright 2011 by Daniel G. Dillman