This story comes to us from Nick of Temple Terrace, FL. This story is a description of an incident that happened along the shore of Lake Michigan during the 2003 WaterTribe Michigan Challenge kayak race.
Here is his story:
After four days, I was certain the worst was behind me. I was competing in the WaterTribe Michigan Challenge, a grueling, 300-mile kayak race around the state of Michigan via Lakes Huron and Michigan. I had encountered a ferocious storm several miles from shore, and it was nearly two o’clock in the morning when my boat was badly damaged after being broadsided by a large wave. While floating and shivering in dark of night in Lake Michigan, awaiting the arrival of the Coast Guard, I thought, “What could be worse?”
Two days later, I discovered that a six-year-old child could elicit the same emotions of shock and fear.
Repairs were eventually made to my kayak, and I found myself back in the race enjoying a strong tailwind under sunny skies. Still tired from the storm-induced sleep deprivation, I made camp at Leelanau State Park. While carrying provisions from the boat to my tent, a group of half a dozen youngsters happened by. The 8 to 12 year olds were trying to give the slip to the youngest one in their midst by hiding behind rocks and shrubbery. He had been managing to keep them in sight, but finally they eluded him when he stopped to stare at my heavily laden boat.
Having raised two daughters, I found myself assuming the role of a protective parent with an opportunity to repay one of the many acts of kindness that had been bestowed upon me over my more than half a century. Smiling, I squatted to his level and, in a conspiratorial voice, asked if he would like me to show him where his friends were hiding. Immediately, the boy let out a blood-curdling shriek that alarmed the entire campground and yelled, “A stranger is talking to me!!”
I froze and found myself as shocked and bewildered as I was when the unexpected wave dumped me into the cold waters of Lake Michigan. When I came to my senses, I stood and walked toward several people who had turned their attention to the commotion. Thank goodness they accepted my gesture of innocence as they went about their business. So what did I learn from my Lake Michigan experience? Never make assumptions about Mother Nature or her children.
Thanks for sharing this great story with us, Nick!