Growing up in Minnesota, summer meant jumping in Bay Lake to play to my heart’s content. One day, my dad came home from the marina with a huge inner tube in our yellow speedboat. Probably made for a colossal tractor tire, I could stretch out on that inflated, rubbery ring and float for ages. Or I would bounce on it with a friend until one – or both of us – tumbled, laughing, into the water.
My other favorite activity was jumping with my friends on the trampoline on the beach of a nearby resort. Luckily, the resort owners knew my family and tolerated our frequent visits.
When I think back on those times, I wonder if I had an excess of nervous energy or was simply an active kid. I sure liked being in motion, particularly if there was a bounce involved. Maybe all that ricocheting around kept me in shape. I didn’t think of myself as athletic, but in fourth grade I was one of a handful of children at my school to be given the Presidential Fitness Award, a program promoted by President Kennedy. I sewed the patch they gave me on my jacket, not sure what to make of it.
No longer taking my health or energy for granted, I now appreciate that brief, unexpected recognition of what our bodies can do for us. And I still like to float on water, preferably with a cushy inner tube on which I can lean back and watch the sky.
Barbara Wolf Terao is from Northfield, Minnesota and now lives on an island in the Pacific Northwest. She’s written a memoir called Reconfigured and posts random observations on her Of the Earth blog. This piece was posted on Storied-Stuff.com on May 4, 2022.