"Live a good life, and in the end, it’s not the years in the life, it’s the life in the years."

The disappearing Dad dunk

By on May 30, 2018 in Uncategorized with 0 Comments

 

 

Julia Scott and her Dad wearing the fishing hat that went for a dunk.

Editor’s note: This story was picked as the winner of our That’s My Day contest. Enjoy!

By Julia Scott

Sometimes things just aren’t as they appear. And boy, can that get you into a precarious pickle — especially for my hilariously fun Dad, Darrel.

In the summer of 1971, it was our first time to be invited to our family friends’ vacation home on Williams Lake.

Dad’s pal, Jim, in his boat out on the water, saw we had arrived and headed toward shore.

While Jim boats to the dock, allow me to give you the setting.

This wooden structure, where under-water vegetation flourishes, the tops of the tall plants nearly touch the water’s surface. Dad, outfitted for fun in the sun, is wearing jean cutoffs, a t-shirt, socks and shoes, topped with sunglasses and his splendiferous straw fishing hat.

Glad to see his friend, Dad walks down to the dock to greet Jim and help him secure the boat. We kids accompany him and meet up with our friends, Jim’s sunbathing daughters.

On the dock as Jim approaches, Dad steps to the edge to guide the boat in. As Jim rounds the corner, he’s paying more attention to bantering with Darrel, and inadvertently motors in too wide.

Always the eager and helpful one, to bring the boat close enough to the tiedowns, Dad sacrifices dry socks and shoes, stepping into the shallow water.

However, what LOOKS like shallow water is most definitely NOT… Great gobs of speckled owl poop — before our very eyes the water swallows Dad, who vanishes without a trace, all except for his FISHING HAT!

The bedraggled hat, with all its character, circled slowly in the lazy eddy stirring the water’s surface caused by Dad’s departure.

Following a loaded pause, the air split wide open with riotous laughter. After what seemed like a very long time, Dad came spluttering to the surface with a quite animated “#@!%9!&*!!!@!#%!.”

He climbed onto the dock half-amused/half-mad, standing there fully-clothed and dripping wet as we howled away in wild abandon like a pack of drunken hyenas.

He gasped from the shock of it all more than from the lake being cold. And we were gasping for air also, as some doubled over and some squatted, with some even resigned to their backsides and rolling side to side — all holding our bellies in raucous laughter.

Dad always took pleasure in providing a good laugh. After everyone had gotten their fill, he extricated the contents of his pockets. His wallet, handkerchief, money and other contents were all sopping wet. He dramatically laid them out in a neat row on the dock to dry. (That way, the ducks had something to poop on.)

The entire weekend, between swimming, tanning, dining, and water sports, before we went to sleep and just after we awoke, we giggled and guffawed.

Dad later mentioned that while he was down in the dark depths of the deepest deep, the plant life seemed to come alive, wrapping around his legs and arms as if trying to trap him, and he wondered for a bit if he’d ever make it back to the surface.

I sure am glad he did.

We would have jumped in and saved him, but it was so much fun watching that prime scene unfold that we wouldn’t have wanted to miss it by doing something stupid like going in after him.

I loved my Dad extraordinarily, but after all — everything has its limits.

Julia Scott, a Wenatchee resident, still breaks into spasms of random laughter as she recalls the hilarity which scores many treasured memories.  She is currently writing for posterity these memoirs of her life, many of which her dad, Darrel Bartels, was the star of the show.

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