Lac La Belle was calling them.

The Golden Girls of Summer stretched for their ensuing swim in the early morning sunlight, stacked assorted noodles in their rolling bins, and headed out to the lake. In tank suits and tankinis, robes, flip flops, water shoes, and a host of bright French terry cover-ups, they glided into the steps of the balmy water away from their Lake Terrace Apartments doorstep.

“Now this is living,” said instigator Mary S., who encourages residents to join her for a languid float each sun-filled morning. Together, the women attempt to straddle a Styrofoam floatie, the float spins off, they plunge, emerge, and laugh uproariously. “They can hear us laughing across the lake,” said resident and self-proclaimed synchronized swimmer Sally B. “They think we’re a little loony. But they know we’ll never drown in two feet of water.”

COVID-19, politics, protests, and bad news are far behind them when they’re out on the water. “It’s just about floating,” Sally said. They brandish noodles at skidoos causing waves, yell to passing sailors and encircle paddle boarders with a backstroke. “They’ll be talking about the LTA mermaids for decades,” Sally winked.

The women grumble that suits hadn’t dried out since the day before, had shrunk since last year, had lost shape, form, and elasticity.  “They either don’t cling enough or cling way too much,” said Sally, pulling at her hemline. “Oh, quit worrying about it,” laughed new recruit Gayle D. “We’re all just beautiful.”

“I think more gals should join us,” said promoter Marge G. “We’re out here every day at 10 a.m., except on Sunday of course. It’s very refreshing. We float around and talk and laugh. That’s about all that’s expected.”

“The women asked me to join them and I thought it was a pretty good idea!” said Gayle. “There’s something special about being in the water. Be it physical, emotional, or spiritual,” advocate Mickey L. added. “And it’s fun. We need fun right now.”

The entourage treads through the lake’s sand bottom, up the new stair ramp, grab beach towels, and gather supplies for the trek home. “We’re all in this water together,” Mary pats herself down. “It’s about celebrating summer. And about just floating with each other.”

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