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Just Plain Fun

The Dock of Death

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Jeremy and Courtney at the lake. He is fixing to beat a fish with his stick. "Here fishy fishy." Photo used with permission.

Every summer my family would get together and rent some cabins at a state park near our hometown.

As life goes on we tend to spend less and less time with our parents and siblings so that week in the summer became precious. Mom made sure everyone was able to get there and with Christmas, we all were sure to come together at least twice a year.

The lake we stayed on had great fishing and somewhere around midweek my two older brothers and I decided we would take the boat out on the trolling motor-only lake. Dad had rules about using his boat and one of them was to not keep it out too long. For one thing, the battery wouldn’t last forever and everyone shared that boat so “don’t hog it.”

Looking back I can’t remember my Dad ever spanking me. But the fear of him spanking me kept me in line during my childhood and most of my adult life. I was shown the belt in the closet more than once and it was deterrent enough for me to be practically perfect in every way.

Regardless, my brothers and I were on the lake having fun. The fish were biting and the sun was hitting just right. When we noticed the sun was getting low in the sky we all three looked at each other realizing we were in trouble with Dad. We had the boat out way too long and were still 15 minutes or so from the dock. It was a long 15 minutes back to the dock and we barely spoke knowing we were in trouble with Dad. It would be different if it was Mom, she loved us. But we were never sure about Dad so it was best to not cross him.

As we rounded the bend and spied the dock we saw my little sister, the baby of the family. She was on the dock and soon as she saw us she jumped up real quick and ran up the hill. Before we got halfway there Dad was standing on the dock with his hands on his hips. That tattletale little sister of ours was standing there behind him with her arms folded, looking far too pleased with herself.

The Dock of Death where we spent a week every summer. Photo used with permission.

By the time we were close enough to the dock to hear Dad it wasn’t good and we knew that was it.

My oldest brother Hank, never one to be bothered with responsible behavior, decided this was a good time to bail.

He jumped in the water and started swimming away from the dock. My brother Dennis, who is one year to the day younger than Kenny looked at me with a blank stare and then also jumped into the water and swam away from the boat and dock.

All alone in the boat, I watched my two brothers swim away from the dock of certain death so I, the responsible child in the family, did the only reasonable thing and also jumped into the water.

We were 42, 41 and 37 years old at the time.

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