Natural springs are cold. Real cold. Just ask my nipples.
Sunday was our family picnic/birthday party for Alexa and Madison who both turn 8 this month, Alexa this past Thursday, Madison, today.
Jill rented a pavilion at De Leon Springs, we all coordinated who would bring what and a party was born. The parents, Jeff (my bro) and Pat, my three nephews, one of their girlfriends, Pat’s cousin and husband and their two kids, plus one of their boyfriends. That equals one Polack (Jimmy) one hybrid (Mark) and a lot of loud Italians, all under one wood and metal, wasp-infested roof.
After an hour and a half drive we finally arrived at 10:30 a.m. and were the last ones there. There were doughnuts, assorted loaf cakes and bagels to munch on until lunchtime.
But the water beckoned. We all knew what we were getting into. We’ve all been to natural springs before. People may tell you that swimming in the frigid water of the springs is akin to a woman forgetting labor pains soon after the birth of a baby. You’ll forget just how cold it feels when your heat-soaked big toe hits the water. They lie. The bastards all lie. For one, I can easily recall the excruciating pain of childbirth. Hell, sitting here thinking about it right now I feel the need for an epidural and a tranq. Just as I remember the feel of that icy-cold water creeping slowly up my body as I take step after tentative step down those slime-encrusted stairs.
But in we went. Very. Very. Slowly.
Once you get up to your thighs you think to yourself, “I can do this. I can barely even feel my legs anymore. How bad could the second half of my body be? But oh. Then the water slithers to your waist. That gives you a bit of a shock, but it’s nothing… nothing close to the shock you feel when the girls hit the water. It’s at this point that you either sink or get the hell out of the pool. Iced-up nipples be damned, I’m going in! And I did, but with a look of such horror on my face that Jill and cousin Donna cracked up watching me.
And ah, but it does feel quite good once you’re sufficiently numbed from the neck down. My nephew, Justin, says to me, “Aunt Justine, wait till you dunk your head under and see how that feels.” To which I reply, “Justin, until the moment my head actually bursts into flame, I am not putting my head under this water!” And I didn’t.
If I did, I may have missed the entertainment of watching my mom and dad gingerly walking down the steps into the water. Now that was funny. Mom made it in first, gasping and moaning the entire time. She then wades up to me, Jill and Donna, all three of us cheering dad on. “Come on dad! Just get IN!” He got halfway in and my mom announces in a clear, high voice, “Look! He’s got his peter in the water!” O. M. G.! She did not just say that! Out loud! At the top of her lungs! Oh yes she did!
“Mom! What the hell is wrong with you?”
“What? I bet it’s all shriveled now!”
I won’t even go into the discussions that followed. Poor Picket would swoon right off her chair. I’m not sure she could last 30 minutes around my family before calling out to Jesus to save her and all of us from the sin of loud and obnoxious crudeness.
Did I just write all of this just about getting into the water? Yep, I sure did. Sorry about that, but it truly is an experience. And we did dare my 21-year-old nephew, Jeffrey to dive in. And he did it! He went from burning hot to ice cold in .2 seconds. He said he was pretty sure his heart stopped for a moment there.
*****Edited to add*****
*Bitch of the Week:
This week's honoree is Jill! My loving, wonderful sister, Jill.
The second time we ventured to the water, I went down the steps first. BIG mistake. BIG. As I was squealing and whining about not being able to get in, Jill took it upon herself to push me in!!! In slow motion, I felt myself tipping forward, and the entire
two secondstime it took to get dunked, I yelled "Biiiiiiiiittttttcccccccccccccchhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!". My mother thought this was the utmost in hilarity. I guess it was. Kudos to you sis, but I'll get ya back when you least expect it!
Why is it that the kids don’t seem to have the same problem getting in water that cold? I mean, look at them! Do they look frozen to you?
Brother Jeff refused to get in the water. He said it’s skanky with all the people that swim in it. I tried explaining the nature of the springs, how the water is constantly turned over by spilling over into the river, but nothing I said would persuade him to cool off.
So he looked like this much of the time.
The kids were cool and happy though!
Mikayla fell in love with this tree, and spent a lot of time just standing on its thick, old trunk.
Poopy Pants was a happy camper, having so many people to entertain her. Here she is with nephew Jeffrey. Isn’t he handsome?
And Mark “manned” the grill.
Mom cut up some watermelon.
With a very sharp knife, I might add.
Oops! There’s Mikayla being a monkey again!
There was some standing around.
And some relaxing.
And a pinata!!!!!
Then Jill had the bright idea to blindfold cousin Nicky and give him the bat. Nothing good could come of this, right?
Had to do a little editing here because Jill bent down in front of the camera.
In her bathing suit. ‘Nuff said.
Sister in law Pat brought her game of Farkle and I decided we should strike up a game. I lasted 3 rounds before I started yawning. If it wasn’t for the various, “Excuse me, I just farkled” jokes I wouldn’t have made it that far. This game is boring!
But present time is fun! And boy did she make out like a bandit! So did Alexa for that matter.
And cake! Let’s not forget the cake!. Of course a nice storm had just rolled in so it was impossible to light the candles. So, we kind of made due.
Did I mention Strudel came too?
One of my favorite times of this day was when I took a solitary walk over to the river docks and just leaned against the railing, watching people fish for brim with hot dogs on their lines. My eyes were constantly scanning for an alligator or two since they are very prevalent here.
This was my view straight ahead.
And to my right.
This is where the springs empties out into the river.
It took quite a while, but finally, there he was in all his 10-12’ glory. Oh my, I just stood there in awe, hoping against hope that he’d turn and come in my direction. But it was not to be. To even get this picture I had to use the 16x digital zoom.
Is he not amazing? I stood watching him move gracefully through the water for quite a long time. The family thought perhaps I’d been abducted, but how could I just walk away from a sight as beautiful as that?
Seeing this big guy was just the icing on the cake of a very great day.
Soon it was time to say goodbye to each other and head home. Madison went home with Jill and is celebrating her (and my) birthday today with a trip to the movies and whatever else Jill dreams up. Tomorrow they’re off to Sea World to hang with Shamu. Happy Birthday Pincess! (Yes, that’s how I spelled it because that’s how I pronounce it when speaking to Madison) I love you!!!!!!
It was a long and wonderful day.
Yeah Stru, I think we all felt just like that.
Go visit Jill, yada yada yada. Love me, love her, yada yada yada.