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The small boy followed after the man through the creek, neither one suspecting the danger that was lurking just ahead of them. What a beautiful mid July afternoon it was, not the normal July weather one might come to expect for the eastern US, with its typically hot and humid climate, oh no, this day was extraordinary. With a temperature hovering about 85 degrees f. and humidity quite low, it felt more like September.
So there they were, the two of them together, following the larger group of boys about 20 yards ahead upstream.Making jokes about the creatures lurking in the depths-all 3.5 feet, lol-they caroused and carried on, the man and the boy and for that matter the group as well, bonding and sharing moments that are usually shared between persons that had known each other longer than just five days. These moments were tailor made for the boy and the man, the boy, who was without a father and the man, who had a child, a child whom he loved in the form of a beautiful teen aged girl, but still the man longed for just such this moment, a moment to feel what is is like to have a son.
The man, the boy and the group of boys ahead continued their journey upstream, the man could feel the sharp edges of the creek's rocky bottom slowly abrading his feet and although it was somewhat unpleasant, this time of bonding was irreplaceable. The creek bed also had larger rock formation that were covered in algae and these were treacherously slippery, no footing felt secure on these. Onward they advanced. Then the boys ahead stopped, they shouted back "getting pretty deep here". The man, concerned for the boy alongside him, shouted back "how deep?" The boys, rather one boy, drew the man's attention and he shouted "I am standing flat on my feet" the man could see the boy ahead and realized that the boys five and one half foot tall frame was much taller than his barely four foot companion. The man wondered "How will I keep this boy from being hurt" The man had made an error in judgement, he had thought this creek varied in depth, but he did not expect anything but small pockets and for those pockets to be no deeper than four feet.
The man worried, gor he knew the boy of short stature had not passed the swimming test for deep water. The man stopped, as did the boy and he reminisced about the previous day. It was at the pool of the campgrounds and the instructor, an expert about deep water having hailed from Jamaica, was trying to impress the importance of being prepared for the unexpected as it related to water depths. The lifeguard had the class enter the pools water at the deeper end while holding onto the coping edge and he asked them not to just jump in, but to lower themselves in. All did well with one exception, a boy, not the boy with the man, kept jumping in and landing on his feet in the pool. The lifeguard, try as he may, could not seem to get the boy to comply with keeping his feet off the bottom. The man then heard the lifeguard exclaim "you take for granted being able to touch the bottom and stand, in my country and at the beach, you must walk with one foot leading in front while walking in the water or you might find you drop off a shelf."
The man played this thought in his mind as he stood in the creek, he realized he had taken for granted the waters would not be deeper than when the first slipped into the water downstream. What will I do, the man thought. He spoke to the boy "climb onto my side here and hang on". the boy and the man continued step after agonizing step, the man moved towards the creek's bank, to ferry the boy to safety. He motioned to the other boys for assistance,please help me determine the depth here, now there, until he was able to get back to shallower waters. The boy was shivering and scared and he clung to the man, "what if they got hurt" the boy stated and the man thought and then the man remembered, he remembered his God and he prayed to Him "LORD, help me to carry this child safely to solid ground, ground without slippery slopes and shifting, cutting bottoms.
The man had a revelation, His God would carry them both and His God loved them both, as sons. The man realized just at the right moment, who could help raise them up and lift them to safety and the teacher( the man) became the (boy) and the man was made a little taller that day, as was the boy.