The dock belonged to my grandmother’s fishing lodge, and we were in and out of the water almost every summer day. It wasn’t safe to be a lackadaisical swimmer like me.
The added problem for my uncle, who was in charge of nine of us, was that I was the only cousin who couldn’t swim well enough to be of use. I was also lazy. So he picked me up off the dock one day, told me to take a breath, and tossed.
I panicked, sank, choked, regained the surface and screamed at my uncle. He laughed. And because I trusted him, and respected him, I giggled too. That summer I bucked up, and got my stroke. But I always remember that giggle, the falling away of the panic, a great lesson in trust.
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