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Decades have passed since I last water-skied.  It’s been even longer since I attended camp.  I wasn’t even a good camper.  I railed when challenged, seeking mostly the joy and laughter of my peers.  Still, the experience resonated.  So even now, though I’m physically and mentally far from camp, it’s never really far from me.  While visiting a wharf shop in Leland, MI last month, a Cypress Garden slalom ski, propped benignly near some Sperry topsiders, immediately sent me back to Memory Lake;

“I love it when everyone in the boat is staring at you, waiting for those two little words.  You’re all tucked into a ball.”  I pantomimed

I learned to ski on one of these!

floating in the water with ski tips in front. “You grip the spongy bar.  The nylon rope floats in a tangle between your legs. And, you can’t say it, not until everything feels just right. The moment builds; the boat stretches the rope taut, your arms lock.  Water flows between your legs and the skis begin to resist. And then you say, “Hit it!” I shouted dramatically.  “Was there ever a more powerful set of words?” I called out to the lake, imagining the boat lifting me up and away.  “I always panic, afraid I’ll fall. Who knew the secret is to hold still and let the boat pull you up?  It amazes me every time.  I gaze at the lake and realize I’m standing on it!  I look at the sky and think of Papa, my grandfather.  He made me keep trying.”  (p.48, “Memory Lake: The Forever Friendships of Summer”)