Written by Lynn E. McElfresh
posted on March 12, 2010 22:31
For me, there are only three seasons: Pre-River Season, River Season and Post-River Season. Pre-River Season starts January 1st. That’s when the countdown starts. As of today’s posting, the magic number is 58 days until we return to the river.
Perhaps not everyone is as formal as I am about when the countdown begins, but I know from recent correspondence with fellow islanders that I’m not the only one counting the days. Even my nine-year-old granddaughter, Alison (a sixth-generation islander) is counting the days.
Last summer, Alison arrived on the island on a mission. Minutes after she got off the boat, she asked the question, “Do I still have to wear my life jacket on the island? I can swim now! Really, I can!”
Island life means that toddlers and young children need to be watched very carefully. The rule when my kids were growing up was: they didn’t go out the door unless they were wearing their lifejacket.
My mother-in-law told me that when my husband was a toddler, she put him in a harness and tied him to a tree! I guess that was common practice on the island in the 1950’s, but might prompt a call to Child Protective Services if that were to happen today.
So a test was devised. If Alison could jump off one end of the dock, swim around the boat and climb out on the other side of the dock, she didn’t have to wear her lifejacket on the island. My daughter got in the water to lend encouragement. Alison jumped in and swam easily to the ladder. Success!
A few days later, we went for a walk without the obligatory lifejacket. On our way around the island, we saw Hope Figliolino and her three little ones, each snug in their tiny lifejackets. Alison paused and looked at them as they walked past us. “I remember when I used to have to wear a lifejacket all the time,” she said, as if that day had been long ago and far away.
Who knows what milestones Alison is dreaming of for the 2010 River Season…which for her is only 147 days away.
By Lynn McElfresh
Lynn McElfresh is a regular contributor to TI Life. She and her husband, Gary, winter in Dunedin, Florida and spend their summers in the Thousands Islands on Grenell Island. Lynn is the author of Can You Feel the Thunder? published in 1999 in New York by Simon & Shuster Children's Publishing Division. It is suggested for youth ages 10-14. She is also the ghost writer for several other children’s books.