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Seniors ride some tasty waves

September 09, 2006|by TARA REILLY

Williamsport - Thelma Barney returned with news after skimming the water on a Sea-Doo personal watercraft.

Hands clasped around the driver, Timothy Berry, Barney said she had broken a record among her group for the number of times riding the Sea-Doo.

"Four years a row," Berry shouted out.

Not bad for a 91-year-old.

Barney was one of several seniors from Williamsport Retirement Village to go for a ride on a personal watercraft Friday on the Potomac River.

The outing to the Dam No. 4 area of the C&O Canal National Historic Park is an annual event. Friday marked the event's 10th year.

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Berry, the village's administrator, said the seniors love the trip.

"Thelma has looked forward to this since June," Berry said. "They really do look forward to it, and it's just a joy."

Berry said he got the idea to take seniors out on the water after buying a Sea-Doo in 1996. His then 2-year-old daughter loved riding with him, so he thought seniors might like it too.

He thought it would be a safe way for the seniors to do something different, but fun, Berry said.

Not only does the event make for nice recreation, he said the seniors receive extra attention that they might not be used to.

It was Waunita Dellinger's first time on a personal watercraft.

"At my age? Why not," Dellinger, 83, said shortly after her ride.

"It was just great, exciting, fun," she said.

Beulah Phillips, 95, said she's gone been on a Jet Ski before and enjoys the ride.

"I like water," Phillips said. "I think it's fun."

Jackie Rogers smiled big and waved as the personal watercraft she was sitting on pulled away from the boat launch.

It wasn't apparent that Rogers is afraid of the water. She said she doesn't swim.

"I really enjoyed the ride," she said. "I'm real proud of that."

To work up the courage to take the ride, Rogers said she kept telling herself she wasn't scared.

"I had to keep it in mind that I'm not afraid anymore," she said.

Her self-preparation paid off.

"I loved it," Rogers said. "I'm ready to go again anytime they say go."

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