Thursday, March 26, 2009

Back in the day

Joe Boats:

Way back when, our (nice) cabin cruiser sat in a private little dock--all its own--on Rock Creek, right behind our house. On this boat was my favorite place to be, either making a run down the waterway toward Marco and beyond--or, short out-in-the-Gulf-of-Mexico trips.

I had taken and passed the Coast Guard Auxiliary Small Craft Course. I knew a little. To be honest--I knew TOO DAMMM LITTLE! But we got by, had many great days on the water, even did some (UGH!) fishing, mostly just Snook and Redfish, Flounder, and out in the Gulf, Grouper. I'm NOT a fisherman, but others in my family were line-throwers.

One wondrous sunny summer morning, my son Joe--his nickname was/is "Joe-Boats"-- between 2-3 years of age was playing in the back yard. Where does a boy go in the back yard, when his name is Joe-Boats? Well, he was climbing all over the boat. This was common, he just LOVED everything water and boat!

In the same area, I was enjoying my afternoon quart of vodka, reclined in a hammock. This was common. Minutes slipped by, peaceful moments of the type, "All is right with the world". The minutes of silent 'serenity' began adding up, when I sensed something 'not' right--I had not been hearing the laughing sounds of a child, Jo-Boats, playing around the yard.

I looked for him, my heart began to rev up to a speed fueled by adrenalin. Suddenly I realized, he must have fallen into the filthy water atop which rode our boat. Under the boat was about three feet of water, then a good foot or two of pure crappy mud. Believe me, I ran in my drunken stupor, mentally rushing into my "sober-up-quick" mode, and was standing above the dock and boat, peering down into the murkiness. About six inches of space separated our boat from the concrete dock, a slight breeze kept blowing the boat one way, then the next.

Peering at me from under the water, staring upwards, were two eyes wide open in fear, and a little head just below. He was submerged, then went under the boat completely, as it moved to close the space.

The rest of this story I had forgotten, but recently, Joe recalled it for me. I had jumped into the creek, fully clothed, wallet, glasses, watch, and all else still on me, reached under the boat as far as I could without drowning myself. The barnacles had taken deep root, and were cuttingly sharp. But I got hold of some fuzzy hair, attached to a fuzzy head, and pulled Joe and me to safety. We both sprawled upon the grass, hind of spent. I was so happy, I cried...sobbed.

And for the first time in many years, I prayed fervently a "Thank You" to the Almighty God, Who saved my son that more-than beautiful sunny summer morning.

This was before sobriety had even occurred to me. Before it was evident to me that being in a continuous state of inebriation around the clock, with fitful by-the-hour sleep, was NOT a normal way to live. It was another eight months before my first meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. And, here I am. "Do with me what you will, just tell me what to do." These were my words to the gang at my second meeting. "Tell me what to do"...and they did. And I did.

In gratitude to this beautiful program of AA, these God-given Twelve Steps, the members who have gone before me and given of themselves unselfishly, and finally now..........you bloggers. How could one be more blest than I?

Note to Carmen: the following line is for you, too!

In peace, friendship, love and service,
Steve E.


Just Be Real said...

Wonderful graditude Stevie, also about your son.


dAAve said...

And today, I'm sure that Joe-Boats is drowning with gratiude!

Mary Christine said...

What a scary story.

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

I just cried...

Ed G. said...

What a wonderful testament to God's grace and your character.

Peace and blessings to you...

Prayer Girl said...

God is so very good. The entire story is a miracle of love.

Everyone who knows Joe is grateful for that sunny summer morning when God allowed a 'still' drunk papa to save his sweet 'Joe-Boats'.

Love both of you,

Ann said...

Beautiful post!!!!!! I am going to keep coming back! Ann

Syd said...

A great boat story. I recently fell off the boat at the dock--no, I wasn't drunk but was trying to move the dinghy and the boat moved away from the dock and down I went. I hit my head on the dock, went under the water which was 56 F, and then I looked up to see a light. I pushed to the surface and was okay. A fellow in the next slip came over and held onto my shirt and was wondering how to get me back on the dock. I must have had some sense knocked into me as I said calmly, "lower the swim ladder on the boat". He did and I crawled up. I had a hell of a goose egg on my head and a bad headache. I'm glad that the very cold water brought me to my senses. I'm glad that your son was okay and that you were there. God works in so many ways.

Gabriella Moonlight said...

All I can say is wow...what a story ...thank you!

Cat said...

what a wonderful tale and I am so glad that it ended well - and that you were able to function and help him even in your state.

Findon said...

Just think what would have happened to Jo if you weren't there. You saved his life, maybe that was your destiny, maybe it's still to come. Not all our time as a drinking alkie was crap. Sometimes, like you we did good stuff too. Well done. You saved a life.

Queenneenee said...

yowsa, what a story! I often worried about my youngin' when he was in his drunken dads care while I worked. He would take him out fishing and boating and your story was my biggest fear. Thank goodness it didn't happen and thank God you were there for Joe.

Gwen R said...

That is so scary and such a miracle. I am grateful for you and Mr. Joe Boats. Thank you so much for sharing this.


Anonymous said...

I just ran across this post, Steve. Gwen linked to it over at SoberMoms. There are no words for how it made me feel. Every parent's nightmare..drunk OR sober. I'm so glad he is OK. And you too :)