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Rescued from the brink

The daffodils have flashed their dance. They appear to be dying, but an underground dynamic hums until next year at just the right time. Ah, life.

I’ve been contemplating life’s redeemed worth, and about those who’ve had theirs snatched from an “untimely” death or rescued someone else. I asked friends if any tales came to mind, and within 24 hours had more rescues than room. All special, here are a few.

Shahala said, “I was saved by a small clinic doctor in Kenya when I was going into convulsions after contracting malaria in the bush. A sweet young Muslim nurse nursed me through the delirium. I will forever be grateful for them saving my life.” Shahala was 20 and staying with a tribe of Masai. She couldn’t recall the nurse’s name. “Kenyan names are very beautiful and hard to remember.”

Ed shared his story from a boat on the Stanislaus River. “My brother saw a large trout heading downstream. We both went to the downstream side to look for it. The boat tipped. My brother floated downstream and was caught by someone on the beach. I sank to the bottom. A man on the dock saw what happened and dove in. He grabbed me and brought me to shore, where someone laid me on a blanket and pumped my back until I spit up the water. I woke and saw many people standing around me. They thought I had died.”

“I was 18 and on a trip to Europe when one of my tour friends went to step off a curb in Rome,” said Susy. “Out of the corner of my eye I saw a speeding car coming and instantly grabbed his shirt and pulled him back. The car (a taxi) zoomed by without braking. Two years later — we married.” She hadn’t thought of the incident until the prompt.

Chip recalled a time, “I once grabbed a guy who was floating down a river and pulled him to safety. He couldn't swim and told me, ‘You saved my life.’"

Some have lifesaving jobs, like Terry, who was an EMT. Jim has Dr. Kohler to thank for saving his life twice recently in a local hospital. Then there’s the military.

“I spent 28 plus years in the Coast Guard and contributed to countless rescues,” Cliff remembers. “The single time l made a difference in hands-on lifesaving was at the beach at Nags Head, N.C. with a couple friends. Significant undertow there. My friend made a deep dive off the piling into the bottom and broke his neck. He was conscious but pretty messed up. I hauled him out of the surf and ashore as carefully as possible and got someone to call an ambulance. He was in traction a few months but fortunately healed completely.”

I asked Cliff if they stayed in touch. “We got in touch 48 years later on Facebook. Pleased to know he's still breathing 48 years after the event. He sincerely thanked me. Kinda cool.”

Liz saved a toddler from drowning in a hot tub. “A young woman came out with a tiny infant in her arms and a 2- or 3-year-old son. I sat on the edge while we visited. She allowed the boy to play in the hot tub (a terrible idea). He fell and was struggling to get up. She said, ‘Oh, save him.’ I pulled him out, he was hysterical. I often wonder what she could have done to save him while holding the baby, if I had not been there.” The young mom left, flustered.

Toni saved her husband, Dick, from an overdose. “From what I recall he woke up wanting more drugs. Twas a miracle, sister. Bleeding from his nose.”

Many rescues involved water. Most names remain unknown. Some don’t say thank you. Others are offered life, as in Dick’s case, and choose the lie that’s taking them under.

“Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

Happy Easter, everyone.

Reach freelance writer Peggy Dover at pcdover@hotmail.com.