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  • Writer's pictureAmi Thompson

A challenge before me




I’m concentrating on the task before me. It involves strategy. Mind over muscle. Which is a good thing because I’ve never had muscle. I never could climb up the rope in gym class. I couldn’t will myself up. Instead, my hands and ankles burned as the twine in the rope dug in as I held on for dear life. But, back to the story. A challenge lay before me.


It was the summer of my seventh year, and it was perplexing. I know you are waiting for a huge, life-saving task before me. And it was, if you were seven. I was at the annual fourth of July swim races and the dreaded wet clothes switch was called. The idea was to have one partner dress in wet clothes (from shoes to hats) and one stand on the other side of the marked off area. The one in the wet clothes had to run to her partner and undress and then redress the partner. The partner, now outfitted in sopping wet clothes, had to run to the other side of the marked area where partner one started. All of the action occurring in waist deep water. Simple you say? Try it I say.


First, who should start? My partner and I, who are still friends to this day, decided she should run the last leg. She had both more speed and more stamina than I did. Decision one-check. Point two, how to undress? Top to bottom, bottom to top, the middle first? We decided on the bottom up method. It meant less time having to wear the water weight of the shirt. We huddled and then took our places.


I was off, if you could call it that. The pants were ten sizes too big for me and kept falling down. Suspenders I thought. Next year I need to sneak in suspenders. I was not deterred. On I went, finally reaching Stacey. The clothes switching went smoothly. I highly recommend the bottom up method. She took off. Nothing was going to stop her. The finish line was hers. She crossed in first.


As if having lake bragging rights weren’t enough, we received more. We could choose two candy bars from a plethora of bars. The others could choose one candy bar. Everyone was a winner that day. Chocolate and smiles all around.

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