Monday, July 24, 2017


(Some of this is from old posts, some of it is new.)

I was about 3 & my brother 5 when my grandfather took us to the park.  Grandpa was sitting on a bench, reading a newspaper, while my brother & I went to feed the ducks in the lake.  I leaned over a skosh too far & fell in.  My brother ran to get our grandfather & before they could get back, a stranger had pulled me out.  I developed a fear of the water & didn’t learn to swim until I was a teenager.

On one of our first trips to Hawaii, Bud & I went swimming with dolphins.  The Kahala Hilton Hotel had a large lagoon which was used as a “storehouse” for the local Sea World.  It was fun--more so for Bud than me.  Dolphins are much too fast to catch.  To interact with them, you had to float quietly until they came up to you.  I couldn’t just float; he could.  He was able to grab a dorsal fin & the dolphin took him for a ride!  I was so jealous that when we got home I took swimming lessons at the YMCA so I could have as much fun as him the next time.

For an even better dolphin experience with my son & daughter-in-law,

On one of our trips somewhere, we went out to the pool, ready to swim.  Bud & the kids decided it was too cold.  I told them they were all wimps & jumped in.  They were right!!  It was so cold that I felt like my stomach froze.  My other muscles weren't in such hot (pun intended) shape, either.  It was a good thing I was right near the edge because I don't think any of them would have jumped in to pull me out & save me from drowning.

We were on a family vacation in the Virgin Islands & everyone decided they wanted to go snorkeling.  I had never snorkeled before & I had never completely gotten over my fear of the water (see first paragraph).  I wasn't going to go in, but the (cute) skipper said he'd hold my hand. I finally agreed to try it & over the edge of the boat we went.  I was (almost) completely comfortable & insisted he let go of my hand.  It was absolutely beautiful; the fish were gorgeous!! I was so glad I changed my mind.  

After snorkeling we went to a place called Stingray Island.  It's not really an island, but an area in the ocean where stingrays congregate.  The stingrays are very tame because they are constantly being fed by humans & are quite accustomed to them.  They would even allow you to pick them up with both hands under their body.  Their skin feels like a wetsuit.  I have to admit it was a strange feeling when they swam between your legs.

Neither of my parents ever learned how to swim & had always avoided going to the beach.  My dad was a towhead & very fair skinned.  One of their best friends loved it so much she referred to it as "That place" because if she said "Hawaii" she got too nostalgic.  We had my folks join us on one trip to Hawaii.  While Bud stayed in Waikiki with the rest of the group who had previously toured all the islands, I took them on a private tour.  While on Maui, my mother & I went on an outrigger ride with 8 or 10 other people.  She enjoyed it so much that when we got back to the beach she went & got my dad & we immediately took another ride.  Later I found my dad standing in the lagoon in calm water up to his neck.  When I asked him why he was standing there like that he said, "Because I could never do it before!!"

On one of our trips to Europe we went to Austria.  While in Salzburg, we went to the Hellbrunn Palace nearby.  It was built in 1613–19 by Markus Sittikus Von Hohenems, Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg,  who apparently had a great sense of humor.

Hellbrunn Palace

There are many trick water fountains on the grounds & I'd like to tell you about one of them here:

The outside dinner table at Hellbrunn Palace was designed for very distinguished guests visiting the Archbishop at the palace during the Summer months. Markus Sittikus in all his glory and with his admirable sense of humor designed each chair at the table (except his own chair) with a trick fountain installed where your bottom sits. In those days, when you were in the company of someone as important as the Archbishop it was seen as very impolite to stand unless he was standing; when the Archbishop pulled the trick on his dinner guests, they were unable to stand up and move away from the water, in fear of being impolite. Instead, they received a very cold shower from the bottom up!!

Come on in; the water's fine!!----fishducky