Humor Non-Fiction posted May 6, 2023 Chapters:  ...36 37 -38- 39 

This work has reached the exceptional level
A incident in the water whice amuses my children.

A chapter in the book Chasing the Elusive Dream

The Sea and Me

by BethShelby

By the Sea Contest Winner 

Growing up in Mississippi, which has towns bordering the Gulf of Mexico, you would think my parents might find a reason to drive the three hours down state, so their daughter could dip her feet into the waves occasionally. Unfortunately, they weren’t inclined to leave home just for pleasure. I could only dream of seeing the sea.

When I got married at eighteen, I’d only seen the Mississippi Gulf Coast twice, and on neither occasion did I have a chance to exit the car. I had swum in a few lakes, rivers and ponds, but those can’t compete with water reaching as far as you can see. My husband and I did take a short wedding trip to the Gulf in Pensacola, Florida. I loved it, but two hours was just enough time to realize my new husband wasn’t really a beach person.

It was years later, when we moved to New Orleans, I was thrilled to learn the seashore was nearer than it had ever been before. Living a block off of Lake Pontchartrain, I did get the pleasure of viewing water as far as I could see. I enjoyed hiking the trails along the lake, but it wasn’t for swimming or digging your toes into the sand. The water was dirty, and often, dead fish were washed up on the rocks lining the shore.  

By then we had three children, and soon after moving there, a fourth child was added. We often drove over to Gulfport or Biloxi on the weekends. The children loved the gulf waters as much as I did. The drive took only a little more than an hour.

After a few unfortunate faux pas, my loving brood decided their mom was an accident waiting to happen, and they surmised, it was likely to be a weird one at that.

They never stopped teasing me about the time my husband and I changed drivers on a road trip. It wasn’t my fault, but I was the one left standing barefooted on the side of an interstate highway. I’d gotten out of the driver seat to walk around the car and get back in on the other side, when my husband, who had simply moved over, drove away before I had a chance to get back in. The kids thought it was so funny they couldn’t stop laughing long enough to tell him what happened. He had to drive 20 miles to turn around.

There was the time my shoes went down the Ocoee River, when a friend talked me into getting into the water with her to cool off. How was I supposed to know at certain times the upstream dam was opened to create more water pressure for the white-water rafters? The water increased in depth and swiftness so suddenly there was no time to rescue my shoes, camera or reading material. Fortunately, I stopped chasing my shoes down the river in time to save myself.

I could go on, but let’s just say I’d had enough embarrassing moments to have earned myself a reputation for getting into trouble. The seashore should have been a place where I would be safe. I wasn’t a risk taker. I hadn’t even waded out past my shoulders in the water. My feet were firmly planted on the solid seabed.

I was peacefully enjoying the lap of waves, the gulls overhead and the feel of the sea breeze caressing my face, when I thought I heard shouts from my children who were playing in the shallow water on the shore. I turned just in time to see an out-of-control sailing dinghy heading straight toward me. The guy and girl in the boat were trying their best to turn the sail.

Moving through the waves quickly enough to avoid a collision was impossible. The pain of the impact was an unpleasant jolt, which came close to knocking the wind out of me, but it wasn’t life threatening. The couple, seeing I was still upright, yelled apologies as they continued on their way, trying desperately to keep the sail from dumping them into the brine. I limped out of the water with a rapidly forming bruise on my side.

After seeing there was very little blood, my loving kids started to laugh. My youngest was the one to proclaim “No one but Mom could possibly get run over by a boat.”

By the Sea
Contest Winner

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