Some people's idea of fun
“You goin’ in?”
That was the question of the moment. “You goin’ in?”
It was a reasonable thing to ask. The air was frigid and the sea was slate cold. Those on shore were bundled up, scarves, boots, gloves, hats. Taking off any of these articles of clothing did not seem like a good idea. As one man said as he was getting ready to shed his outer layers, “Doing this makes me feel like I’m stupid.”
The crowd had gathered at the Town Beach for the annual Polar Bear Plunge, an island tradition. It was almost noon, and even though it would all be over in a few minutes, the expectation was mounting as the clock headed toward 12. The members of the Leo Lions Club, the youthful arm of the Lions Club, were handing out hot drinks on the Beach Pavilion’s back porch.
As the clothing came off, some did jumping jacks and hugged their towels before hitting the water.
“It’s really cold!” someone said.
“You guys drag me in if I stop,” someone else said. “No, we’re going to hold hands, okay?” “Okay!”
There were others giving words of encouragement. “You can do it.” Then the crowd slowly started to make its way to the edge of the water. The running began, as did the shouts and screams; there was splashing, laughing. While some ran in and ran out, others took their time, leisurely walking into the surf and walking out as casually as can be — as though it was just another day at the beach.
“I’m doing it because I want to say I did it, and I did it,” said Wendy Bouvier, who divides her time between Connecticut and Block Island. “This is the second year I can say that I did it.”
“I wanted the T-shirt,” said Marti Dunne. “That’s the truth.”
Her daughter Julia mentioned that it was her third year. “I’m proud and owning it,” she said. “I think it’s fun.”