Lifeguarding. A family affair.


Grandfather was a lifeguard. Even at this age I recall the familiar yet strange yet familiar accent as he explained the proper technique of  finger and hand entry into the H2O. Saying, “You must learn to Swvimm inz das ocean, vat if you falls off ze boot?  Was machts du  dan?  Waht will you do then?” He slipped back so quickly into his native German. Complaining, “Grandpa commoooonnn, man I want to surf.” He retorted, ” NEIN! los! swim mal. Jetz!”  No! lets go. Swim. Now!   Into the breakers I ran following him rather reluctantly yet obedient never the less. Coughing , sputtering, I windmilled in his wake, Grandfathers feet were like propellers! His wake was incredibly vigorous. I could not see clearly as the swell was moderately high and being 13 years old  a sliver of a boy all bone, freckles and suntan lotion, it was easy to get left behind. Reaching the end of the Santa Monica pier. I searched for him. Gone! Anxiety flashed lightening like through my body. Did he drown?  At the edge of sheer panic, just about to yell help, I feel grandfathers hand tickle the bottom of my foot. He surfaces smiling and clasps my narrow shoulder.” Das ist gut!” He shouted.  you swim back and then you can surf.  Los!

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