I am three or four years old, max and we rented a small cabin on a lake. I think we are in Missouri but I can’t be sure. We never traveled much after my early childhood years, especially after my baby brother was born. That’s probably another reason why I can remember it. It was sunny. The kind of summer time-stick-to-your skin hot. The humidity clung onto my skin and made my red hair frizz out more than normal. I had on my little blue canvas sneakers and my white and red floral applique bathing suit. I loved that thing. I also wore what would be the near death of me, a plastic inner tube around my waist. I felt like a big girl.
Our cabin sat right on a little wooden dock. I was so proud to be able to walk right up to the lake and jump in all by myself.
I don’t remember if my parents were in the water or if the front door to the cabin was open where they kept an ear from inside. Maybe I simply walked out on my own but that part is hard to recall. I was in my little baby inner tube, kicking and floating about happily. The cool water felt good and I was having a ball. All was well, or so I thought.
I don’t know how it happened but it happened. All of sudden water rushed deep into my nose and throat. My little legs now upright, sticking out in the air were thrashing about. I tried calling for help but that made it worse. I couldn’t breathe and I couldn’t turn right side up. I’m completely upside down stuck and drowning in that damn inner tube. I tried paddling and pushing the water away with my tiny hands in hopes to get back up for much needed air. No use. The inner tube held me prisoner. Head under water and panic rushed in.
That’s when someone grabbed hold of my legs and pulled me right up. I couldn’t yet see, but I heard him. He was yelling and calling out for help. After the coughing and simultaneous crying stopped, he came into focus: Dad. My hero.
Dad pulled me out and saved me from the grips of that stupid F&^-ing inner tube.