My dad loved designing things. He was creative and loved using his imagination as an investor, teacher, landscaper, and even as an architect. He not only designed both lake houses, but also our family home that we moved into in 1969 when I was 18 months old. It’s a beautiful open floor plan with a dual-sided fireplace between the living and family rooms and a large kitchen connected to both. The house is on a 3/4 acre lot backing up to the Calfskin Creek. My dad had dirt brought in and created a small island in that creek. He built a bridge connecting it to the backyard and planted grass and bushes on the island. Unfortunately, the creek often swelled and flooded with heavy rains.
I remember several significant floods through the 20 years I lived there. The first happened when I was about 2 1/2 years old. For some reason, my dad let me go out to the bridge with him to assess the flood waters. The current was swift, but I was only concerned with how high I could swing my legs out over the edge of the bridge as I held onto the railing. I slipped and plunged into the churning water. As my dad told it, he immediately jumped in after me, clothes, shoes, wallet, and all. He literally had one shot at finding me in the murky darkness but he guessed right and grabbed me, pulling me up to the surface. I used to tell my friends I remembered seeing snake holes and fishes when I was down there, but my older brother, Scott, called my bluff. “There’s no way! You liar! That water is way too muddy to see anything.” The one memory I do have of that day is crying while my mom scrubbed me clean in the bathtub. I felt so ashamed that I’d made daddy get his wallet and shoes all wet, but my mom kept saying it was ok and they were so thankful I was alive!
Daddy told that story over and over through the years, and retold it to my own children, always adding, “You know boys, you wouldn’t be alive today if I hadn’t saved your mom from drowning! I’m a hero!”
Dad no longer remembers saving me and can’t tell the story himself, so I thought I’d better share it. He’s still my hero.