Jess Shut Up
Summer is upon us, and I did some remembering. If this were a movie we would have the wavy, blurry, flashback screen now.
It was a very hot summer and I, my brother Jamie (Jeremy), and stepbrothers Eric and Howard Wilson were swimming at Coulee Playland. There used to be a little cove of water right next to the highway. Now it is filled with rocks and there is a walking path built up there, but back then it was a little swimming area.
We would lie on the little beach there and from time to time jump in. We would try to walk all the way across this little pool of water, underneath of course, holding our breath. Back then it seemed like a long way, but it couldn’t have been more than 20 yards and only 10 yards with head submerged. It was during one of these daredevil walks under water that I almost drowned.
About half way across, my foot got tangled on some seaweed and I panicked. I sucked down a few gulps of water while I thrashed to get free. I was hoping that one of my brothers would see I was in trouble and come help, but they did not even know anything was wrong.
In what seemed like forever, I finally pulled my foot free and thrashed until I got my head above water. But I still could not breathe, and as I made my way to the beach, I coughed up what seemed like gallons of water. I did not try to cross under water for a long time after that.
Many times over the next few years, we did other daredevil-type events, but this was the closest I ever got to having a bad ending. I can remember sitting in the swings with Eric after that scary moment and we talked about the things that scared us and what we thought our futures would look like. We weren’t even close. You just cannot predict what’s going to happen tomorrow.
With that being said, there are a lot of families in our community right now that are experiencing very unexpected losses. There was a memorial on Saturday for one of those losses, and family and friends gathered to celebrate the life that they once knew. The walls could not contain the laughter and smiles as they all remembered. I am sure that the same will happen for the other families too. Embrace the memories, relive the good times, and share what was important to you. Hugs for the Havens, McDermotts and Overman/Covert familys.
A good friend had a birthday over the weekend too. It was inspiring to see his friends gather with him at his little flower shop and sit and visit. But you see this wasn’t a planned party. It was an impromptu get together. We just showed up with food and drink and smiles. This is what community is about, coming together in the good times and in the bad. Being there for one another. Sharing a tear or a hamburger. Knowing that we might not be able to do much, but we can at the very least just be there.
That’s what I want for our community. To come together as one. Whatever the cause may be. A funeral or a birthday. A celebration or a great cause. Consolidation or tourisim. Come together as one and lean on each other. Not being afraid to speak up, or volunteer or run for office because you know that your neighbor’s got your back. If someone is wronged, we don’t keep our voices inside our living room. We speak up on their behalf and look for ways to fix a problem.
So Coulee Country, I challenge you to help your neighbor. Seek someone out and help them, or just sit and talk with them or just listen. Let’s make each other a more valuable community member and make positive changes. Let’s take our towns back and turn them into a community. One that we all want to be a part of.