My envy was through the roof.
When my older brother was twelve, he joined the Boy Scouts, and I was ten and a half. Despite desperately wanting to join, I had to wait a year and a half. Everything is easier for the older brothers. However, the age requirement for joining the Boy Scouts was lowered to eleven from twelve within a short period. I felt an overwhelming sense of joy.
I couldn’t focus on anything because of my joy. The following month, I joined the Boy Scouts. Incredible, my mother took me to Sears and an Army Surplus store, where she bought me a Boy Scout shirt, a web belt with a canteen, a knife, and an axe. I had a business going.
Our meetings were conducted at the church across the street from the Junior High School I was too young to attend. The Petersons, Jimmy, and Johnny, were hanging out there. The father of Jimmy and Johnny was the pastor of the church where our meetings were held. Two of the brothers were identical twins; the other was a year younger than me and a Boy Scout. Jimmy and Johnny, then sixteen, were prevalent amongst their classmates for many reasons: they were attractive, athletic, and well-liked. Like most young boys, they were well-liked by both sexes, and I looked up to them as heroes.
All the younger lads in the Scout group aspired to be like Jimmy and Johnny Peterson and hang out with them. Lucky me. Ted Lind, who was fourteen and lived down the street from my brother and me, and my elder brother were in there. I often tagged around with him and his friends because he was another cool older guy. He liked me, though, so I was able to do it. Not only did I grow close to Ted, but I also forged strong bonds with Jimmy and Johnny Peterson.
At our Scout meetings, we used to play a game where the boys would all form a circle with their backs to each other and their hands folded behind them. It would be one guy’s job to walk around outside the process with a lanyard and randomly drop it into the hands of one of the other guys within. The man in possession of the lanyard would then chase after him. If he caught up to him, he would whip his butt with it until the first man reached the empty spot in the circle where the man chasing him had been, at which point the chaser would stop running and walk around until he dropped the lanyard into the hands of another man.
Then he would leave. Jimmy Peterson accidentally tossed a lanyard into my lap one day. I tried to catch and strike him with the lanyard but never did. Then I let Johnny Peterson have the lanyard, and he chased me while beating my butt. It started to become a ritual. The twins didn’t hold back on the whipping because, I assume, they appreciated me for allowing it to happen. Nonetheless, I continued handing them the lanyard, and they kept handing it back to me so that I could keep score.
But I was never relatively quick enough to catch up. Jimmy, Johnny, and Ted, along with the four older guys who led all the unique treks and other events and another person everyone didn’t love. Younger males begged to join the older guys on these outings, but only a select few were chosen. They always took me along. Even my sibling did it. The Petersons eventually upped and left town. Their father was sent to work in the Midwest. Seeing them go was a tragic thing. At least half of the Junior High School student body was at worship on Sunday. It would be terrible to lose them.
Six months after the Petersons left, we learned that Jimmy and Johnny had drowned in a canoeing accident on the lake. As a child, I recall that day as one of the darkest of my life.
Both Jimmy and Johnny had a reputation for being excellent swimmers. Their apparent drowning seemed even more improbable in light of this. Also, like me, my older brother developed into a powerful swimmer. Because of his summer job as a lifeguard, he logged much water swimming time. He used to swim out for almost an hour when we went to the beach, far enough that I could barely see his head bobbing.
My brother, who was forty-nine at the time of his death, perished while performing a regular scuba diving check-out in the ocean 36 years after Jimmy and Johnny Peterson’s deaths. His tools were malfunctioning for some reason. On that particular day, my older brother had it rough.
Learning how to swim is a valuable skill. The Peterson twins and my brother all swam exceptionally well. However, it is essential to use caution when taking risks, regardless of your talent. When my brother drowned, I don’t think he was doing anything hazardous, but he did take many risks when we were young. When we got to the beach, he swam out so far that no one could see him and stayed there for an entire hour, making everyone concerned.
Please get in the water and do it right; show your kids the ropes, but don’t put yourself or them in danger. This is potentially fatal.
Remember these tips for swimming safely in open water.
First, lateral currents are those that move away from the shore rather than toward it. While lateral winds pose little threat to the average swimmer, they can lead to more dangerous rip currents, the leading cause of surf-related injuries. Even powerful swimmers can be dragged into deeper water by rip currents. If you find yourself in a rip wind, swim parallel to the shoreline until you are out of the rip stream and can turn back toward shore.
Second, lifeguards are a great source of data about the state of the pool and any potential hazards. Never disobey their orders.
Thirdly, never swim alone.
Fourth, be honest about your swimming skills. Don’t puff up your ego, especially in open-water swimming.
5. Realize that the capacity to swim in cold water significantly decreases for everyone. Most ocean and lake water are frigid unless you’re in a tropical region.
Drinking and swimming are never a good idea because you could end up drowning and not even know it.
Do not venture into the deep sea in a tiny boat or during a storm.
Last, avoid doing anything risky or foolish to prove a point.
Dave is a prolific writer who focuses on many subjects, including physical fitness, the philosophy of science, and the practical and theoretical aspects of computer and photography technologies. You may learn how to find people with public records search engines by visiting his latest website, which focuses on digital camera lenses. Find Individuals at No Cost