*Young & Stupid*
15 January 2005
This isn’t a very detailed story because it happened so fast and it was about 15 years ago. Being only 8 years old, I can’t remember the particulars.
When I was a young kid maybe 8 years old, I went on a weekend camping trip with a youth church group. We arrived at the State Park and set up our campsite. Our ages ranged from roughly 8-12 years old. We heard about a good swimming spot in a nearby stream. Naturally we went to check it out. Indeed it was good…very shallow. We swam in it a couple of times.
I believe it was the next day, we went to a more popular place down stream. The terrain dropped off and basically made a huge natural waterslide approximately 300 feet long. WOW, that looked pretty cool. The water was running fast and there were people riding it to the bottom. It looked like fun.
Some of the other kids thought it would be fun to try it. I was not (still am not) a good swimmer. I figured with the amount of people around I would be all right. So I followed and in I went. I made it just a little ways and got caught in some current.
HOLY SMOKES!!! A totally different perspective now. This looked fun from land, now I was in trouble. I remember the current carrying me toward a rock. I made it that far and was clinging on to it for dear life while trying to keep my head above water. If I let go of the rock I thought I would die. It was a long ways down the bottom. That was one of the few times when I was scared sh!tless.
I started yelling for help. It seemed like an eternity and somebody finally came. One of the older kids from our group made it to me, grabbed me from the side and started pulling me against the current back to shore.
I can’t remember much else, but I still have the image of that rock and the view from there down burned into my head. I remember fighting to keep my head up. I remember how scared I was. I know who my rescuer was. His name was James Greenhall.
He was there for me. If it weren’t for him I would have been flip-flopping down over the rocks to the bottom and might have made it out alive if I was lucky.
James, if you should just happen to run across this you will probably remember my name, THANKS! and if you want to track me down, my parents live in the same place that they did 15 years ago. Talk to your mom and she’ll know how to find them to find me. I would like to run across you again. I owe you one.
After that day, I’ve been leery about getting myself into questionable situations. The only reason that I even got in the water that day was because I convinced myself mentally that I was capable of making the run, it looked easy. I knew that physically I couldn’t do it. I knew that I was a poor swimmer; I knew that it would be stupid, but I did it anyway.
KNOW you limitations. That stupid mistake could have easily cost me my life, it could have handicapped me from banging off rocks, or it could have just maimed me. Fortunately he was my guardian angel that day and just happened to be right handy.
I smartened up right quick after that.
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