Some things you never forget. It was a hot summer day in Michigan. A slew of family members, including uncles and cousins, decided to spend the day at the lake. I was four years old. My brother Michael was around 6, and the youngest daughter, Adrienne, was 3. From what I can recall, my parents and the rest of the kin hung out on the beach. Then my Uncle Mike suggested we all go for a boat ride. My dad was the one that stayed behind. At first being in the boat was fun. It was fast, we were moving. But then the movement stopped. My Uncle said the boat was sinking and everyone needed to stand up. I can still remember this. Four years old; one minute you’re in a big boat, the next minute you’re tossed into a lake. I remember going under, hearing sounds that resembled the beating of a drum, then coming up for air and screaming “Help”. My eyes were closed. I was scared. I couldn’t swim. But I had on an orange life preserver. It seemed we were in the water for so long, but after a while an elderly white couple rescued us. I was cold and shivering but glad to be out of the water. My mother lost her shoes, glasses and purse; maybe it sunk to the bottom of the lake. Everything was okay until Mom realized someone was missing. “Where’s Adrienne?” My 3-year-old sister was the only one we couldn’t find. Mom was frantic. My brother last saw her under the boat; apparently when the boat turned over, there was space enough to breath and talk. My brother was with her until he couldn’t hold on any longer and he told her, “See you later.”
We returned to the beach, wet and wild-looking, so funny looking that my father started laughing at us. His laughter turned to tears once Mom told him we couldn’t find his daughter. I can barely remember what happened immediately after that, but at some point, my uncle and some others turned over his capsized boat and that’s where they found Adrienne, unconsious but alive. She was rushed to the hospital and her stomach was pumped of the water.
Once we survived that boat accident, our family started attending the neighborhood baptist church. I never did learn to swim; the fear of the water stole that from me. And every now and then I think of that incident, and can still hear the sound of the drum beats.
The children that survived Hurricane Katrina won’t ever forget their ordeal either. And even though I can’t swim, and I’m not too crazy about boats, I am happy that the Lord saved me that day. And you can best believe the survivors will be happy they were saved too.