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Doctor’s orders: no stress

“Avoid any stressful situation—of any kind.” That was what the doctor ordered after I had literally begged him to let me get back in my boat and “cruise.”

I had just had a little flare-up of the ol’ ticker, had a couple stents placed and really needed to get back on the lake.It was a very hot day, but I dressed for it: shorts, T-shirt, ice water and an ice pack made from a towel. I was ready. I was to stay out in mid-lake, avoiding the few boats that were there. Right! It felt great to be out—was just the therapy that I needed.I was approaching the lower island below Lay Dam and saw a boat off to my right. It was a small boat like the trotline fishermen used. No problem…yet!It was not one of the regular fishing people but a young girl, and she was frantically waving for help. As I got closer, I remembered the words, “no stress,” but she obviously had a problem. I saw blood on the engine cowling, and her shirt was torn. I expected the worse and could see some of her fingernails were torn off.

The first words that she said were, “…those three men in that big old blue boat.” I shared my ice water and gave her my towel. “Where did you come from?” As I looked about, she pointed to a cottage or pier in the distance. I towed her boat over, and there was someone to be with her.

I immediately went full speed south in search of the blue boat. Since there were so few boats out, I saw a boat of that description in the mouth of Hatchett Creek. I took a few deep breaths as I approached the boat. They were calm and friendly. I asked if they saw the boat as I described it. “Yes. We offered help—she kept screaming and acting ‘funny,’ so we thought we would report it to someone else.” “Did you touch her?” Absolutely not, they said. When they saw her appearance is when they left to get someone else and had not seen anyone, until me.

I went back, and someone had taken her away. I checked the boat out, and it appeared the blood came from ripping at the cowling to get it open to try to pull-start the motor. All the excitement, and especially the heat and frustration, could account for the disarray of her clothing.But what did she mean by, “the three men in a blue boat?” I think she was frustrated that they should have helped her. She was not a regular fishing person, so I didn’t see her for a long time. When I did, she didn’t even want to talk about it!

“What in the world happened to you?” As I came in the door, my bride’s concern sort of faded. I looked at my old chair—now, here’s a stress-free environment!