Dodging bullets with Winston Churchill

Cindy ArpOur Town Outdoors

Lately Dan and I have been dodging bullets. Last weekend, we were on our way to the airport to pick up our friends Kenny and Aubrey when we ran into a road construction traffic jam.

Calling Audrey to explain we were going to be late, she told me Uber was on the way. She said that she and Kenny couldn’t agree on what transportation plans they had made. Audrey thought we were coming, but Kenny didn’t remember that. When we weren’t there 30 minutes after their arrival time, they called Uber and their ride was on the way.

Audrey added that Kenny had started feeling bad on the seven-hour flight home. The next day Kenny tested positive for Covid. If not for some road construction, we would have been on time, taken them home and been exposed to the virus.

Last Friday, Dan and I and our friends Mike and T.K. decided to take our two Jet Skis to Norris Lake. The plan was to have lunch at Stardust Marina, and afterwards spend some relaxing water time in our favorite cove. Turned out Stardust wasn’t serving lunch, so we headed for Shanghai Marina.

Pulling out of the marina, our Jet Ski started porpoising, a term used to describe the bow of a boat bouncing up and down repeatedly, even when there aren’t any waves. Pulling over to the shore, Dan took off the engine hatch and found an alarming amount of water. Mike and TK followed us in and it was decided that I’d ride with Mike and TK and Dan would follow; all fingers crossed that we’d make it back to the dock before anything worse happened.

Starting out once again, Mike, T.K. and I noticed floating in the water an important-looking piece of what we assumed was part of the ailing Jet Ski. We circled back for it. When T.K. leaned over to grab the part, the entire boat leaned with her and the three of us did a slow-motion slide into the water. Meanwhile, we saw Dan in the water, yelling that his boat was sinking and to come over there double quick.

Hauling ourselves out of the water and back onto the Jet Ski, we headed to Dan. Mike grabbed that boat’s mooring line, tied it to the back of our boat and tossed the line to Dan who began securing it to the sinking boat. While the guys were doing that, T.K. saw a pontoon boat going by and waved them over. She explained our dilemma, a Jet Ski can hold three people, but not four; would they consider towing us back to the dock and possibly please let one or two of us ride with them?

All I can say about those folks is that they weren’t from around here. They refused to help four people in the water with one able boat and another one sinking. They were afraid towing the sinking Jet Ski would somehow damage their boat.

By this time Mike and Dan had secured the two boats together. Dan hung on to the back of the disabled boat and the three of us towed him and the boat the long, slow way back to our launch site. When we arrived, Mike’s hand was cramping because he couldn’t use cruise control going that slowly, Dan was tired from hanging on so long, and the Jet Ski was partially submerged in the lake. After manhandling the Jet Ski onto the trailer and pulling it to land, Dan pulled the plug on the back of the boat and an incredible amount of water poured out.

Winston Churchill said, “Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.”

My plan involves avoiding bullets altogether. I do not think that being shot at/bullet dodging is exhilarating. On top of that is the old saying that bad luck comes in threes. We’ve had a near miss Covid experience and a sinking boat … it doesn’t bear thinking about.

Cindy Arp, teacher/librarian, retired from Knox County Schools. She and husband Dan live in Heiskell.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *