By Rev. Tracey Leslie
I have a somewhat vague childhood memory of my extended family at Ocean City, Maryland. As a child, I could not swim at all. Many of my cousins took swimming lessons. Two families had their own pools. But I never had any swimming lessons or instruction. So, here we all were at Ocean City, Maryland. We were there for the day. The parents had rounded us all up to sit on towels on the beach and eat our lunch. The kids gobbled down their sandwiches as fast as they could and were eager to head back out into the ocean and play in the waves. I was not allowed to go into the ocean without an adult since I didn’t know how to swim. On this particular day, my mom was greatly enjoying the opportunity to catch up with her baby brother who she only saw once a year since they lived in different states. She told me I needed to give her a few minutes to talk with my Uncle Bill and then she would take me back to the water. But I was impatient. Those of you who know me well are not, I’m sure, surprised by this fact. And so, while my mom was deeply engrossed in conversation, I snuck off and went into the ocean. I thought I could catch up to my cousins. But, before that happened, a big wave came and I recall feeling myself go under and beginning to panic. There was a teen-aged boy there, very big and tall, and I remember reaching out and grabbing his arm and holding on for dear life. He lifted me up out of the water and led me back to the shoreline where I got a stern lecture from my mom. I am, needless to say, thankful for that young man’s willingness to let me cling to him and to get me safely back to shore. Perhaps I would have rolled up on shore on my own; but maybe not. Either way, I believe that young man was a savior to me.
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