Lifeguarding fit neatly between spring and fall semesters at the university. Captain of the swim team, Arnie was a natural. It was a typical day at the beach. He was watching children build sandcastles while enjoying conversation with cute bikini-clad babes.
Arnie looked up when he heard people shouting. In the water he saw a man’s arms disappear as a wave came crashing down over him. He disappeared. Arnie swam toward him. With his arm around the man's chest he pulled him ashore. A circle of horrified people surrounded them. CPR was unsuccessful. It was too late. In those few minutes the word responsibility had taken on new meaning. One man was dead and another's life had changed forever.
Twenty years later, Arnie was sitting in his study grading essays. He was writing comments and critiques on each page when his son walked in.
"Dad, I'm thinking about what I should do this summer to earn some money. Any suggestions?" Joseph asked.
Arnie's reply was simple. "Mow lawns, son. Mow lawns."
Excerpts from Leroy Cooper's memoir as told to me during conversations that took place during the 2 years we knew each other. I also write humor, flash fiction, celebrity interviews, real and made up stories--see if you can guess which are which.