Belly Flopped

I Originally Posted this August 18, 2023 on Social Media after we returned home from our vacation in Maine • By Lesa Quale Ferguson

Today, I spent some time on the phone with my friend Brigid’s family. It’s left me feeling…too much. I decided to post pictures and tell a story of my favorite time on our vacation (besides the lobster boil) which was THE BEACH because it was funny and Brig loved the beach (we are after all Lake Erie babes) and being funny. She was hilarious.

We love beaches as a family. I take credit for this. On our honeymoon, I fell asleep on Virginia Beach and then sat up to see a porpoise pod swim near the shore. I leaned over to romantically cozy up to Dave only to fall into air. He had left. I found him sitting in the car reading a newspaper with the air conditioning on. This did not bode well for our marriage but slowly over time I enticed him with frisbees and hats and shelters. By the time Sam was 2, we were all frolicking.

As I gained more weight, I became self conscious. But, how could I choose insecurity over joy? My insecurities have robbed me of too much fun.

For the Fergs, swimming and the beach is a full contact sport. Finding swimsuits that don’t plunge or creep for a woman of my ample portions is impossible. I need fortification and undergirding. I still haven’t found a good bathing costume.

Even more than the sheer love of the beach is immersing myself in frigid waters for my back. It’s amazing.

On our first visit to a Maine beach (Ogunquit), we pulled off the road for a quick respite (which given the one lane roads the excursion caused quite the delay). I wasn’t prepared to swim so we just dipped our toes. The second beach, I put my layers of bathing suit under my clothes.

We went to Sand Beach in Acadia. The waves were huge (these pictures don’t do it justice) but I was determined to go under.

Jan and Dave Ferguson thought I was crazy. I bullied my way into the roiling surf but once past it I got hit by a wave so hard I was tossed. Dave said I “starfished” or as my gram used to say, “ass over tea kettle.” All the layers of my bathing costume filled with sand which I later found out isn’t sand per say but tiny, broken shells – one of two beaches in the world like this, extra grit. As I tried to reconnoiter, I made my second big mistake which was posted on a sign I didn’t read, “Don’t turn your back to the ocean.” Bam! Smacked down. Legs out from under me. This time I could feel my bathing costume getting dragged off my body, out to sea and for everyone to see. I didn’t know whether to let the ocean take me out and pull up my shorts or just belly flop on the beach. I tried to do both when I was hit for a third time.

I crawled back on the beach with one hand and the other hitching my suit together. I looked up to see a woman holding her phone, obviously taking a video of me.

So, if you see a YouTube video, yep that’s me. I may not be self conscious on the beach but I don’t usually allow pictures to be taken let alone posted on YouTube. I am owning the moment – there is one here that Dave took right before he came to try to rescue me.

I don’t know how much rescue he could have provided even if he had gotten to me in time. His mother said to me at our wedding, “Dave is not a strong swimmer.” I remember thinking, “good to know in case I want to Shelly Winters him over a boat like in ‘A Place in the Sun.'”

My favorite part was that Sam thought I was bad ass. He had no intention of swimming because he didn’t wear his trunks but then he saw me take on the mighty Atlantic!

He just couldn’t be out starfish-ed by his mama.

about author

Lesa Quale Ferguson

Writer + Picture Taker ^ Image-Maker & Design Web-ber #Ma

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