The Designated Survivor

Nature or nurture?  It’s an age-old question. I don’t profess to know the answer, but after today’s walk around the lake…I at least have an opinion….

I grew up on Catfish Island on Lake St. Claire in Michigan. It was really just a point of land at the mouth of the Clinton River, separated from the mainland by a bridged canal. Our house was on the river side, across the street was the bay side, and at the end of the road, Lake Ste. Claire. In the summer I fished in the river, swam and sailed on the bay, and fished and water-skied out in the lake off my dad’s cruiser (The Scruiser….but that’s another story….).

In the winter, I skated. In particularly cold years, I could skate all the way around the island. The river was protected by the wind, and usually became a glassy smooth surface for gliding on. I have fond memories of those years, and still have an inordinate attachment to water.

DH grew up in a….protected….home. A child of an inland suburb, his parents didn’t swim, ski, fish, boat, or anything else that were normal parts of my daily being, and were hesitant to let their only son near such a dangerous medium. In addition, he had a nearly fatal water accident at age 18. Accordingly, his reaction to water and water sports is certainly different from mine.

Today we took our daily hike around the lake about a mile from our house.  It is now completely frozen, and there were people and dogs strolling and skating across the glassy surface. I suggested that I ought to buy us some inexpensive ice skates so we could join the fun.

DH was having no part of it!  I could almost see him shudder at the thought. He jokingly said that if I insisted on walking across the frozen lake, he would have to stay on the trail and act as the “designated survivor.”

We have two dogs.  Ursula, the big brown dog, is a mutt of unclear heredity, but she LOVES the water. She swims in our small pond at home, runs through the sprinkler at every chance, and loves the lake in summer, when she goes for full immersion!  Buffy is a golden retriever mix. She looks the part, has the personality of a Golden and is in every way part of that breed—except when it comes to water.

While still a puppy, she fell off our back porch and landed in a shallow plastic swimming pool.  There was 3-4″ of water in it, and she was so shaken by the experience that she still-8 years later- will only dip a paw into any body of water, stooping to drink gingerly…..but she won’t go in.

Nature or nurture?  Ah well, when Ursula and I fall through the ice, we at least will have our “designated survivors” to go for help….