Friday, December 11, 2009

"Summer of the Cast"

In a previous blog entry you learned how I broke my leg in the summer of 1965. The cast I lugged around for six to eight weeks was a drag (literally too) on my summer fun, but as it turned out my misfortune was fortuitous for my little sister.

My family had a lake house in Northern Indiana and every summer we would pack up the station wagon and head up the road for a week long visit at the lake.

I loved being at the lake. It felt like a different world. You woke up and went to bed with the sounds of the waves floating through the opened bedroom window as they lapped the lake's shore. There was no schedule set in stone and we would live in our swimsuits all day.

As soon as we pulled up into the driveway and piled out of the car we wanted to be in the water. Of course we would have to wait until the car was unpacked and things were put away and then we could put our suits on and swim.

After breakfasts at the dining room table that was covered by an old, brown table cloth with roosters on it, we would go get our swimsuits off the line outside, race back upstairs to put them on (sometimes they were cold and damp from the day before) and run out the door to the dock.

In the morning the water would be cool, almost cold, so we would wait impatiently for it to warm up enough to get in. When Mom, and our toes deemed the water warm enough, some of us would jump right in as others would wade in slowly, begging not to be splashed by those brave enough to jump in.

We would be in the water all day swimming or floating on rafts. Mom barely got us out for lunch and dinner. We did not want to spend any time out of water to eat or wait the hour after eating (remember that rule?).

I never got to put on my swimsuit that "Summer of the Cast" and get into the lake. I was tethered to the dock by the cast; that was as close to the water as I could get.

I was not happy about this and seeing others having fun in the water didn't help.

Two of my uncles were at the lake with us that summer. These uncles were just a couple of years older than my oldest sister, so they were more like older brothers. They saw my plight and took pity on me.

My uncles gave me a toy fishing rod. I sat on the dock with my left leg stretched out in front of me as I dangled the line into the water off the dock's edge. I soon felt a tugging on my line. My uncles were in the water near my line, encouraging me to reel in my catch. I did just that and on the end of my line was a small Bluegill fish. I couldn't believe my luck!

My uncles helped me with my fish which did not flip or flop as they removed it from the line...I had "caught" a dead fish. My uncles had hidden under the dock as they attached the dead fish to and tugged my line. What an unselfish ruse to help keep my mind off of the fact that I couldn't be in the water with everyone else.

I believe there is a reason or purpose for everything that happens. Good can come from bad. My broken leg was the reason I was dock bound and unable to get into the water that summer which in turn allowed my actions help save my little sister's life.

My mother tells me that as we were sitting on the dock, I was giggling which got her attention. She asked me what was so funny; I replied that my sister was swimming. My mother then saw her floating face down in the lake. My sister was saved, thank God, with no lasting ill effects from her near drowning.


  1. You do look pretty mad in the picture. Michael

  2. I loved going to the lake, swimming all day, eating BLTs and TV time popcorn and going to the dime store for comic books, life as a kid was good back then, I hang on to these memories and cherish them with a deep appreciation for what God had granted me and still is...

  3. I remember the summers at the lake also. I enjoyed every minute. Sometimes it was hard keeping track of all of you, that is why I never left you out there alone, when you took naps, I would sit out on the dock alone thanking God for all of my children and asking Him to protect each and everyone of you. Love Mom

  4. Those two uncles love the baby bird very much and wanted her to have fun ;)

  5. one of the last times at the lake was with you jennifer and Scot. Eating captain Crunch and drinking old mildog