Last week I wrote about meeting and, a year later, marrying Sandra. Here’s a tale about a little incident from our first couple of weeks of courtship that helped endear her to me.
One of the things I’ve long enjoyed is water skiing. Actually, my dad introduced me to it when I was a teen. He had a friend with a powerboat who’d take him out on the Navesink River, near Red Bank, N.J. A couple of times, I was invited along. I remember very little about Dad’s friend except his funny description of a water skiing wipeout: “a 25-mile-an-hour mouthwash.”
Which brings me to Sandra. One of our many dates as we were getting to know each other in those two weeks of her 1986 Hawaii vacation was water skiing. Sandra had never done it before, but she was game – she’d done scuba diving and hot-air ballooning before we met. When it was her turn to get in the water and put on the skis, my dad and I first coached her: “Keep your elbows bent, so you can move your arms back and forth in response to the little waves you’ll encounter. That’s how you stay upright.”
And off we went. The boat quickly took up the slack in the line whose handles Sandra was gripping, and she rose out of the water. Within seconds, however, like most novices, she fell backward because she’d let her arms straighten out. For most people that would be the end of the ride. They’d release the rope, as everyone is told to do when they fall, and the boat would come around for another try.
Not Sandra, however. Determined to succeed, she hung on, skimming the water feet first, flat on her back. She wouldn’t let go and, before long, she bent her arms, miraculously hauled herself back onto her feet and was skiing like a champ! I’ve never seen anything like it, before or since.
Determination like that is just one of what I later heard her dad call “the Sandy qualities” that I so admire.