Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: North (05/05/16)
TITLE: Miracle at Punta Rassa
By Katy Curry
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Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Smokey was painfully thin; every rib visible. Blonde hair bleached white by hours working in the Florida sun framed his face. His lanky frame was deceiving, the sixteen-year-old boy had a strength and toughness from hard work. His eyes were clear blue, and his ready smile would light up his face.
Ed, Smokey’s father, was a shrimper. He needed a good haul to finish the down payment for a new boat. Despite a predicted storm, he decided to take the “Gasparilla 1,” his old shrimper out for one last run in hopes of finishing off the down payment.
Smokey looked at the sky and got one of his gut feelings. “Dad, are you sure, look at that sky…”
The thunderous look on his father’s face stopped him from finishing the warning, and he turned to ready the boat.
As Smokey had feared the sky rapidly changed from corals, blues, and lavenders to foreboding purple-grays punctuated with points of fiery orange.
They let out the net, turned, and dropped anchor, but heavy seas prevented the anchor from finding purchase in the bottom sand. The boat started to drift, dragging the anchor along the bay floor.
“Boy, jump in and stand on that anchor;” his dad ordered. Smokey stripped his raincoat, shirt, and pants, and jumped in next to the anchor. A rip tide caught Smokey and tore the anchor chain from his grasp as the Nor’easter descended with howling fury.
Smokey was alone in black, angry, water. He could barely see the boat, and as the nor’easter closed in, the Gasparilla disappeared. He was on his own. Icy fear began to claw at his belly.
Rain drilled down horizontally, sharp as icicles bullets. He could not see what direction he was going and prayed that God would guide his course. If he got turned around, he would not survive.
The fury of the storm created angry waves that washed over him with each stroke. The drag of the current sucked at him, urging him to stop his battle and just sink into the darkness. His arms got heavy, and the muscles in his legs began to cramp. He sank below the water; suddenly his eyes opened wide and with a shake of his head, he fought his way up to gasp for a breath of air.
He swam for eternity, praying that God give him the strength to get to land, to survive an impossible situation. He fought for life and found himself in the relatively sheltered waters of the waterways of Punta Rassa.
Smokey spied a light and with it a houseboat. He hung to the side and called out a greeting and request to come aboard. To Smokey’s relief, it was his Uncle Bill.
“Boy? You ain’t got no clothes on!” Bill remarked.
“No sir lost them in the storm,” Smokey responded.
“Well go on in, find a couple of towels and pour yourself a cup of coffee. Angels must have been with you tonight. You are one lucky boy!” said Uncle Bill.
Smokey grinned and went to find towels and coffee. Uncle Bill came in, handed him a too big shirt and a pair of pants and ruffled his hair. Smokey rolled up the legs and sleeves while again telling God “Thank you” for saving his life.
“Your dad’s coming; hide; I’m gonna have some fun with him.” Bill urged.
Smokey grinned and squatted down behind the door and listened as his dad asked about him.
“Ed, I’m sorry, I haven’t heard anything. There’re lots of places he could have landed, don’t give up hope.” Bill counseled his brother.
Smokey could see his father was gravely concerned and jumped out from behind the door.
“Here I am, Dad!” Smokey grinned. Bill slapped his knee and started to laugh. Ed grabbed his son and held him tight.
“We got you, Ed. That’ll teach you to go out fishing when a storm’s coming up;” cackled Bill.
“Yep, Bill, you got me. I never prayed so hard in my life. If I weren't so grateful to see my boy, I’d beat you bloody.”
“Come on, Smokey, let’s go home,” said Ed. Father and son walked companionably and set off for home on the now sinking Gasparilla.
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