There we were, sitting inside in relative warmth, while outside it was cold and windy and rainy too. The sofa was cozy, the hot chocolate was hot, and the puppy curled up beside me was doing a good job of keeping my feet warm.
I don’t like cold weather because my feet get cold, and I hate having cold feet. Maybe that’s why God created puppies, especially soft and fuzzy ones like Ellie the Miniature Schnauzer. Soft and fuzzy puppies are excellent foot warmers.
There’s another thing you should know about Mini Schnauzers. They do not particularly like water, especially when it’s of the cold and wind-driven kind.
“We don’t like water much at all,” Ellie said, looking at me with those brown puppy eyes, “unless it’s served chilled in our water dishes. We definitely don’t like it when it blows on our delicate puppy ears. So I’m okay with sitting here for as long as you want, or at least till the mail truck comes down the street and I have to get up and bark for a while.”
Ellie and I have conversations like that all the time. This looked like it was going to be an interesting one, too, and I’m sure that’s how it would have gone had it not been interrupted by the ringing of Wife of Mine’s cell phone.
“Hello?” she said, answering. She listened intently for a moment. Then she turned to me and held out the phone in my direction.
“It’s for you,” she said. “It’s your mom.”
I took the phone and said “hello” myself, but rather than the usual pleasantries I got a question instead:
“You’re gonna do what???”
Uh oh, I thought.
“Hi there!” I said to my mom.
Again came the question:
“You’re not really going to do that, are you?” The words were delivered in that unique tone that only a mom who thinks one of her kids is contemplating something truly dumb can use.
“Yep,” I replied. “Afraid so.”
Ellie looked up at me and rolled her doggy eyes, as if to say, “You’d better listen to your momma. She knows things. But you probably won’t, will you?”
Probably not, I thought in Ellie’s direction.
“And you’re going to do it anyway, aren’t you?” Ellie added.
About that time my daughter walked through the front door. She was visiting us and had just gotten back from the store.
“Hi Dad!” she said. “Can you help me bring in groceries? And did you call the scuba place?”
Yes, scuba. As in underwater.
So the rumor is now public, and it’s true. Here’s how it happened.
Among the presents awaiting me under the Christmas tree a couple of months back was a stack of boxes to me from my daughter, all tied up in a neat ribbon. The idea was to open them one at a time, from the top of the stack down, and as I unwrapped each one, a theme began to emerge. An underwater slate…a set of neoprene dive gloves…a mask…a snorkel…fins…
And there was a certificate too, an elegant piece of paper announcing that, yes, I’d been gifted with a complete and comprehensive scuba class. All I had to do was to call and sign up for one of the classes.
“So did you call, Dad?” my daughter asked. “We have to get you signed up, you know!”
Ellie looked at me again and said, clear as day, “Scuba involves going underwater. Underwater is for fish. You are not a fish.” Yeah, but I’m teachable! I replied. It’ll be a great adventure!
The fact is that I’ve been enamored with the idea of scuba diving ever since, as a child, I spent untold hours watching “Sea Hunt” on the black-and-white Philco TV by the window in the den. Yes, black and white. Can you imagine such a thing? It was primitive, all right. But those grainy, low-def images sparked the youthful adventurer in me. Someday, I remember saying, I’ll have to try that scuba thing myself.
Now, about five decades later, “someday” had arrived.
“Are you really going to do that?” my mom’s voice asked yet again over the phone.
Yep, I probably am.
“No ‘probably,’ Dad!” my daughter said. “It’s a definite go. In fact, I’ve made us an appointment to go over to the scuba place on Saturday for your orientation!”
Yes, when that one makes up her mind … So we went. I got fitted for my mask and fins, and I upgraded to the snorkel that’s said to keep the water where it belongs. I scheduled my class dates, too.
This particular adventure will unfold over the next few months. I’ll keep you posted and let you know how it goes.
Look out, ocean. Here I come!