Monday, July 06, 2009

Swimming with Manatees at the Condo

We went to visit the GrandGoofs over the long weekend and the little Goofs romped in the condo pool with the senior Goofs. I always enjoy these visits. Their condo is like a college dormitory for elderly Jews. The kids have learned to randomly walk up to old people and ask for cookies. To get their specific grandmother’s attention they yell, "Bubbe! Bubbe!"

And every head turns.

The little Goofs like carrying out splash attacks, but this was a bit wearing on the GrandGoofs. My parents were trying to get me into the pool to take on the battle. But, as I sat poolside with my latte, I replied, "Sorry, but I'm eating something - I'll have to wait at least twenty minutes!"

My mom grimaced as all the other Bubbes nodded their assent. I will remember that moment for the rest of my life.

Still, as my son attempted to be a one-boy tsunami battering my father I helped my dad out by reminding my children that manatees are a protected species.

This resonated. My children respect these majestic aqua-cows. While reading Barry Louis Polisar’s Peculiar Zoo, my daughter exclaimed, "Poor manatee. I am sure he would be so delighted if he didn't have those terrible scratches on his back."

Besides being relieved by the decline in water damage my father was not insulted because he also loves the manatee. (A fondness for large mammals runs in our family.)

I told the little Goofs that pop was a were-manatee, or manathrope who became a manatee when the moon was full. (Manatees have been sighted in the Chesepeake Bay - and if you've every seen my father do his lazy side stroke* - well, it would explain a great deal.) So as my father circumnavigated the pool we serenaded him:
Manatee, manatee, lovely lady of the sea.
Around us aged women asked each other: “Who’s grandkids are those?”

*Lazy sidestroke is redundant. I believe the world record in the 100-meter sidestroke is about 20 minutes. Breaking this record would even challenge Michael Phelps. It is a stroke that enforces leisure.


Anonymous said...

Fun story! At my mom's condo in Texas, someone practices kayaking in her pool. My niece wanted to swim while the kayaker was practicing, and he gave her a few compliments and hints. Afterwards, she told several people, "The guy kayaking in gramma's pool says I'm a great swimmer!" and you could see people wondering if they should be concerned for her grasp on reality.

Father Goof said...

My kids also believe that their grandfather flies around on an ice cream powered helipack. But here, people know this came from my deranged vision.

The kayaking story is great because it has its roots in reality - that's the best comedy.