Since partnering with Dr Pepper and becoming total BFFs with the gal who works there (who just happens to read my website…HEY CHRISTINE!) I have been determined to find the one picture I knew I had of me wearing my favorite t-shirt of all time. After sifting through tubs and tubs of photos, NKOTB buttons, friendship bracelets and notes from my dear friend Julie from our freshman year, I finally found it!
I know. There’s a lot going on in this picture.
Yes. The photo was plucked from my senior year scrapbook. This picture was wedged between a headshot of Troy Aikman (Cowboys are still shunned) and a drink coaster from Chili’s.
First and foremost, I’d like to point out that my “I’m a Pepper” t-shirt perfectly matches my knee socks. Coincidence? I think not. Pay no attention to the small detail that it appears I am without shorts. If I were a betting woman, I would put an entire paycheck on the possibility that I am wearing a bathing suit under there. It was a black and turquoise one piece with a hole in the bum I got from doing too many cannon balls off the diving board.
Speaking of diving boards…the long plank-like object that appears to be protruding from either side of my neck is an extremely springy diving board that still stands at the end of the deep end of my parents’ “lazy L-shaped” pool. It’s rusted and creaks like a front porch rocker when someone over the weight of 50 pounds steps up on the base, but half the fun of jumping off is basking in the anticipation if it will hold out for one more back flip.
Speaking of back flips…I’m reminded of a post I wrote back in 2008 right around the Fourth of July holiday:
I’ve always loved the water and have done tricks off the diving board since I was young. As I bobbed and sipped my beverage of choice, I wondered if I still had it in me, and convinced myself that if I didn’t execute at least one back flip, I would officially be in the shady age of not really young, yet not really old.
Clearly, this was unacceptable. I ran the thought by my Mom and cousin Stephanie.
Lincee: “I think I’m going to do a back flip off of the diving board.”
Mom: “You can’t do that any more.”
Steph: “You’ll hurt yourself.”
Lincee: “No really. I’m serious.”
Mom: “Don’t you dare. You are not in high school!”
Steph: “You’ll hit your head.”
Bursting with confidence from this endearing pep talk, I dismount my noodle and swim over to the ladder in the deep end. Remembering back when I was a whipper snapper, I recalled that I used to warm-up on the ladder doing back dives before attempting the diving board. I scramble up the ladder, take a few deep breathes and fling myself backwards.
I pop up out of the water like the Little Mermaid, expecting to hear shouts of congratulations and glee!
Mama and Steph weren’t even watching.
This time, I step onto the side of the pool and fling myself again in another perfect back dive. I pop up. And again…nothing.
Time for some serious action. I hoist myself out of the pool, making a big production that I AM ABOUT TO BACK FLIP OFF OF THE DIVING BOARD!
Mom: “Don’t! You will break something!”
Steph: “If you jump, I’m not watching.”
Daddy: “DO IT! DO IT! DO IT!”
I make my way around the pool and step on to the old creaky diving board. I march down to the end, turn around and go for broke without thinking.
This time when I pop up out of the water, I am greeted with applause, cheers and shouts for me to DO IT AGAIN!
Which I obliged. About four more times. Obviously, the moral of the story is that I conquered my fear. For a brief moment, I was the cool kid. Everyone wanted to be me.
Then my head started hurting and I felt like I was going to throw up. I blame the rum. Why else would I do something so crazy? For that, I blame my maternal genetic pool.
Speaking of crazy…at the moment this picture was taken, I’m sure my Mama was desperate to finish out the roll on her Kodak Disk camera before running downtown to Mike’s (the local pharmacist/photo developer) to develop a wheel of film that consisted of nothing but flowers and landscaping around the pool. Might as well get one shot of the kid you carried in your womb for nine months.
If you take a look at the photo again, it’s important to point out that the swimming pool is immediately to my left. And there are skates on my feet. Pool + roller skates = winning combination.
I’m sure my sister was either seconds away from roller skating into this shot or she was doing the Hand Jive on the trampoline (yes, still wearing skates) because there is no doubt in my mind that the Grease soundtrack was playing from our jambox.
Jamie and I once asked Mama why she let us roller skate around the pool when she knew that if we fell in, we would sink to the bottom.
Without hesitation, she replied, “Oh I thought about that a lot. That’s why you have VELCRO skates. And remember how your Daddy would grab you and force you under water for several minutes? We knew you needed to practice holding your breath. If you fell in, you would calmly whip off your skates and swim to the top. And then probably dive back down to retrieve your skates at the bottom. We never worried about you girls. You were always strong swimmers.”
It’s always a “SAFETY FIRST” motto at the Ray household.