Being a New York city gal, the way we used to cool off from the oppressive heat in the summertime was by opening fire hydrants and enjoying the spray - at least until the fire department came and took away all the fun. Large park fountains offered a respite on occasion (when Mom wasn't looking too closely), and of course there was my aunt's above ground swimming pool.
Here in the Ozarks, the favorite way of cooling off in the summertime is jumping into the nearest lake or river. That, my friends, is something no sane person in New York would ever do, because you just don't know what's really in that water up there, if you get my meaning.
I also have a slight reluctance to enter the water, based mainly on my irrational fear of sharks. Whilst snorkeling once in the Bahamas, an 11 foot bull shark cruised by underneath me and I found out just how fast a little white chick could do the 100 yard dash on water.
My husband made an attempt to get me into the water one July 4th weekend a few years after the shark encounter, when we were vacationing at Mustang Island in Texas. He was out in the ocean, having a great time, and I finally thought - well hey, he's bigger than I am and definitely would be more attractive to any sharks in the region looking for a snack, so if he's okay I guess I should go on in there. So I did. And I kid you not, it wasn't five minutes later that an actual flying fish flew out of the water and smacked me right in the noggin. At that point, even he had to acknowledge that water and I just don't mix.
Needless to say, I hadn't ventured near the water since -- until we moved to Arkansas. We bought a beautiful piece of property along the Little Strawberry, and I knew in my gut that once again, I was going to be faced with entering the water. The Little Strawberry, like most rivers in Arkansas, is cool and crystal clear, and incredibly inviting on a summer day. So I took off my shoes and waded in. Ahhh, pure heaven. I was hooked. There was no chance of sharks and the fish around here don't fly, so my fears were put aside and we enjoyed a lovely day at the river. That is, until our three dogs found us and proceeded to splash, jump, swim and then inadvertently tried to drown us by climbing on to our floaties with us. Aren't pets fun?
So my personal thanks to this beautiful area we live in, for helping me overcome my fear of the water, and allowing me to take in the natural beauty of this place while cooling off with my honey and our dogs. Shoot, I might even work up the courage to try a lake sometime soon. Then again, a cruise on a party barge might be more my style...we'll see.