The Sublette County Journal
Volume 4, Number 1 - 9/2/99
brought to you online by Pinedale Online
He's up! He's down...he's back up and taking a cut! My son Scott was trying his hand at waterskiing for the first time. I gave him all the necessary instructions to get him started. "Bend your knees, keep your arms straight, lean back and let the boat pull you up." Apparently he had actually listened to me, because his first try was going very well!
As I watched Scott struggle to keep the skiis under him, my mind wandered back to the summer of `83. My cousin Natalie Grassell and I, spent the whole summer at the lake. We were either on the beach or in a boat every night after work. The weekends were definitely dedicated to the lake and waterskiing.
One Sunday in August, we all gathered at the Grassell residence. I was quick to notice that we had two new crew members. Greg introduced the new girl and her brother to everybody and we were off.
Once we got to Fremont, everyone piled into the boat along with lunch, suitable refreshments, skiis, life vests and wet suits. Greg fired up the boat, and we headed up the lake to find a beach. Natalie and I were dressed in our usual boating attire, bikinis and shorts (we're talking seventeen years ago here). All the guys were wearing shorts and t-shirts, except the new guy.
He was sitting in the back of the boat wearing a long-sleeve flannel shirt, blue jeans, tennis shoes and a big smile. Natalie kept nudging me and asking me if I thought he was cute. I thought he was kinda dorky looking, but she really had her eye on him. When we got to the beach everyone piled out and started gathering up stuff to make a campfire. We had the rocks and wood in place, but no matches. Flannelman got the bright idea of dipping Freddy Boyce's old shorts in the gas tank and then lighting them with a spark from the boat's spark plug. Natalie was impressed. I started to wonder if Flannelman was a pyro.
Once the fire got going, we realized we'd forgotten a grill to cook the burgers on. Flannelman to the rescue. He searched around until he had found a nice flat rock and presented it to us to fry the meat on. Was there no end to this guy's means? So far he had bailed us out twice, and his smile hadn't faltered for a second.
It wasn't long before the weather started to change. Our nice warm sunny day turned into a cold, gray stormy afternoon. We hadn't brought any warm clothes and being somewhat young, we weren't ready to give up the day. Wouldn't you know it, Flannelman came scrambling down the rocks above our campfire announcing that he had found a cave we could all crawl into to wait out the rain. We all slipped and slid in our sandals back up the rocks to Flannelman's cave. He was right, there was plenty of room for all of us, and it was dry.
I found myself sitting next to Flannelman. Every time I looked his way he was smiling at me. I tried talking to him, but every question I asked, was answered with short sentences and lots of smiling. He was probably the shyest guy I had ever been around. He was also the warmest guy in the cave due to his attire.
SPLASH!!! My mind came back to the present as Scott tried crossing one too many wakes. He had just learned one of the first lessons of waterskiing - the water is really hard when you wreck. My hand raised to wave the orange flag, signaling other boaters that we had somebody down in the water.
I glance over at my husband. He wasn't paying any attention to me, and was busy turning the boat to pick up his son. I smiled to myself as I realized that he didn't look so dorky anymore. He still had the flannel shirt, but had given up the jeans for shorts.
Brent must have felt me watching him, because he glanced over and gave me one of his famous smiles. I was glad that hadn't changed, either.
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