Farrah Fawcett wings and belly flops

Published 9:24 am Thursday, July 2, 2009

There’s nothing like a scorching summer sun to remind me of a cool swim in Beeland Park Pool, dripping bathing suits, and the smell of Coppertone Suntan Oil—and I’m talking about the pure stuff.

Ah, these hazy, lazy days of summer—I love them and then again, I don’t. It serves no purpose whatsoever to see a forty-something female with her makeup sliding down her face and into a pool on the sidewalk—it just doesn’t. And please don’t ask me to walk all the way to my mailbox—all 20 feet—in this heat just to get my mail. If I can’t pull up to it like a drive-thru window at McDonald’s, I figure I don’t need it anyway.

This week has been one of several losses—Michael Jackson, Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett.

Email newsletter signup

When I was 12 years old, I couldn’t wait to get my hair cut into “wings” just like Farrah’s. All the girls had them. It was socially mandatory.

And, so, with my Farrah Fawcett wings I would go to the Beeland Park pool in Greenville and swim all afternoon during the summer, hoping to catch the eye of the cute lifeguard—how old was he anyway? Sixteen? Seventeen? All I know is he was cute, and there I was with my Farrah Fawcett wings and fair skin and freckles. Nope, I didn’t stand a chance.

My parents made me take swimming lessons when I was little, which was a good thing. However, I don’t recall quite mastering the butterfly stroke very well, but I could dog paddle like nobody’s business.

The day finally came, though, when our swimming instructors MADE us jump off the little diving board. There you were, scooting your feet all the way to the end of the diving board, dripping water everywhere, wondering just how far down your sagging bathing suit was going to go before you finally just fell into the water face-first. At least that was my experience.

But the day we had to jump off the high dive almost brought everything to a screeching halt. You see, an extreme fear of heights will do that to a person.

“Jump, Regina! You can do it!”

I climbed those silver steps slowly. I’m sure somewhere in the recesses of my mind I could hear, “Dead girl walking….”

“Come on, Regina! Jump! Just do it!”

(Didn’t Nike market that saying years later?)

I counted to ten over and over in my head trying to get up my nerve. I sucked in my breath, ran to the edge and slid to a halt. Nope. Can’t do it. Not yet. Let’s try again.

I walked back to the stair rail, turned around, counted to ten again, sucked in my breath, and took off. Out went my arms, my Farrah Fawcett wings went flying, my legs did whatever they wanted, and then it happened.


You know, I don’t know what hurts worse after a belly-buster off a high dive—your belly or your pride.

I think it’s your pride. So much for trying to impress that cute lifeguard anymore.

Samson, my 21-pound tomcat, has decided that he wouldn’t be caught dead dog paddling, for obvious reasons.

As for a belly-flop, he manages those every single day—right on the couch.