Monday, July 17, 2006


As I lay with my head buried in the small chert rocks that line the shore of a small island on Watts Bar Lake, after making a Daffy Duck “perfect 3-point landing - on my two knees and my nose,” I thought about summers past when our family has been touched by catastrophe and near tragedy.

I came close to real injury as the houseboat made its landing this weekend at the island where we go to get away from jet skis, bass fishermen, and speed boaters. As we beached, I was making my way through a tangle of patio furniture and legs, and had just raised my own leg to make my final step across to the front of the boat with the docking rope, when our captain made a final thrust with the engines and causing the boat to come to a very abrupt stop. I found myself airborne and went flying over the side right in front of the boat, catching my left foot on a security chain, which removed the skin from the top of my foot, and head long onto the shore!

Had I not been hurting so much and thinking more clearly, I might have said something comical to let them know I would survive, something like “I claim this island in the name of the queen!”, but I was in pain.

As I sat up slowly, noticing that everyone was quiet (which is very unusual for our bunch) and reflected on the worst scenario that could have resulted, I remembered the summers we lost a niece to a car/bicycle accident, a brother-in-law and nearly my sister-in-law to a boating accident, and a couple of heart attack scares from another brother-in-law. At least two of these resulted in anxious moments chasing the “Life Star” helicopter to a hospital 50 miles away.

To keep us weary, my other accident-prone brother-in-law, chips teeth, slips off wet boat ladders and on tile floors just to keep us ready and anxious for the worst. Now, it seems, I have joined his “dare devil” club.

Summers have always been a time of thinking about our family and how much we mean to each other. Often when I look around a dinning room table or patio where we are gathered, laughing until it hurts, I cannot help but think about how much we have been blessed and how hard it is going to be to have to give up someone. I took a photo earlier this summer of just some of our feet under the table on the upper deck of the houseboat. I thought about a future time when there would be one less set of feet and I welled up inside – quickly making myself think about something else.

We have got to be safer guys! We need each other.


Ron Southern said...

Well, Jeezus, don't fling yourself in so! You know you don't know anything about machinery!

Mushy said...

You got that right...thanks for reading Ron and I have since corrected some of the mistakes...I ain't perfect like my landing was.

Shrink Wrapped Scream said...

Oh Mushy,

Sounds as though you were lucky to eascape without any broken bones. The trouble with loving people, is the fear of losing them, it makes us so damned vunerable, doesn't it? We can only hold them close and enjoy each day we are given. (shit, I think I've even depressed myself, now!)