My friend Dan was sorting my mail one day last week, while he was here for an exercise session for Dora, when he opened an envelope that contained the annual report from the Gahanna Y. I instructed him to toss it, because I don’t go to the trouble of reading annual reports, but he ignored me and asked me, “Have you ever wanted to be a PlayBoy Magazine Centerfold?” Of course I hadn’t so I couldn’t imagine what he was getting at. Then he explained that a picture of Dora and me at the Y was the centerfold for the annual report. That was a total surprise for me, and I was delighted. Later that day, Hulalor, pronounced you-lay-la, the woman at the front desk at the Y who has always been extremely nice to me and very helpful, brought over an arrangement of chocolate covered fruit, a gift from the staff at the Y to cheer me after my surgery. No wonder they’ve been treating me like a celebrity. I guess, in a way, I am. I mean how many people get to be the centerfold of an annual report? I had given a speech 2 years ago and also this year for their kickoff for their annual fund-raiser and appeared in the accompanying video, so it was all coming together now. It will be several weeks before I can get back into a swim suit, because of my recent spine surgery, but it will not be a moment too soon. I love to tswim at the Y. Everyone there is so attentive to my needs. I don’t have to worry about finding an empty lane, because Hulalor walks with me into the pool area, spots an empty lane, and finds a bench nearby for me to secure Dora too. If there isn’t an empty lane, she asks the swimmer if he or she minds sharing a lane with someone else. Most people are very cooperative. I really can’t share, because I don’t swim in a straight line, and hugging one side or the other is stressful, and one of the most enjoyable parts of swimming for me is the lack of stress. Then while I’m sitting on the edge, adjusting to the coolness of the water, Hulalor goes and gets a noodle and set of water weights for me. Part of my routine is to use them for warmup exercises before my laps. Once I’m all set, she returns to her post at the front desk. Dora knows her way to the hot tub, which is my next stop, and to the lockerroom, our next to the last stop. She knows where my locker is and how to find an empty shower stall. She has learned that if the curtain is closed, she is not to poke her head inside. Once I’m in the tiny changing room, and have secured her to a hook, she likes to poke her head out of my stall and watch everybody as they walk by. I’m sure she gets a little pat on the head there, but that’s okay. After I’m dressed, and we’ve deposited my towels into a big barrel, we head out to the lobby to wait for my ride with the Red Cross. If I have time, Hulalor fixes me a cup of coffee, and if someone has brought in cake for a special occasion, she insists that I have a slice. More often than not, she tells me when the Red Cross van has pulled up. When Ulalor is not available, one of the other front desk ladies jumps in to take her place in treating me like royalty. I bet you’d go to the Y more often if you became a celebrity too. Give it a try. You might get to be a centerfold someday.


3 thoughts on “Centerfold

  1. What a wonderful post about the centerfold.

    From the tone of your writing, I guess you must be feeling better, and I surely hope so. Take a minute and bring me up to date if you can.

    I’ve been spending all m,y time at the dentist. Had a tooth pulled 2 weeks ago and a root  canal last week, and more fun to come. On the bright side, it’s only two more weeks till the annual old weird movie festival, and I’m looking forward to seeing my friends from out of state. Meanwhile, lawn mowing time is here, and I’m glad to be retired so I can do a little bit every day.

    I think I told you I had a disagreement with the people who wanted to publish my Western, so I’m back to sending out query letters on that and the Hamlet book. And for some reason I started writing something else, and it’s going quite well. The characters keep doing and saying things I wasn’t expecting, and I sometimes wonder how it will all turn out, but I enjoy the ride.

    You be well, write when you can and scratch Dora behind the ear for me.

  2. Loved your story. Hope you’ll be back to the YMCA soon.
    I’m still planning to come over to your house and run an errand or do something nice for you.
    Happy Mother’s Day
    Mary Alice Wentzel

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