T shouldn’t have even brought it up, but it was too late now, he could see that.
In his mind’s eye, Kevin was already jumping.
Kevin pulled over and put it in “park” on the side of the highway. Early afternoon on a bright summer day, there wasn’t much traffic.
T looked at him.
“Well?” Kevin said, “We jumpin’ or what?”
T looked out his passenger window, out over the St. Croix River, the natural border between eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin.
The jump into the St. Croix River – just outside of Taylor’s Falls – was on the Wisconsin side.
Their work van was now on the side of the road in Minnesota.
“It’s over there,” T offered.
“What am I, made of money? They charge $3 for parking over there!”
“So what, we’re gonna walk?”
Kevin opened the driver’s door.
“No,” he said, grinning. “We’re gonna swim.”
He slammed the door.
The jump off the cliff at Taylor’s Falls is, according to my brother Kevin, 59 feet and four inches. You must jump at least 15 feet out and away in order to clear the granite ledge, just two feet under the water’s surface.
Kevin is a man of experience and strange nunchuk ways. I never question his sources.
Five minutes later, bare-chested, their shirts folded and placed atop their shoes, they stood on the edge of the St. Croix.
“You first,” Kevin said.
And he pushed T into the water.
In hindsight, of course, the current of the river should’ve been taken into account before getting into the water.
Because it’s hard to swim straight across a river.
The story of The Swimming is best heard from the source. It involves wild gesticulation, shivering, and a graphic description – including a fascinatingly inappropriate visual aid – regarding the surprising difference between air temperature and the temperature of a rapidly flowing river.
So we’ll skip over that.
They swam. They jumped. And they lived.
And they were much more tired on the swim back to the van than on the original trip.
But this time, they took into consideration the current.
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