Mrs. Kennedy loved to slalom water-ski and was always seeking a partner to ski in tandem. On day we were in the boat on a beautiful sunny day, when the waters were fairly calm. We were in the back of the boat - both of us in our bathing suits - when she turned to me with a glint in her eyes and said, “Mr. Hill, why don’t you ski with me? It would be a lot of fun.”
I had never been on water skis in my life and when I had seen her water-ski in Greece, it was the first time I’d ever seen this sport in person.
“Mrs. Kennedy, I hate to tell you, but I have never water-skied before.”
She looked at me incredulously: “Oh my goodnes, I thought everyone water-skied.”
She was dead serious. I laughed and said, “There wasn’t a lot of water for such activities where I grew up [in North Dakota], but after watching you, I would really like to learn.”
At the helm, [Agent] Jim Bartlett was snickering, trying to pretend not to listen to our conversation. Mrs. Kennedy turned to him and said, “Mr. Bartlett will help you learn, won’t you Mr. Bartlett?”
Grinning, Jim said, “Well, I’m not sure that Clint is teachable, Mrs. Kennedy, but I’ll certainly give it a try.”
With that I became the student and Jim Bartlett became the instructor. After I was off for the day, Jim and I practiced and practiced. My first attempts were disastrous…It was humiliating. Fortunately, Mrs. Kennedy was not a witness to my learning experience…
I finally managed to get up on one ski and was able to hold my own.
I tandem skied with Mrs. Kennedy several times, but I was no match for her. I fell far more frequently than she did and finally told her that, as the person responsible for her protection, I was probably better off staying in the boat. I sure as hell didn’t want to get in a situation where she had to come rescue me.