For What It’s Worth

A cold tradition

Just thinking about it makes me shiver. A flight of goose bumps just made a V-line up my ribcage. Except in a drinking glass, cold water is not for me. And certainly not being dumped in cold lake water with the temperature in the 50s—the air temp not the water.

But tossed into a lake in the dead of night is what happened to my grandson last Friday, the night before his graduation from college. Apparently, it made his heart pump (at least, he seemed pumped about it when telling the story Saturday), but hitting that cold water would have made my old heart stop dead cold. My four by-passes installed last June just picked up their tempo as the thought of being doused danced briefly in my mind.

Being thrown into a cold lake in the middle of the night wearing only your underwear may be perceived as fun if you are the tosser and not-so-fun if you are the tossee (or mother of the tossee). Whatever your perception, Friday night’s splashdown was a continuation of a time-honored tradition at Grace College in Indiana, where my grandson Matt has attended the last four years.

For however many years it has been, the tradition at Grace is that when a couple announces their engagement prior to graduation the man is corralled by a group of friends (with friends like this, who needs enemies?) and tossed into the lake adjacent to the campus. The man rushes ashore (certainly, I would rush with water that cold) and runs onto campus to ring a large bell. There, he is greeted by his fiancée with a big, warm towel.

At mid-week Matt and his girlfriend, Hannah, announced their engagement. Friday night shortly after 11 p.m. a group of guys showed up at Matt’s place, grabbed him, stripped him down to his underwear, loaded him into a pickup and drove around campus honking. Then, they headed to the lake, escorted him to the end of a pier, and tossed him into the water. Pardon me, but I just paused to shiver.

I don’t know for sure what the temperature was but it had to be in the 50s. Matt didn’t know what the water temperature was, either; but, when telling us about it the next day, he said it was “COLD!”

I can’t say with certainty, but my aversion to cold water might somehow have caused me to levitate just above the water and never splash down. At the least, I would have walked on the water.

But, being a good sport, Matt took it like a man, charged out of the lake and raced to the bell. Had his track coach been there, he might have discovered that Matt could run faster than he had ever imagined. Hannah had a towel ready when Matt reached the bell. She also had a kiss ready (that even beats a towel), though she said she was afraid of getting sick from kissing lips that had been in that dirty lake water. Last I checked, neither of them was ill, however.

With three children having graduated from high school and college (three bachelor’s, two master’s and one doctoral degree), four grandchildren having graduated from high school, three grandchildren having graduated from college (three bachelor’s, one master’s degree), and more graduations scheduled, I have had opportunity to experience some interesting things at graduation time.

But this was the first time a lake dunking had been part of the occasion. Since Matt thought it was fun, the event did not throw cold water on the overall occasion.

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2 Responses to For What It’s Worth

  1. Cindy says:

    I’m shivering with you! Brrrrrrrrrrr!

  2. hedgarhix says:

    Macho, macho man. It doesn’t ring my bell, but I’ll bet Matt in his wet undies rang Hannah’s.

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