The Day The Lake Swallowed My Sister


Since my sister commented on her lack of thankfulness regarding the odds of her becoming the subject of one of my blog posts, I felt obliged to move her to the head of the line.  She probably should have stayed quiet, because if there is one thing I have plenty of, it is funny-ass stories about my sister.  Most of them are equally embarrassing to me, so I chose to start with one with her in the starring role. 

My sister is a nurse by vocation (she is the best damn nurse I know) and spent the first decade of her career working night shift weekend option in the ICU.  This required her to work 7pm to 7am every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  She only got a couple of weekends off during the year.  It is entirely reasonable that she wanted to take full advantage of those rare weekends.  It also left her husband and kiddos (my nieces, Lilly and Olivia) alone to their own devices.  It sounds innocent enough, a man and his two very young girl bonding on the weekends, but then one must consider the boat.

With my sister at work on the weekends, it made it difficult for my brother-in-law to take two preschool girls out on the boat.  So, there were many weekends when my husband, our kids and I would accompany them for a day on the lake.  I soon learned that it is a lot of work to have two tots on a boat for an entire day and I quickly learned that I was not cutout to be a boat person.  While my husband and brother-in-law were busy floating in the lake partaking in adult beverages and fraternizing with the other boat people, here is what I was doing:  zipping life jackets, unzipping life jackets, putting the girls in the water, taking the girls out of the water, making peanut butter sandwiches, applying sunscreen, fishing things out of the water that had gone ‘overboard’, applying more sunscreen…let’s face it, boating is exhausting. 

The lone summer weekend my sister had off finally arrives and I was elated that I would not be the lone crew member attending to the little ones.  However, my sister is elated because she finally gets a weekend away from work and she is ready for some serious R & R. The visions of floating peacefully on the lake were quickly replaced by little life jackets, peanut butter sandwiches and applying sunscreen to fat little cheeks (my nieces’ cheeks, not mine). 

As the sun climbed higher and higher, my sister’s jug of apple martinis dwindled.  There were about seven boats tied together side-by-side and anchored in the lake.  Rubber bumpers  were placed over the sides of the boats to prevent them from smacking together leaving a narrow space of about 18 inches or so between the boats.  It is an easy hop from one boat to the next, if the boats weren’t rocking on the waves or if one is as agile as a cat.  My sister is not as agile as a cat.  I can only assume that apple martinis create a false sense of feline superpowers in my sister, because she truly believed that she was capable of making it over to the next boat.  She was wrong.

One second she is teetering on the side of the boat and the next thing I know she loses her footing trying to cross over and falls down between the boats and into the lake.  I am yelling her name over and over into the small gap that had claimed her.  The music is loud and everyone is floating around in the water and it seems that I am the only one who had even noticed my non-cat-like intoxicated sister  had toppled between the two vessels.  I had already decided that she had hit her head during the fall and was knocked out cold and was probably already moving toward the light, because I imagine even God understands the need to get rip-shitty when one works every weekend.  Just as I was preparing to launch operation ‘rescue drowning drunk sister’ she surfaces about 15 yards behind the boat laughing her fool head off.

I am relieved and furious at the same time and I yell to her, “Kim!  I can’t believe you are alive!!” 

She yells back, “I can’t believe I fit through that little crack

I learned a lot from my sister that day on the lake.  I now know that perspective must be much sweeter after a jug of apple martinis and a slight head injury.  She also has shown me that if you slather on enough suntan oil, it may be just the thing that gets you through some really tight spots! 

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