I have always loved water. With anticipation, I would herald the beginning of summer with shouts of joy and jubilation! Daily we would play in the sprinkler as it swayed back and forth shooting out the coldest well water. For hours we watered the grass and squealed each time the spray hit our bodies. Now kids go to parks specifically designed for this delight.
When I was in third grade, our country school in Jackson Township offered to provide bus service to the Valparaiso YMCA. We learned all the basics of swimming and had a good time too. A few years later, my dad installed an in-ground pool and our home quickly became the neighborhood favorite spot. Friends from Gary would send their kids to spend weeks at the Carr house, so they could enjoy the country air, swimming by day and catching lightning bugs by night. The lazy days of summer would disappear once you jumped in the pool!
When my husband Joe and I began to travel with our kids, we would camp at state parks throughout Indiana and if our budget permitted, we would stay in the inns. Most of these parks have lakes and pools. My boys never took to lake swimming, but they loved fishing and canoeing. When Seth was about 10, he stayed in the canoe for an entire 8 hours just paddling himself in a circle.
I enjoyed canoeing when we were with the boys, but once it was just Joe and me, it became an opportunity for us to pick at each other. “Put your paddle on the other sides! Look out for that rock! Sit still you will spill us!” One canoe trip Joe became especially annoyed with me when I refused to lift my paddle and I morphed into an Indian Princess who sat cross-legged enjoying the ride while her devoted Brave paddled her to shore. HA! Now you know why this was our last trip!
Far past sprinklers, pools, and lake romping, I longed for the water. So in 2010, Joe and I went to an outdoor show and I bought my kayak. She is made of kevlar and at 12 feet, she weighs a mere 22 pounds. I look forward to our paddling time with the same level of anticipation that I did when my mom was reeling out the hose. I sport a t-shirt that says: “70% of the earth’s surface is covered by water. You just need to pick a boat!” I took that challenge and keep making my way through new lakes and rivers each year.
Except for this year. It is almost the fifteenth of July and I have yet to get in the water ironically, because of all the water we have been receiving from the sky! The days that I have been ready to hit the water, we get more from the sky.
At the end of June, CBS reported that Lake Michigan had risen 6 inches in one month; that equals 2.3 trillion gallons of water! May went on record as the wettest month ever and we have experienced 78 days of measurable precipitation in 2019.
Since I can’t seem to get my boat on the water, I have an idea. The next sunny, 80-degree day we have, lets pile in the bus and go to the pad at Central Park in downtown Valpo and make a splash of our own. Who’s ready to join me?