She surprised me, alone on her bike by the Amery Beach. Told me she felt like a swim but the water safety class had the beach that July day.
“Margie. Strange to see you here.”
She smiled and said little except to ask if I wanted to ride bike together. She straightened my collar. I pretended to punch her in the stomach.
“Think you can keep up with me,” followed by her famous chuckle.
We rode to the culvert area where North Twin runs into South Twin. Usually there’s a lot of fishing going on at this spot but not today.
We sat down facing South Twin, and at the same time asked each other how summer was going.
For me it was going great with lots of reading and an upcoming family trip to the Wisconsin Dells.
For her, a family reunion, plenty of reading, and sleeping in.
Throwing rocks, skipping rocks, a few words.
“Mrs. Wilson was nice, wasn’t she.” We just finished 3rd grade.
Me, I never thought about teachers and nice. Just grumpy ones and regular ones, but I told her she was fine.
Both back on our bikes, I asked her if she knew about the church tent by the football field.
“Yeah, I came by it to get to the beach.”
The tent site was deserted. We rode up to it quietly before dropping our bikes on the grass. Still no signs of life.
The sign advertised the “Amery Revival” Three nights, and the question: “Have you accepted Christ as your personal savior?”
Nothing but chairs under the middle section, and a platform on the north end.
“What’s that tank for? Dunk tank?”
We laughed. Too small for a dunk tank.
We both saw the name BAPTISM on it at the same time. Catholic Margie and Lutheran Loren: clueless about tanks like this.
We stared at each other, gazing around for adults. Then we looked down at our clothes and decided quickly that they were swim-worthy.
She walked up the steps at one end, and I came up the other. Touching our toes in the water, we felt it pleasantly warm. Laughing, we couldn’t believe we’d soon be swimming.
She jumped in, I eased in, and I laughed so hard I couldn’t catch my breath. She dunked her head, I dunked mine. I dunked her underwater and she did that to me.
“Can you believe this,” we both said.
Under water again, we held hands briefly, then pushed each other away. Underwater, held my breath, then came up gasping, and chuckling.
It was great, and I’m thinking it was mostly because of the water.
“We better get going.” All this time we watched for the “owners”.
We grabbed towels from the stack in back of the platform, just perfect. Walking out to our bikes, wiping our faces, wiping our clothes, our hair. We still laughed until our guts hurt.
Margie moved toward me, looked at each other, and half hugged for a few seconds.
“Let’s do this again sometime.”
What’s that tickling feeling in my stomach?