Helene was there
with a blanket she'd brought for me, but I didn't need it. One interesting
thing about swimming in frigid water is that you don't need a towel.
"Towels have a tendency to get hard and scratch you, anyway," said
Helene. The water on your body dries almost instantly. And you don't feel cold.
That sounds hard to believe, but when you come out of frigid water on a frigid
day, your skin feels warm. The blood is racing around your system and you feel
like you're glowing. You feel terrific.
great!" said a man who'd jumped in. Several onlookers had taken a plunge,
but none of them stayed in anywhere near as long as the Polar Bears. They were
I scooted up to
the trailer and changed back into my clothes with Kathleen Carty, the Winter
Carnival queen. She was hanging around in there with her court.
wasn't so bad," she said. "My feet got cold but that's all."
When I returned
to the water's edge, the Polar Bears were still in; they kept getting out and
going back in. There were newspaper reporters and people from TV interviewing
them and a lot of photographers taking pictures; the Polar Bears were used to
that. Pablo wandered around the crowd with the chunk of ice on his head.
"How do you
feel?" Al asked, putting his arm around me.
never felt cold for a second!"
tell our secret," he said, grinning. "You know, you were really good.
No qualms. You did an excellent job."
Some of the other
Polar Bears came over to congratulate me, and if I'd just been awarded a
Pulitzer Prize, I couldn't have felt prouder.
Helene came out
of the water. I told her, "You know, you don't have to wait to come back to
be a water bug. You already are one. You can walk out of anything."