How it Started

When I was 12, I found a blank ledger book. It was a treasure beyond treasure to me. I debated and debated about what to do with it - it had to be something special. Finally I decided to make a list of things I wanted to do and places I wanted to see in my life and then cross them off when I had accomplished them. At first they were simple things, but soon I was adding dramatic things, impossible things, but things still worth dreaming about. Oddly enough, putting them on the list somehow made them attainable. I have kept the book and updated the list my entire life. Here is the story behind some of the entries - successes and failures, embarrassing and proud moments, laughter and tears - the ridiculous to the sublime!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Play Catch with a Dolphin - DID IT

I had two dolphin related items on my list, Ride a Dolphin and Pet a Dolphin.  I've pet one, but never ridden one, but I did have a chance to play with one once.  We were at an aquatic park in Florida and went to see the Dolphin Show.  When we got to the pool, we discovered we had read the program wrong and the grandstand was empty.  We stood at edge of the pool for a few minutes watching the trainers feeding one of the Dolphins, but the place was really quiet.  We'd been walking around in the sun and it was cool and shady there, so we hung around a bit.

The trainers went inside and one of the Dolphins swam over to where we were standing and poked his head out of the water to look at us.  It was cute and we laughed.  He laughed back at us, then disappeared returning in a few seconds with a rubber ball balanced on his nose.  He was putting on a show just for us.  Then he gently tossed the ball right to me.  I tried to catch it, but I missed and it fell back into the water.  He tossed it again.  When I missed the ball for the third time, he dove under the water, shot back to the surface and whacked the ball hard with his tail. It went tearing into the grandstand like a missile.  I climbed the steps and retrieved the ball and tossed it back to him and we had a nice game of catch.  We tossed the ball back and forth several times.  But, if I missed it more than twice, I got the tail whack treatment that had me climbing the steps to retrieve the ball.  He trained me really fast, I didn't miss after the second punishment!

 It was an amazing moment standing there alone just tossing a ball around with a Dolphin much like I would do with our dog in the backyard.  He looked at me, talked to me and played with me just for the fun of it.  I had no fish or other rewards - we were just playing.  It was one of those surreal moments that when we walked away we started to wonder, "Did that really happen?"  Glad Steve was snapping photos!  Unforgettable.

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