Saturday, May 30, 2009
“Eli went in the river,” my Mom told me as I was grilling up chicken and hot dogs for the Foodbuzz 24/24/24. “They can’t find him.”
This is definitely not what you want to hear when you’re having a Carolina Cook Out with your family and friends.
The Bull Hole is a beautiful park near my home. Normally, the water is about knee deep and slow moving. With all the rain this past week, the Yadkin River was roaring rather than rippling. The falls were thunderous, and the water was muddy and churning.
Eli is my 16-year-old and my baby. I have two sons. He’s the youngest. And, he was missing. Even if you’re not a Mom, you can imagine how that chilled my heart.
I raced down the path to the beach area and started running along the bank of the Yadkin. Some men fishing said the boys went across and were on the other side of the river. They weren’t real fluent in English, but I tracked back to the cook out area. If my kid was on the other side of the river, then someone needed to drive up 801 and cut around the mill to the Davie County side.
Most of our grillers were on down the river, so Joel and I hit the grills. If I didn’t stay busy, I knew I might break down. I prayed it was true that Eli was on the other side and okay. I flipped chicken and rolled hot dogs around on the grill on auto pilot.
Grilling chicken on auto pilot - since grilling is in my blood.
We heard ambulance sirens . . .
I stirred beans and hoped that the sirens were a good sign.
Mixed beans make a great side dish at a barbecue, and they can be made ahead which is great especially when things get hectic. But, I hope they do not get this wild for anyone else out there.
One of the men in our group got back up to the cook out area and said that Eli was fine. Another kid was drowning, and he went in after the kid. The current pushed them down the river where they got hung up in some trees on the side. Eli got hold of a branch and held the other teen above water until someone helped pull him up on the bank.
I wondered about him being in the river. Eli took lifeguard training and was just hired at the Salisbury YMCA. He starts next week. I couldn’t imagine him getting in the churning water to play. He would know that would be dangerous given the circumstances. But, I know he’s the kind of kid who would go in if he thought someone else was in trouble. And, that’s what he did.
The other child should be okay. He was drifting in and out but had a pulse and was breathing. Eli checked that and then borrowed a cell phone and called 9-1-1. The siren I heard was the ambulance coming for the other boy. They took him to the hospital. I will call tomorrow and double check on him. I know how his Mom must have been feeling. And, I’m thankful that her son is not missing down the river like mine was for a while. Not knowing is a really hard thing.
My kid is back at the Carolina Cook Out and muddy but not even keyed up about this river rescue.
With Eli back in the fold, the Carolina Cook Out continued. We had all kinds of great food and most of it local. I blogged about some of our fabulous North Carolina products and companies before we headed out for the cook out. In true rural Southern fashion, we had way more than we could possibly eat, and it was all yummy. I savored every bite but mostly I rejoiced in seeing my son sitting there at the picnic table along with so many other people I care deeply about. I am truly blessed.
Enjoying our Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: Carolina Cook Out - once my son is safe and back in the fold.
It was a great cook out - made sweeter by having all our loved ones together.
Tomorrow I will blog about the Carolina Cook Out and the food. Tonight I am just celebrating my kid and his courage in jumping in a raging river to save another child.
Eli got some scratches when the boys got caught up in the tree, but he is fine and is now sleeping sound in his own bed here at home.