Great sea rescue


About Jack Cashill




By Jack Cashill

This week represents the tenth anniversary of the great sea rescue.

It happened like this. I was up at my place at Lake Erie. It's not actually a sea of course, but you can't see the other side so it's close enough.

My wife was traveling, but my friend Tony was staying with me. He had just lost his job and his wife in that order and he needed a little R&R. My 10 year old was staying overnight at a friend's and my five year old was playing on the beach.

On the beach that morning also was a big two-man rowboat that had almost miraculously washed up the night before. I had no idea where it came from. I had never seen a boat like that on the lake.

It was a beautiful Sunday morning. Tony and I were having breakfast outside when lo and behold these two young women come cruising by on a small sailboat.

Tony, who had been separated much too long, immediately goes into his keystone beer routine. HERE are these two guys eating breakfast on a Sunday morning when these two beautiful gals from the Swedish bikini team sail by when lo and behold their sailboat turns over, and the two guys go out and save the day.

Then lo and behold, right out of the dang commercial, the boat . . . overturns. Tony looks down at the rowboat and says, "This is too rich. Let's go for it."

I held him back. I said, c'mon Tony, this is the 90's man. You gotta give'm a chance to save themselves, otherwise, they might get angry.

He yielded, went inside to get the telescope, and sure enough the ladies righted their boat. Tony looks at them through the telescope and says, "Ah, it doesn't matter, they look like gym teachers."

Tony, I said, you've been single too long, they're a half-mile off shore. How can you tell? "I have my ways," said Tony.

When I took the telescope and looked out, I saw something else. These women were in trouble. The boat was drifting out quickly, and they had lost control of it. I told Tony. "Hey, man, this is the 90's," he said.

But now, the women were waving for help. Our moment had come. We rushed down to the beach and headed for the rowboat, the only boat of any kind on this part of the lake.

But then, dang, I remembered my 5 year old. I couldn't leave her alone. Tony, I said, one of us has got to stay. It was at that moment that Tony remembered his backache. Truth be told, he had lost much of his zeal when he decided they were gym teachers.

I went alone, and it was glorious. I was getting good sun, great exercise, a crowd had gathered up and down the coast, a helicopter was now hovering overhead, and I was about to make the front pages of the local paper by rescuing two beautiful women. Life was wonderful.

They were drifting further and futher out, but I was slowly catching up. and then I heard it zzzz. Huh? I kept rowing. Now a little louder. ZZZZZZ. What was that? I looked around. Oh, my God. It was that stupid kid down the beach with that brand new wgatchamacallit, jet ski. And he wanted to beat my time.

Now I was rowing like a madman, the ladies were in sight. ZZZZZZ and here he came ZZZZZ and blew right by me. When I got there he was already tying them up. "It's OK mister, he said. It's under control." And he towed them away.

Only problem. The wind was still blowing out, I was a mile off shore, the people and the helicopter all went away, , and I had to get back. About an hour later, I dragged my sorry butt into shore and could no longer lift my arms over my head. Everyone was gone. Tony and my five year old were inside having lunch, my dreams of glory were long faded. And then, to their everlasting credit, the two women came down to the house with a bottle of champagne.

We got to talking. What do you guys do I ask. "Oh,"said the one, "we're gym teachers."

Tony was grinning from ear to ear. "Jack," he laughed, "I swear it was my back."



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