Tag Archives: friends

Free

My bare toes curl around the jagged rock, gripping tight, and my arms wobble at my side.  I attempt to steady myself while minding the beer that splashes from the white-knuckle-incased can held in my hand.  My head hinges back and uncontrollable, ab-engaging laughter erupts from my gut, completely countering the balancing act my toes and arms are struggling to maintain.

Powerful Pacific waves crash relentlessly against the rocks we stand atop– each saltwater arch provoking a new bout of girly screams as it shatters against the sea stacks.  Ocean water sprays from the surrounding rocks and we gain control of our giggles moments before another swell soaks us.

The lighthearted moment epitomizes what it is to be carefree.

We’ve drank our fair shares of cheap, terrible tasting, local beers.  A hot, squint-inducing, yellow sun hangs high in the sky.  We’re surrounded by the incredible natural beauty that is the north-pacific coast.  Aside from being knocked from the craggy rocks and swept away with the ocean current, we have no worry in the world. In those thrilling moments, life is purely perfect.

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Midsummer’s Panic Attack


Before my dad committed the ultimate misdeed two summers ago and sold our ’92 Malibu Sunsetter  to a family that undoubtably loved it less than we did, countless summer hours revolved around ‘The Pink Boat’.  And while certain days spent skiing behind that pink and grey-striped beauty stand out more than others, there is one particular day that rises far above the rest.

The July sun was hot and Lake Wisconsin was glass calm and virtually vacant of boats as my friend, Danielle, and I heaved our heavy wood-plank swivel skis into the water before jumping in after them.  At the time, we were both fairly new to swiveling, a form of skiing in which the binding platform is mounted onto a wide single ski and able to rotate 360°.  As we treaded water and slowly detangled our respective ski ropes, my dad began to idle the boat while Danielle’s twin, Mallory, sat spotter.

With our right feet slipped into the swivel binding and our ropes pulled taught, we both hollered “Go Boat” before my dad pushed the throttle down and pulled the two of us out of the water.

One of the first tricks any new swiveler learns is the toe turn, a move in which the skier rotates 180° with her free foot slipped through a hold in the rope’s handle.  The opposite end of the ski rope is attached to a pin release, rather than a pylon, which allows the spotter in the boat to detach the rope, should the skier fall.

Coasting above the water, Dani and I each lifted our left legs and wriggled the soles of our feet through the toe hold in the rope.  Because we were just learning toe turns, we took turns rotating one-at-a-time.

With my right foot firmly planted on my gliding ski and left leg secured in the rope, I held my arms out to support Dani as she prepared to turn.  Dani gracefully lifted her arms above her head and simultaneously shifted her hips and shoulders to the horizon behind us as she turned backward with a click.

With Dani safely turned and riding backward on her ski, I relaxed a bit in my toe hold and began to survey the water beneath me.  Glints of silver flashes around the edge of the boat wake quickly caught my eye.

Just as my heart rate spiked and I came to the realization that the silver glints were actually what I can now only assume were hundreds of minnows, I opened my mouth to alert Dani of the trouble lurking below.  I was, unfortunately, a moment too late.  Tired of riding backward, Dani initiated her forward toe turn.

The recovery of a toe turn is more difficult than the initial turn.

At age 16, few things terrified me more than fish.

My blood curdling screams pierced the cottages surrounding Lake Wisconsin before my ski even sank in the water.

Dani had lost her balance on the recovery, which subsequently led to Mallory pulling the pin and releasing both of our ropes from the boat.  While Dani plunged into the water, I slowly glided to a stop, fully of the aware of my minnow-filled fate.

Once submerged in Lake Wisconsin’s brown waters the school of minnows that had been jumping along the moving wake were now jumping around us.  I frantically thrashed the water in an attempt to spook the little fish as they jumped onto my head and shoulders and bumped against my body.  Sixteen-year-old Kelsey Bewick was out of her mind.

My flailing only intensified when I accidently kicked an unknown solid beneath me.  Fearing that I had come in contact with a larger fish, or some unknown Lake Wisconsin water-creature, I began screaming and splashing uncontrollably.

It turns out the unknown solid beneath me was sand.  We had been pinned in only four feet of water and could have easily stood and gained our composure… but we were far beyond that point of return.

With my unreasonable panic attack raging in full force, my dad quickly maneuvered The Pink Boat to the scene of the crime.  Initially unaware that our screams were the result of being dropped into a school of minnows, my dad arrived thinking that one of us was seriously hurt.  To say that my he was not pleased upon discovering the cause of our frantic screams and unrestrained thrashing would be an understatement.

The Pink Boat was put away for the day following that episode.  And while I remained a bit leery about skiing amongst my minnow enemies for a few weeks following the incident, I did apprehensively return to Lake Wisconsin’s murky waters.

Seven summers later, not a year has gone by where Dani, Mal and I don’t look back on that fateful day and laugh in hysterics.  Because regardless if a day is generally awful or great, any summer day spent on a boat in the middle of a lake is memorable… some more than others.

Banana on the bus

Ask anyone who has spent time with me for more than a day and they will likely inform you that I love to tell stories.  They’ll then likely follow that up with a comment about how I’m the worst storyteller ever.

