I must have been about six years old, and my family had gone to a beach on a lake in Wisconsin. Green Lake, if memory serves me correctly. At my age, I was only allowed to swim near the shore. But, out a ways was a slide…and old school metal slide, higher than any I had ever seen. I kept looking at it, wondering about it. I would not have gone all the way up the stairs to the top. Way too scary!
Still, I was drawn to that slide, and I made my way closer and closer to the bottom of the steps. Even though I was farther out than I should have been, I had always felt safe when my parents were around. I had nothing to fear.
But then something happened. I can’t even tell you exactly what, but I found myself under the water with my eyes open. I saw smooth rocks of many colors blanketing the bottom of the lake. Mind you, this was the first time I had ever had my eyes open underwater, and I felt sure that this meant I was no longer in this world…that I had passed into another world. Was I dead? Perhaps. I was not sure of anything anymore. I did know that I could not take a breath here, so if I was not dead yet, I would not be alive much longer.
Luckily for me, I was wrong. My parents had seen me go under. My dad swam out to me and pulled me up.
Now, it would have been good for me to have a chance to reflect on what just happened. As far as my parents knew, I just slipped and went under the surface for a bit. No big deal. But to a six-year-old boy with an active imagination, I had faced mortality and won, thanks to my dad, my hero.