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June, 2010

My Favorite Shark Attack

by Larry

(Thanks much to my sister for the inspiration of this piece. She suggested interesting or amusing travel related stories.)

In Austin right now the heat index is over 100°F, and in Las Vegas, where I was recently, it was above 110°F. So it is not surprising that, as I think of past journeys, I grow nostalgic for pleasant times in cooler climes. For other reasons, I greatly enjoyed my time with a nephew and his family in Las Vegas a couple weeks ago, but spring, summer, and fall there cannot be described as mild.

On the other hand, even a heat wave in Turtle Lake, WI, where this travel memory is set, is generally only in the 80s or, at most, the low 90s.

I took my first vacation up there along with my wife, Valerie, in September, 2003. We were visiting Val's sister, Vic, her husband, Tom, their first child, Lucas, and his sister, Isabella. Lucas' and Isabella's sister, Amie, would be born the following December. Val's parents, Evelyn and John, were visiting then as well, and Tom, though busy some of the time with his large animal veterinary duties, would join us when he could, so we were already a large and happy group when, one warm afternoon, Vic suggested we drive over to a nearby lake to go swimming. As best I recall, it was in fact the Turtle Lake for which the town is named.

Once we got there, we simply pulled off the road and parked on the shoulder. A narrow grassy and sandy beach area allowed for several to set up little lawn chairs and enjoy the cool breeze off the water, which was cold.

But a few of us were not content to just watch. Isabella, then only two, waded near the beach under Evelyn and John's supervision, who played with her there. But Vic, Lucas, and I decided to "go deep." Soon it became apparent that I was in fact in big trouble, under attack from a vicious and violent lake shark!

Valerie waded about in the shallows but seems to take her camera with her everywhere and so was able to capture the National Geographic moment as I was mercilessly attacked by a cold-blooded and large-toothed monster, my four-year-old nephew, Lucas.

Though then quite pregnant with Amie, Vicky eventually came to my rescue, and so I survived to deal with later shark encounters of the fiercest kind.

We all soon thereafter headed home, much refreshed and invigorated.

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