So a disclaimer before you embark on this story:  The following event took place in 2003 when I was in 8th grade and  nearly a decade later my best friends and I still laugh hysterically when we reminisce… this could be due to that fact that it truly is a great story or because we just laugh hysterically at a lot of things.  So to you, reader, this will either be quite funny or ‘you just had to be there’… which after the crickets have faded, is the line I use to end most of my stories.

An intense pang of fear overtook me as I gripped the plastic seat-top and ducked for cover.  I had feared this moment would come the second I stepped onto that after school city bus and saw the browned banana smashed into the grooved floor.

I cringed as I guided my K Swiss Classics around the annihilated fruit and took a seat in the back of the bus.

That 3 p.m. trip on the 115 began as every trip had.  Being that it was Friday, we had a slightly larger group of friends with us, as Friday was the day we took the bus to it’s final stop and walked a few extra blocks to Culver’s for a celebratory weekend kick-off dinner.  Middle school was stressful and we needed to unwind.  Frozen custard always did the trick.

I’m not sure which of my fellow bus-riders noticed the banana second.  (Being that I was born with an intense phobia of bananas I was, of course, the first to notice the overripe fruit; though in an attempt to avoid drawing attention to the brownish yellow monstrosity, I did my best to divert my stare).  But somebody obviously noticed it, because soon after the 115 pulled away from the curb the entire back half of the bus was conversing about that banana.

The next thing I remember, small chunks of smushed banana were soaring in every direction.  Being that a good majority of Sennett Middle School knew of my intense disgust toward bananas at the time, I felt like an obvious target.  My fight-or-flight senses kicked in and I abandoned my backpack and shielded myself  between the two-person seats in front of me.  While frantically ducking for cover, I envisioned banana chunks becoming tangled and mashed into my perfectly combed tendrils of hair.  It was then that I desperately called out for the madness to stop.

Just as was I retreating from my soapbox, an especially mashed wad of pungent banana began it’s beeline straight toward my head.  Assuming I couldn’t move quick enough to dodge this bullet, I franticly swatted my hand to protect my face. Within milliseconds, my powder blue glitter mitten had defiantly deflected the banana chunk.  A rush of relief came over me as the piece of banana fell to the seat before me.

My comfort was further bolstered as I looked up to see my savior of a best friend pulling the yellow cord to signal the bus driver that we were ready to get the heck off!  My friends and I filed out of the back bus door and gossiped about what an atrocious Friday afternoon bus ride that was.  Mid-conversation the overwhelming smell of banana suddenly overtook my nostrils.  I desperately looked down to find banana shrapnel clinging to the glittered fingers of my mittens.  Fearing the worst, I quickly whipped them off and held the cuffs with my fingertips, dangling the glitter mittens like they were roadkill.

With no feasible plan of action and friends that were nearly peeing their pants from laughter, I frustratingly shoved the mittens under a nearby bush and covered them with snow in an attempt to wipe away the foul debris.

We continued our short trek to Culver’s while I kept my banana-free hands tucked  in my pockets.  And when one of our moms’ drove us home that night I requested that she pull over so I could retrieve the tainted mittens.  I then dropped them in the laundry room the moment I stepped into my house and recounted the evenings events to my parents, who weren’t the least bit amused by  it.

Thoughts on being a super senior

Eight weeks into my 9th semester at Winona State University and it still seems like school has just started… oh yes, this must be what it feels like to be a college senior.

This feeling of disdain I’m having toward my classes, you know, all those that I avoided taking the previous eight semesters?  This need to soak up every experience, because this is my last semester?  This inexplicable force that’s keeping me from attending class on a regular basis and choosing instead to spend my mornings hiking through the bluffs or chatting over steaming lattes?  This has got to be what the majority of my friends experienced last spring just before they graduated!… but, not quite, this is different.  Because as far as friends go, there are less of them here now.  And as far as feeling judged for being the oldest people in town goes, well there is a whole lot of that now.  (Note: it’s never good when you’re only 22 and you feel like the oldest person in a bar).  So this must be what it feels like to be a super senior!

This undying urge to just graduate already; this attempt to evenly split my time between schoolwork and job-hunting; this complete disregard my friends and I have of appearing presentable during a weekend downtown and this weekly habit of consuming McDonald’s we’ve developed; this lack of sh
ame we feel for kicking off a Friday night with awful beer and dozens of cassettes; this fact that we now feel comfortable and welcome at townie bars; this need to regularly nap an afternoon away, because soon I won’t have that luxury; this nostalgic feeling of freshman year that keeps creeping up; this wake-up call informing me that I’m no longer 18 every time my freshman cousin tries to have a conversation via text message; this gratefulness I have for not being 18; this love I have for beautiful Winona, Minnesota and all the outdoor fun she has to offer; this desire to just soak up life during my remaining eight weeks of college?

This has definitely got to be what it feels like to be a super senior and I am just trying to love every minute of it.  Because my few friends and I that are still enrolled as undergrads at Winona State University are so lucky.  We get to experience an extra 16 weeks of college that my former co-eds didn’t get.  CHEERS TO THAT!