As I was pulled across the lake on my belly, wearing a big white two by six inch vinyl covered rubber “ski belt” strapped around my waist, skis thrashing behind me, it dawned on me that I was not going to be able to stand up. The simple instructions of the boat driver on how to ski eluded me. Pull your knees close to your chest. Keep your feet shoulder width apart. Lean back a little. Arms straight. Skis about a foot out of the water. Then as the slack is taken out of the rope and the boat starts to pull you – just stand up. After numerous attempts of “just standing up,” I decided quitting was in my best interest.

I did learn how to water ski. For starters, the next time I wore a “ski vest.” I did not resemble a red and white bobber struggling to stay upright. There was an experienced ski instructor in the boat as well as an experienced boat driver. It was choppy that afternoon on Cross Lake. Falling time and time again was exhausting. I didn’t find out until some years later that the boat driver was concerned that, if I didn’t get up that afternoon, I might decide water skiing was not for me. I remember he told me to let the boat pull me up. I don’t know the speed the boat attained on that last attempt, but it was not the “hit it” speed experienced skiers are accustomed to. I did stand up and skied for a minute or two. I shook like Grandma’s old wringer washer and was hunched over like I was in a tug-o-war with the boat. It wasn’t pretty, but by anyone’s definition it was “water skiing.”

I skied into a boat dock on Fowl River in Mobile County, Alabama, during my college days. I won the unofficial “who can ski closest to the dock” contest, but that’s another story.