What’s In Your Camera Roll?

Do you have a picture of a car in a lake on your camera roll? Well I do. Actually I have about a dozen different pictures of this car on my phone, second in popularity only to my grandchildren. Weird I know, but this car intrigues me. Each time I see the blue-green car drive down the boat ramp and splash into the waters I take note, usually with a pause and a quick picture. A smile quickly comes to my face and a whimsical and nostalgic feeling takes me away momentarily as it passes by my house. My children have certainly grown weary of my calls shouting “The amphicar is in the lake again. Quick look!” But I never tire of seeing the beautiful retro turquoise vehicle putter by the house.

According to that trusted source Wikipedia, these amphibious vehicles were first made in Germany and then appeared in the United States at the New York Auto Show in 1961 at a cost of around $3000. A popular model, the Amphicar 770 was named for the 7 mph speed on water and 70 mph speed on land. According to a few online articles, apparently I am not the only one amused by this vehicle. President Lyndon Johnson surprised guests at his Texas ranch by going for a ride in his amphicar and driving right into the lake without their knowledge of the car being amphibious. Even Pepsi wanted you to “Come Alive” and join in the Pepsi Generation by drinking their beverage while splashing into the water in an amphicar!

Given that there are only 600 amphicars in existence today, I feel rather lucky that I get to see one on a regular basis. That is probably why my camera roll is filling up with pictures of this oddity. Maybe someday I’ll get a picture taken while riding inside the beauty. One can only dream!

I am joining the Slice of Life Writing Community today over at Two Writing Teachers. Won’t you consider joining in?

Lakeside Lesson

Swim first, feed fish later. That’s the lakeside lesson I learned the hard way yesterday as I watched my two grandchildren.

It was a hot morning and I knew that swimming would be part of the plan for the morning, but being it was only 8am I thought we would begin the day with feeding the little fish that swim around our shore as I enjoyed my last sips of my morning coffee. I opened the bag of stale cereal and handed Maddie and Grant the small tidbits to throw out to the swimming fish that frequented our lake. Each time they threw a nibble into the water they would quickly giggle “He ate mine! He ate mine!” It was a delight to watch their joy in the simple morning activity.

As the sun rose brighter over the horizon, the heat and humidity spiked as well, and we knew it was time to get our suits on and jump in. We quickly changed out of our pjs and into our suits. We slathered on the sunscreen and I reminded them that I was alone today and we would only be able to swim near the edge. “No jumping off the dock today!” I shared with my daredevil four year old swimming granddaughter, Maddie. “Bebe needs to watch both of you so we need to stay close to the stairs.”

As we approached the steps into the lake the hesitation began. The oldest looked tentatively down at the stairs where a few minutes before we were engaged in a fishing feeding frenzy. Maddie spotted a fish about ten feet away from her toes and quickly bolted back to the grass. I walked into the lake and splashed around announcing that fish do not like splashes, and besides THEY are afraid of us. She stiffened her face, as well as her body, and looked skeptically around the waters to make sure the coast was clear. She moved slowly to the steps and peered in every direction before proceeding further into the waters. With each step she glanced to the left and right to guarantee that my words were true. When she spotted a fish she darted back towards the stairs and announced the need for me to make bigger splashes in an effort to eradicate the fish forever!

After much effort and splash, we finally made it into the water waist deep. We swam over to the little slide attached to our small peddle boat. Each time Maddie made it to the top of the slide, she quickly swept her eyes in every direction to ensure there were no swimming creatures within her field of vision. With each jump she feverishly paddled her long arms to reach the boat with purpose and quickly hopped on for fear of the sea creatures. Needless to say it was an exhausting swim with lots of splashes being made to ward of those little perch, that probably appeared as the biggest sea monsters ever to her. After about twenty minutes of this anxious fun, we called it quits. I found it quite exhausting to splash away the dangers that lurked in our waters after each jump. We walked out of the lake and toweled off, deciding it was not a good time to swim. I decided we needed a calm and peaceful activity so I pulled out the watercolors and we quietly painted in the shade of a nearby tree while the birds tweeted overhead.

While we all had an exciting and memorable morning, this grandmother learned a big lake life lesson yesterday for sure: swim first and fish later, if at all! I just hope the perch survive without their morning cereal.

It’s Tuesday, and I am joining my fellow teacher writing friends over at Two Writing Teachers with a slice of life story. Take a peek and consider joining in!

Crow-incidence

I awoke with a hope of getting one big task completed today, to unpack the hundreds of books I had brought home from school. I had set aside the whole day to accomplish this undertaking and was looking forward to adding the collections to my new bookcase. But if you are like me, arranging picture books isn’t about opening a box and simply placing the texts on a shelf, one could easily get caught up in opening each and every cover and falling in love with a new book. So I had promised myself to stay focused on the task and NOT read ALL the pages.

Until…

I came upon a book called Bird Talk, overheard by Ann Jonas. The story is told using “memory phrases” or bird calls known to every bird watcher. As I was flipping through the pages I came across a spread with crows cahing, or shouting “car” as Ann described it, on a phone line. One look at that page and I was immediately transported back to the summer of 1994.

My dad had just been admitted to the hospital and given a dire diagnosis of having a grapefruit sized tumor on the brain. His new doctor, Dr. Crow, had just entered the room to talk to all of us about the prognosis. Needless to say we were all devastated. Not to miss an opportunity to tell a good joke, dad pipes in with his unforgettable story.

“Hey Doctor Crow, you know how when you are driving down the road you often see a dead squirrel or chipmunk but you never see a dead crow. That’s because there is always a crow on the phone line calling “Car, car!”

Seeing this page brought back memories of that dreaded moment and his telling of the joke, at what we thought was the worst possible time. Yet when I took the time to text my family the picture this morning, we all virtually chuckled at the memory of the moment that had taken place twenty-six years ago, almost to the day. What a coincidence, or dare I say crow-incidence! We then shared that we can’t see a crow without thinking of dad. We know that dad is smiling down on us, inspiring us to keep telling jokes, and helping us to stay safe from oncoming traffic and other hazards.

Each Tuesday I share a slice of life post and link my story to the writing community sponsored by Two Writing Teachers. Take a peek and consider joining in.

Chiming In

The wind blew the chimes on a recent day seven years after Dave passed. The chimes tingled ever so gently as if speaking to me on this calm day. These chimes had special meaning to me so I listen when they sound.

Cleaning out the garage a few years ago I came across Dave’s old set of golf clubs. I offered them to my golfer brother, after realizing that I had been holding onto the bag sentimentally and hoping that maybe, just maybe, I’d take up the game someday. I wasn’t sure if any of the now rusty clubs were usable but he gladly took them anyway.

That Christmas my brother arrived at my house and gingerly handed me an awkwardly wrapped gift. I opened the package to find a tangle of strings and a wooden base with a golf head attached to the middle. As I lifted the wooden base I realized it was a wind chime. Chuck looked at me with tears in his eyes and says, “This was made with Dave’s clubs.” Tears flowed down my face as I looked at this gift made with love and care. I cried even more when he handed our three kids their own set to hang in their home.

The chimes now hang outside my kitchen window so I hear them ringing often. On one recent day I was intrigued that the chimes were making a sound despite barely detecting a breeze.

Was Dave talking to me? What was he saying? What would he say to me seven years after leaving this world?

I can only imagine. And then maybe pen a poem to capture those thoughts.

It’s Tuesday and I am sharing my post with the writing community over at Two Writing Teachers. Take a peek and consider joining in the writing fun!