Learning to swim must be very important. Learning to swim from Mrs. Rife must be extra special important.
My mother sent us all the way to her hometown for swimming lessons. My mother's childhood home, known affectionately by my god sister as "the armpit of the south", is thirty minutes from the border. It takes eight hours to get there. (5 if I am driving.)
You have to drive across King Ranch and you better have at least a half of tank of gas before you do.
So, I was under the impression that Mrs. Rife must be some kind of teacher.
We spent two weeks every summer with my granddad and grandmother. Part of our itinerary (the rest is for a later post) was an hour with Mrs. Rife.
Certainly you are patiently awaiting my opinion on this. By now you know I should enjoy the pool and swimming. You should also be aware that me and my mother's big ideas don't always mix well.
However, Big Idea #6 turned out pretty good.
Maria and I walked to Mrs. Rife's house every day. We spent an hour learning the various techniques for successful and safe swimming. I concentrated hard. This woman was teaching me something quite valuable. I definitely could see a future where I used what she taught. (Multiplication was another thing.)
I can still see her very short hair, her wrinkled face, and her bright red pants swimsuit. Yes, she wore pants when she was in the water. Maybe because she was modest. Maybe because she had a condition. I never could figure that one out.
She taught me well. Soon I was diving off boards and racing boys across the length of the pool without a lick of trouble.
After each lesson she put some kind of medicine in our ears. To keep us from getting a swimmer in our ear. (Like that could happen.) But I didn't argue.
The last day of lessons was the neatest. We had to jump in with all our clothes on, take off our shoes and pants while in the water, then swim to the side. Pretty cool....
My mom's big ideas were starting to gain some ground. Maybe I didn't have to hide anymore whenever she called a family meeting.