Miller: Thanks to my daddy

Published 11:18 am Tuesday, June 14, 2022

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The sweltering heat caused rivers of perspiration to roll down each of our young bodies, but it was June, and we were out of school for summer. My siblings and I piled into our old sedan with one thought on our mind, swimming! We sang and laughed as we bumped down the road to the swimming hole.

My daddy’s beautiful tenor voice rang out with popular tunes of the day, and our little voices chimed in. My sister, Carol, had a clear and lovely voice, but some of us just loved to sing and happily did so no matter the sounds we made. The thought of an afternoon of fun in the water gave us something to sing about.

There were five of us at home with the youngest just a baby. My mother didn’t swim so I guess she stayed in the shallow water with Max. When I think about it, it was quite an undertaking to take us anywhere. We were all just a couple of years or so apart and with only one adult swimmer to five children in the water I’m wondering how mishaps didn’t occur more often than they actually did.

Once we parked our dad sternly gave us a little talking to about water safety. The main rule was no getting out over your head. We all agreed and most of us jetted out and ran splashing into the water. I hung back savoring the beauty of the day.

The tall pines towered toward the heavens and my little girl heart took in the lovely sights. Birds soared high above seeming to almost touch the clouds painted on the azure sky. The wildflowers and grasses caught my attention, and I stopped a moment to hunt for a bug or grasshopper while the other children splashed and played. I slowly made my way to the edge of the lake.

My toes squished in the mud as I inched my way into the water delighting in the cooling sensation creeping up my legs. The water was muddy, but I had never seen the crystal clear water of other places so it looked just fine to me. I ventured deeper until the water touched my knees, but soon went deeper still.

I should have stopped when my shoulders were no longer touched by the sun, but I went one step too many. There was no ground beneath me, and I struggled to stay afloat! Up and down I bobbled like a cork on a fishing line until I could fight no longer. I relaxed and let the water take me. Suddenly, I saw my brief life flash before me like pictures on an old time movie reel.

My dad’s strong arms lifted me out of the murky water and fortunately I suffered no ill effects. With Father’s Day upon us I’m thinking of my dad, and I’m so thankful that he literally saved my life that hot summer’s day so long ago.

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at