Dear [Lake] Ann@,
Sunday was one of the best days of my summer because, for the third time, I spent it with you. You and the fun guys that own that boat, the L0uella Jane. It was a hazy day that looked a little like rain but that didn’t keep us from grabbing our snacks, our tubes and our towels and backing the boat down into you. Despite the haze, you were as beautiful as ever and the perfect temp, warmed as usual by the nearby nuclear power plant. You must like cloudy Sundays because so many fewer boats are out. I know I was happy. I gladly learned that your dockside café makes the most delicious homemade crab cakes and hand-cut fries. It was the perfect lunch to eat on the boat as we cruised our way toward one of your coves. We always bring not one, but two tubes to ride over the gigantic waves created by other boats and Louella’s 360s. Two tubes for tube wars, ramming into each other as we glide back and forth across the wake. Sunday’s ride was intense and I was certain I was a goner multiple times. I don’t know that I’ve ever caught that much air, but I loved every body-slamming, hard-leaning minute. I’m about to be 26 this month, but all it takes is a tube ride to make me giggle like a kid again. Twice, it began to sprinkle and shoo the other boats away. But we didn’t go anywhere. And once it cleared, you glistened like glass and I heard you begging me to come and ski again. “Remember last year?” you said. The excitement grew in my chest as I recalled breaking in the Connelly the year before. Then my mind darted to a more recent memory and the look on my therapist’s face when I told her I planned to ski. “See how you feel . . maybe if it’s smooth,” she said. “I would wear your brace.” I dug through my bag in search of my brace but it appeared I had left it behind. My heart sank. But as I turned to see you so peaceful again, I felt a calm come over me, and at that moment, I knew you’d take care of me. I couldn’t let this opportunity pass me by. I quickly unzipped the bag to remove the sleek, narrow-tunneled slalom ski and admire its lovely red-and-white colors. I was the only person to ever use the ski so I felt as though it belonged to me. Between you and the ski, everything would be just fine. After two attempts, I successfully locked my legs against your push and balanced one foot behind the other until I was up and out. I sailed along your smooth and ripply, just enjoying the ride outside the wake. No tricks today, I thought. You carried me well, and I didn’t stop smiling until I let go of the rope and slowly sank back down into your warm embrace. I wished I could hug you right back.