Sunday, June 01, 2014

The First

I dread it every year. I don't know why, but I do. It makes me sad and upset. I cry in private.

The first drowning of the season.

Any drowning. It's almost always a senseless tragedy. In this day and age of far too many laws, rules, regulations and "no to everything" type attitude, I think some folks are so overwhelmed they just habitually ignore the wave of new massive rules, laws, regulations. It's a very complicated country we live in.

Any drowning on Lake Hartwell makes me super sad. Someone near and dear to me lost their child to a swimming tragedy. It was overwhelmingly heartbreaking. I don't think a parent ever get over the heartbreak of losing a child.

30 years ago my friend and neighbor inexplicably tied bricks to his ankles then flung himself off the dam into Lake Hartwell, never to breathe again. He was a young vibrant architect who had secret demons in his head. I had seen his face wrinkle up in a crazy way at the most inopportune time but I never dreamed in my wildest dreams he would take in own life in such a ghoulish way, yet last year he was followed by another who did something similar on the bridge near my park.

Human bodies are mostly made up of water. It's why we are naturally drawn to water be it our shower stalls or drinking it, wading, swimming, gazing and marveling at it. On a side note, many folks are suffering from dehydration and they don't even realize it.  Slow long term dehydration causes a myriad of complicated health issues. Drink your water and plenty of it, but please don't drown.

Yesterday some teenagers went to a park on Lake Hartwell. Not the park I am workamping in, but a different park on the lake. The sign there reads "Swimming Area Closed No Life Guards on Duty".

I have no idea why that particular area is closed. People on a warm summer day at a lake just let human nature take over and often want to get in the water. For the cost of that silly sign and the labor to install it, they could have just hung up some loaner life jackets.

If you seriously don't want people to swim, then put up a sign like "Beware of Alligator Attacks" or "Warning: Flesh Eating Bacteria Found Here".

The first drowning of the season.

How tragic. How sad. How depressing. I feel so sorry for his family and friends. The last day of May, the last breath of life. A family devastated.

Yesterday I called the Park Ranger, we had an issue out here, folks were complaining about a large party that had gone wildly out of control. It's a "no alcohol allowed" park but the drunks were getting rowdy. I hadn't seen a ranger in the park in quite a while. I mentioned that and was told "there was a problem somewhere else where the rangers were needed." I just knew without asking, what that problem was. I don't know how I knew, but my heart sank in sheer sadness. I just knew someone had passed over the rainbow.

We keep
loaner life jackets on hand between the parking lot and the swim area. 

Years back we had so many drownings at the lake one season that it prompted the US Army Corps to put out free loaner life jackets at many of their swim areas. I suppose it's been a huge success, because the life jackets at the park where I workamp get heavy duty use.

Every morning, I round them back up to display on our rack. Most folks return them but some are unclear on the concept of "borrowing" and "returning". Some go missing in action never to be found again. Other folks fling them in the water when they are done, then get in their car and leave. I shudder to think what else they are teaching their children. Actions speak louder than words.
Some people borrow the jackets, then scatter them around and go home.

I round up the life jackets every morning to hang back up at the entrance to the swim area.

People have to walk right past the life jacket rack at the entrance to the parking lot where they left their car, but some refuse to return the borrowed jacket. I guess they figure not another soul would want to borrow the jacket now that they are done with it. Here someone hung their borrowed jacket up at a garbage can then walked right past the rack where we keep the loaner jackets to get in their car. 

On a positive note:
The American Red Cross offers Swimming and Water Safety Classes for all ages, check for classes in your area:

Download for FREE their 232 page booklet "Swimming and Water Safety"

1 comment:

  1. None of the lakes I swam at as a kid had loaner life jackets. But if they had, and I'd left one laying, my Dad would have tanned my little bare bottom right there on the beach. In a nutshell, that's what's wrong with our country.


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