When I was 5 or 6 years old (there is some discussion on my age), I fell into the irrigation canal.
I have a special place in my heart for a guy named Mike. He saved my life by pulling me from the irrigation ditch just as I was about to be swept away. I don't know, maybe I was a bit younger, but I still remember the taste of that muddy water filling my lungs and my oldest brother hollering. Suddenly someone grabbed my arm and pulled me out of what I was sure was going to be my watery grave.
My brothers also contributed to the telling of this story and I want to share their versions with you too. My eldest brother said, "I remember that too, I remember running after you, never quite catching up enough to reach you, yelling the whole way. Mike got ahead somehow, I think by running down the side of the road while I was trying to run along the ditch bank, or maybe his longer legs, or maybe he was just always in front of me, maybe all of those, and he caught you at the bridge, which would have sent you under, and maybe trapped you underneath. So he was just in time. Hadn't thought about that in years."
My second brother told it this way, "Yes. I remember that day, but not particularly well. I would guess that Sandy was closer to 3 than 8 because I remember not being able to do anything except yell at Mike to try to get her. We were floating sticks down the rapid ditch water. Sandy slipped as she was reaching in to get one. I was right by her, but I could do nothing as the water swept her away. I remember yelling and watching Sandy float down the stream with Mike running down the side of the road. I don't actually remember seeing him grab her, but I do remember telling Mike that he was a hero. Mike (and the Thursby family overall) was tremendously good to Grandma and Grandpa."
I'm telling this story again because our dear friend, Mike, died of cancer on Sunday at the age of 54. Life is so fragile and so short. I will always be grateful that he made mine last a little longer.