I almost got my girl friends to skinny dip this weekend, but even a seasoned lake swimmer like me couldn’t swim in the muck at the end of the dock. On the way to the lake, I tried to convince these friends of mine that until they learned how to skinny dip the REAL way, they hadn’t really experienced lake life. I learned how to skinny dip when I was really young from my substitute grandma, Aunt Elna. There were rules. She didn’t subscribe to the swimsuit stripping, under the water kind of skinny dipping, no way. She was more about combining streaking and skinny dipping for the ultimate moonlight naked lake antics. Towels and suits were left in the cabin which made the long steep hill to the lake seem a mile long and made the first plunge into the midnight, mysterious water happen much faster than when the sun was shining and we were wearing swimsuits. The black water was a sanctuary from uncomfortable nudity and diving in probably the most fun, exhilarating thing I ever did as a kid. The memories of those mid summer Saturday nights are sacredly stored, ready to tempt the grown ups I travel to the lake with now.
My Aunt Elna wasn’t wild but she for sure operated differently than any other old person I knew. She didn’t have kids, she was an OB (long before women OBs were norm), she lived in a hotel and was a wicked golfer. She was thin and tall and lectured us on standing up straight and holding in our tummies and she knew good food. Black coffee with a dish of fresh raspberries, sugar and heavy whipping cream poured over them was her standard breakfast in Minnesota. During her Christmas visits she took us shopping for her fur coats, suits and panty hose and all the things that she couldn’t get in Miles City, Montana. But her summer visits were all about the water and living in your swimsuit all day and then stripping down at night to cool off, naked in the lake before bed. She lived, she got excited and she didn’t act like anyone I knew then and not like many people I know now. She totally understood play and funness.
I’ve been thinking a lot about those things lately. Sometimes I get all bungled up in my to do lists and being productive and the shit storm that is sometimes life occupies too many brain cells and play and funness sometimes get shoved to the side. But I found them again, recently. Found them on a field with some spectacular boys, running, kicking and smack talking, sweating. I found them staying up a little too late, maybe having one too many beers, solving the world’s problems on a back stoop and I found them with a group of girls who I almost got to skinny dip, the real way. And I think now that I have found them again, they won’t be so easy to lose. Now that I remember what they feel like and they are fresh in my head, and there is no way I am letting play and funness get away from me again.