And then there’s my swimming story.
Yes, I’m a grown male living in Florida, on a lake, water everywhere, and I can’t swim a stroke.
But I say with certainty that Just Wright Citrus would not exist today had I not taken swimming lessons.
So let’s dive (ha!) right in.
Most people apparently arrive from the womb able to swim. Me, I never could get the hang of it.
My parents had me take swimming lessons as a kid but all I remember about it was the fear of being in water over my head. I flunked out of second-grade swimming.
We dropped it after that, though as I got older, I always wished I could swim like everyone else.
Now, before we get any further, I don’t want to hear any of that, “Oh, just do it!” Seriously. You think if I could swim easily, I wouldn’t have done it already? I admire people who can just jump into any body of water like I’m jumping out of bed.
We all have different skill sets and limitations. Saying it’s no big deal to swim is like me telling someone who can’t spell to simply write it all out.
One day I was attending some event at Rock Crusher Canyon and the YMCA had a booth there. Somehow the topic came up about my lack of swimming and Gerry Mulligan, then the publisher of the Chronicle and the main force behind the YMCA fundraising, had the brilliant idea of me taking swimming lessons at the Y and us writing about it.
I was totally on board. I was closing in on 60 and really wanted to get swimming off the bucket list.
Many days I sit on the Just Wright Citrus World Headquarters front porch and watch teenagers jump from the Wallace Brooks Park pier into the lake. I envisioned myself doing that, finally free from this no-swimming albatross that had hung around my neck.
I really thought it would be that easy. Well, you know what they say: Devil’s in the details.
I met with the swimming instructor, a nice young man named Nick, who walked me through the paces. He patiently got me to the point where I could float…and that’s all she wrote.
End of story. Except…
One morning Nick and I were in the pool talking. Turns out we attend the same church and then he suggested I come to his men’s Bible study group.
Great idea, I said. When does it meet?
8 a.m. Saturday.
Gotta be kidding. Saturday morning? The one day of the week I can sleep in and not feel guilty about it.
I’ve always been a late sleeper. Days don’t start until 10 a.m. at the earliest and just shut the clock off on Saturday. I’m up very late on Friday and sleep very late on Saturday.
But I was looking for a Bible study group so the next Saturday I showed up groggy and half-asleep. I’ve attended that group most Saturdays ever since.
How is this connected to Just Wright Citrus?
Over time, Saturday mornings stretched to other days of the week. I stopped sleeping late and started the day very early, sometimes as the sun is rising. The last several months I started to visit friends in Spring Hill most mornings, which required me to leave the house at 7 a.m.
And Just Wright Citrus was conceived over Cattle Dog chats with numerous people very early in the morning. While not a coffee drinker, I’ve found these early morning talks enlightening and a great way to start the day.
So, from that day in the pool with Nick, I have totally changed my entire morning routine from sleeping in to participating. Each morning starts with prayer and meditation. My view from the bedroom window looks east, so as the sun rises over the lake, I can see silhouettes of deer wandering past the cypress trees through the yard.
My mornings, my days, are totally different.
I can’t swim but I gave it my best shot. Says the morning guy.
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Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 36 years.