“come on Bildy let’s do it again”…

THE TOWER @ Cascade
There was a young guy that was a regular at Cascade Plunge that all of the other regulars there knew. I’ll call him Mikey! Mikey was a “Special Needs Child”. Mikey had “Downs Syndrome”. He was one of the most lovin’ kids you’d ever meet. He always talkin’ to someone, and I have to say, everyone I ever saw interactin’ with him were very nice to him. Mikey always called me “Bildy”. I have to admit he brought a lot of sunshine into my life. He touched many of us there. As we got older we had to sort of pay a little more attention when Mikey was around. He always wanted to be a part of what was goin’ on. He was a good swimmer considerin’ & liked goin’ off of the Low Divin’ Board. He never dove to my recollection, but would always come up spittin’ water & ask if we saw him dive? Of course we would always say yes & how good he was. Just the smallest of complements always put a smile on his face. Mikey was a few years older than most of us, short in stature, &
Very Strong. We would all kid with him when we saw him talkin’ to some of the girls there. If anyone asked who his Girl Friend was he would always point to or call the name of the girl he was talkin’ to at that time. And the girls would for the most part go along with it. He’d get red faced, embarrassed, & tell you how pretty she was. Many of the girls would hug him but most were weary of him huggin’em. Sometimes one of us guys would have to step and distract him while the girl would slip away. No harm done. One summer day, I’ll say I was 17 or 18 years old. By this time I was a Lifeguard. But this one day when I wasn’t workin, “On Duty”, several of us were goin’ off of “The TOWER”! Many of us would get a competition goin’. More showin’ off than anythin’. But all of us havin’ fun. Well, as my luck would have it, Mikey came up to me tellin’ me he was goin’ to go off of “The Tower”. It was a 5 Meter Platform if I remember correctly. He said he was goin’ to DIVE! I responded casually OooK! He disappeared, I later found out he had gone to tell his Current Girl Friend, I didn’t see who she was, to watch him, he was goin’ to DIVE off of “The Tower”. Well that drew the attention of the crowd and of course everyone was loudly cheerin’ him on. He came over to me and said “Bildy I’m goin’ to dive off of “The Tower” with you. Needless to say I was shocked. I didn’t know how I had won that opportunity. I asked “had you ever been off of “The Tower before”? “Ohh yeah” he replied. I cautiously said “well let’s go”! Really I just wanted to see how far this was goin’ to go. I explained to him that there was NO COMIN’ DOWN THE STEPS ALLOWED! Tryin’ my best to get him to back down. The crowd was gettin’ louder buildin’ his confidence. “Let’s go Bildy we can go together & hold hands” he said. I tried to explain to him we couldn’t dive holdin’ hands, again tryin’ to talk’em out of it. He wasn’t havin’ it. After many conversations on the way up of tryin’ to get him to back out I repeatedly told him there was NO WALKIN’ DOWN ALLOWED. OK Bildy let’s go, on up we slowly work our way to the TOP! Bless his heart, he had a Death Grip on the Safety Rail runnin’ across the back. Meanwhile others were comin’ up & goin off. Well the fear of goin’ off for the first time in his life had gripped him. We talked for about 30 minutes or more. I kept tellin’ him now he had to jump off. No backin out now. The crowd still cheerin’ him on. We finally reached an agreement. We were goin’ to just jump off & hold hands on the way down. The closer we got to the edge I could see the fear in him risin’. He was just shy of cryin’ when he said I’ll get on your back & we can jump off together. OH Hell Yeah! That’s just what I to do! I was 6 ft tall 160  lbs (maybe?), he was maybe 5 ft 5 ins & 200 plus. It finally came down to me agreein’ I let him on my back & finally after I built the courage, off we went. The damn Cheers went off the charts at that time. Let me tell ya, that was the longest, yet fastest trip to the water I ever made. 360 Plus pounds sailin’ to dooms day, straight down! The farther we dropped the higher he climbed up my back and the tighter his grip got around my neck got! Well we hit the water {{{{{ KER-SPLASH ! }}}}}. I felt this burnin’ pain to the back of my head, Mikey had turned loose in fear of drownin’ & tryin’ to surface, kickin’ me about the head & I’m doin’ my damn’est to surface & yet feelin’ like I was about to black out. The crowd was roarin’ & screamin’ Mikey! Mikey! Mikey! I realized I had surfaced, I reached to rub the back of my head as it was burnin’ bad. That was when I realized I was BLEEDIN”! Mikey had sunk his front teeth in the back of head when we hit the water. I finally got out of the water, someone seein’ I was bleedin’ brought me a towel. It was finally established I wasn’t goin’ to require stitches. I still don’t know who made that decision! Damn, I was really light headed & who walks up sayin’ “come on Bildy let’s do it again, come on Bildy”! In my most polite voice I told him “not today Mikey”…Hold’em Hook”!…..BG>   

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