We all have sudden flashbacks of old puppy loves, young loves, real loves, infatuations,  and the like.  Maybe a song, a sight, a smell, or even some minor action will cause something from our past to flash across our minds.  This story is about a certain flashback:

One very hot summer day Vivian*, a girl that I had been seeing, and I went to a public swimming pool—it was the first time for either of us to go to the local pool.  Vivian wasn’t much for swimming but we enjoyed splashing around in the shallow end of the slightly crowded pool. 


After a while, the lifeguards ordered everyone out of the pool for a twenty-minute break. During the break, an unobstructed pool-length swim was offered to anyone who wanted to participate.  A lifeguard would line up eight people at the deep end of the fifty-meter pool, and at his whistle, they would dive in, race to the shallow end, and get out of the water.  There were no categories—kids, men, women children all mixed together would swim the length of the pool eight at a time.

“Go on and join in, Robert.  Race 'em!” Vivian urged, “You said you were a good swimmer.”

“But Vivian,” I said “I don't want to leave you alone in this hot sun.  And besides, it's not a real race...”

“I know it’s not the Olympics,” she said, “just a bunch of old men and little kids.  I just want to see how bad you beat ‘em.”

Thinking I could easily fulfill Vivian’s silly expectation, I got in line with the participants.  My turn came and there were only seven little kids in my racing group--it would be a cinch. 

The lifeguard shouted, "Ready..."

I wrapped my toes around the pool’s edge; a whistle blew; I dove in and hit the cold water; both my legs immediately cramped--froze up!  I panicked!  Arms only, I frantically doggie-paddled over towards the nearest side of the pool.  By the time I safely reached the edge, the seven kids had already finished and were out of the water.

Talk about impressing a girl!

Anyhow, whenever I get a rare Charlie horse (less than one a year), the image of Vivian flashes before my eyes.  Her image is nice, but the reminder sucks.

*Vivian is not her real name.

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Robert Red-Baer

1950-Went to Tinton Falls Elementary School, N.J.
1962-Went to Monmouth Regional HS, N.J.
1964-Graduated US Army NCO Acadamy, Germany
1971-Graduated University of Hawaii with honors
1973-Red Heart Follies (Hawaii)
1975-Japan Prime Minister's Award (Video), among many
1985-Professor Edogawa University, Chiba Japan
2010-Retired in Japan