The Day We Didn’t Ride the Ducks

Fresh in our memory is the tragedy of the recent Ride the Ducks drownings. Seventeen people expected a pleasant afternoon and entered eternity sooner than planned.  It brought a sobering wave of reality to our family.  We were just down the road from the tragedy when it occurred.

By way of information, my husband had agreed to listen to a timeshare sales talk in exchange for three nights in a hotel in Branson. Since a few of our grandchildren were visiting, we decided to bite the bullet and endure the four hours in order to make some memories with our grandchildren.  One of the sales associates recommended a famous adventure called “Ride the Ducks.”  The vehicle resembled a boat on wheels.  It would travel on land, then slide down a ramp and navigate on water.  Just what elementary children would find exciting!  Then we discovered the cost of tickets. They were a bit out of our price range, considering some traveling we planned to do, so we had to disappoint our grandchildren and divert their attention elsewhere.

The evening of the tragedy we were just down the road, preparing to enter another tourist place.  Our grandchildren were playing on a playground when an employee came out and told us they were closing the place due to an approaching storm.  We jumped into our van and started toward our hotel when the storm broke.  High winds whipped branches off trees and sent them blowing across parking lots.  Store employees hurried outside and snatched up items from outdoor displays.

Early the next morning we heard the news of the tragic drownings.  Seventeen vacationers lost their lives on the lake.  We could have been among them.  Sobering? Yes. Realizing that tragedies can occur to anyone at any time makes a person grateful that God decided to put us in the right place at the right time this time.  Our responsibility now is to pray for the families who are missing loved ones.  We could have been among them.

Roberta Sarver is an author and songwriter who lives in central Missouri. Her humor columns appear in the Versailles Leader-Statesman and her original songs of worship have appeared on radio stations across the nation. She and her husband are the parents of seven children.

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