I’ve always been a bit of a dreamer, preferring to trip the lights fantastic and drift off into my imagination rather than deal with the hefty weight of mundane tasks. Don’t get me wrong, I am a workaholic, get my responsibilities done before deadline, and love a good old fashioned debate.
But my favorite thing to do is stare at the sky and think of how I could start the first sentence to the next great American novel. I also like to think of dangerous dramatic situations my husband and I find ourselves in, and imagine the suspenseful outcomes. Frequently, I will tell Joe these tales, and he looks at me shaking his head saying, “That wouldn’t happen,” and he’s right because though I am a dreamer, I’m also an extreme representative for Safety First. Honestly, I should be the Safety First mascot. Not safe? Nope. Take my name off that list. Do not sign me up. Not doing it. I get nervous if Joe sweeps me into his arms and lifts me off the ground; I’m like that Halloween cat – all screeched up, “Put Me Down.” Reality = scary. Make believe = safe.
Thus, my imagination runs wild with me, I spend a lot of time there because I’m afraid to do a lot of real life things. So it should come as no surprise that as a small child I was fairly certain, thanks to my over active imagination, that there was a strong possibility that I was a mermaid. I should also note that the movie “Splash” was exceptionally popular during this time as well. Oh, did I love that movie. I wanted to swim off, “One fine day,” and find my soulmate, just like Madison had in the film; and I wanted to do it with a tail.
It all made so much sense to me. My mom had told me that she had started swimming lessons with me at the age of three months — little water baby. She said, “You were a natural.” Well, duh. Probably because I was a mermaid. It was the only explanation.
But how in the world was I going to ever get these stupid human legs to transition to a beautiful mermaid tail? Oh, wow, that was ponderous. Hours were spent thinking about this conundrum. Then I remembered a pivotal scene in “Splash,” the one where Madison added salt to her bath!
Eureka! I was off! I dashed to the kitchen and took the entire container of Morton salt, and prepped the saltiest bath you could imagine. I sat there, in the hot, thick, salty water. And … nothing. Nothing happened. I could not believe it and was crestfallen. However, I didn’t let this destroy me and decided to try it again the next day, and the next day … and the next day.
Meanwhile, my mom could not figure out where the salt had gone. An entire container of Morton salt was a really weird item to go missing. “Chuck, where’s the salt?” she would ask my dad. He would simply reply, “In the kitchen where it always is,” to which mom would counter back, “I am in the kitchen, where I always am, and the salt is not in here with me.” Oh, mom was mad. She used a ridiculous amount of salt in almost everything she cooked, still does to this day — honestly, I can’t believe they both haven’t had strokes — and always had salt on hand.
Mom was out there grilling everyone: “Katey, do you know where the salt is,” and Katey would say, “In the kitchen?” these “in the kitchen” answers were not the replies mom was looking for. Eventually she just threw her hands in the air, blamed “one of us blasted kids” and drove to town for more salt.
I used the entire container of Morton salt that winter. My skin was the driest it has ever been in my life, and I did not turn into a mermaid.
It’s one of my greatest tragedies. Eventually, this dream died and I transitioned to another, one about flying. Thankfully, my fear of heights kept me from bringing any of those fantasies to life, and I’ve stayed relatively safe on the ground … but my head is still a bit in the clouds.