Jumping into a Frozen-Over Lake While Wearing a Swimsuit

I didn’t really have anything sensible to say after jumping into an ice-cold Lake Okabena in the middle of January. If I’d been entirely sensible, I probably wouldn’t have participated in the Deep Freeze Dip in the first place.

But together, the 30-plus crazy people raised more than $40,000 for the Southwest Minnesota Honor Flight on Saturday, just by agreeing to jump into the lake, and that made the effort seem sane. After all, many of the veterans we were raising money for had gotten shot or at least, shot at, by enemy soldiers during World War II.

I’ve experienced immersion in cold water before, and I’m pretty sure it’s better than being shot.

The worst part about the jump was probably waiting for it, while standing in the 2 inches of cold water on top of the lake. I didn’t actually have to do this. Every time I came out of the ice house while other people were jumping into the lake, the cold water stung my feet badly enough that I had to go back into the ice house.

Finally, all the other women had already gone, so I left my warm shelter and stood outside. The gentleman at the front of the line allowed me to go ahead of him (thank you! I owe my toes to you!) and suddenly, I found myself about to leap into a hole cut into a frozen lake.

I had to take my glasses off for the jump, which is always unsettling, and after I had, I couldn’t actually tell where the carpet on the ice ended and the water began. I had to test the "ground" with my toe to figure out where the edge was before I could jump in. I didn’t want to fall in sideways and bonk my head on the ice and die of either head trauma or severe embarassment.

My first words, once I started climbing up the ladder, were "Uff da." Only it was too cold, and I shivered, and it came out "Uff…ff…ff da."

This was a relief to me; I thought for sure I was going to say something much less printable. I was worried I’d have to find a "beep!" sound effect for our video.

You can see me, Worthington mayor Alan Oberloh, radio guru Chad Cummings and almost everyone else who participated in the Deep Freeze Dip on video at http://www.dglobe.com/event/videos/ and a photo gallery of participants at http://www.dglobe.com/event/photogalleries/tag/photo%20galleries/.

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