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Summer is beginning to wind down but of course that takes a while here in Texas. We’ll more than likely be sweating still as we sit in the Friday night lights of October. It was only 104 yesterday and 103 the day before which felt “fallish” in the early mornings compared with last week. We saw 110 every day last week with 111, 112 and 113 thrown in the mix during a broiler of a week long stretch. Morning lows were 87-89 and humid. I did take advantage of those frigid early morning hours to visit the local fishing hole. Sand bass for ceviche were my target, but I can’t resist sitting over a deep July brush pile and snatching a few crappie for supper. That’s what I was doing on July 5th when visitors dropped by.
It was a local fire and rescue boat. They saw the BBKO Radio logo on the boat and paused long enough to say hello, and one fireman told me that he enjoyed the show each week. It was a short visit, but hit me like a truck when I casually asked if everyone had made it off the water safely the day before, July 4th. They solemnly replied “no, that’s why we’re here now”. The reality of what lied beneath me, somewhere in this popular ski/fish/water toy lake was heavy. They were searching with sonar for a 19 year old man that had been tossed from a sailboat on the evening of July 3rd. There were others on the boat that was blown over when a sudden and harsh storm kicked up that evening. The others, thankfully, made it back to the boat that night, but not this young man. What a tremendous loss. WHAT A TREMENDOUS LOSS!!!!
I just googled it a few minutes ago and found coast guard approved life jackets at Wal-Mart for four bucks. I also found one of the new lightweight inflatable, automatic vests for $35. A four dollar life jacket could have made this an unfortunate boating accident that all would have survived. I don’t know the details behind this tragedy, but I do know that rescuers reported the teenager was not wearing a vest. He became the fourth, FOURTH, person to drown on this lake between Mother's Day and the 4th of July. That’s four deaths in fifty one days, and that’s just on this one lake.
My mind was controlled that day by the situation. I had a tremendous urge to help in some way, but knew that keeping my distance from Fire and Rescue, and the numerous Game Warden boats that I was now noticing was all I could do. It was mid-afternoon when I noticed the Warden boats making a secure circle around the Fire and Rescue boat. A huge buoy marker had been dispatched to mark the exact spot of this terrible job that had to be done. I saw divers go overboard in the deep water, and I prayed. I prayed for the rescuers that provide an incredible heart felt service to all of us every day. I prayed for heart broken parents and possible siblings that had, I’m sure been holding to a sliver of hope that he might be alive. I noticed as rescuers worked, that a seemingly unaware number of skiers, boaters and fishermen zoomed towards their pleasure without understanding the gravity of the situation. Only a few were protected from the depths with a life jacket.
I’m not preaching but I had to share the experience. God made YOU. He made you unique. He made you for a purpose. That’s big stuff. $4.00 is not. Summer is beginning to wind down but there’s still plenty of fishing, boating, sailing and skiing time. I hope this young man’s story weigh’s on you when you launch.
July 27, 2018