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Old 02-05-2012, 03:53 PM   #1
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Old guy & a bucket of shrimp

I'm told this is a true story, Hope you appreciate it and want to pass it along.

It happened every Friday evening, almost without fail, when the sun resembled a giant orange and was starting to dip into the blue ocean.

Old Ed came strolling along the beach to his favorite pier.. Clutched in his bony hand was a bucket of shrimp. Ed walks out to the end of the pier, where it seems he almost has the world to himself. The glow of the sun is a golden bronze now.

Everybody's gone, except for a few joggers on the beach. Standing out on the end of the pier, Ed is alone with his thoughts...and his bucket of shrimp.

Before long, however, he is no longer alone. Up in the sky a thousand white dots come screeching and squawking, winging their way toward that lanky frame standing there on the end of the pier.

Now, dozens of seagulls have enveloped him, their wings fluttering and flapping wildly. Ed stands there tossing shrimp to the hungry birds. As he does, if you listen closely, you can hear him say with a smile, 'Thank you. Thank you.'

In a few short minutes the bucket is empty. But Ed doesn't leave.

He stands there lost in thought, as though transported to another time and place.

When he finally turns around and begins to walk back toward the beach, a few of the birds hop along the pier with him until he gets to the stairs, and then they, too, fly away. And old Ed quietly makes his way down to the end of the beach and on home.

If you were sitting there on the pier with your fishing line in the water, Ed might seem like 'a funny old duck,' as my dad used to say. Or, 'a guy who's a sandwich shy of a picnic,' as my kids might say. To onlookers, he's just another old codger, lost in his own weird world, feeding the seagulls with a bucket full of shrimp.

To the onlooker, rituals can look either very strange or very empty. They can seem altogether unimportant .... maybe even a lot of nonsense.

Old folks often do strange things, at least in the eyes of Baby Boomers and Busters.

Most of them would probably write Old Ed off, down there in Florida.. That's too bad. They'd do well to know him better.

His full name: Eddie Rickenbacker. He was a famous hero back in World War II. On one of his flying missions across the Pacific, he and his seven-member crew went down. Miraculously, all of the men survived, crawled out of their plane, and climbed into a life raft.

Captain Rickenbacker and his crew floated for days on the rough waters of the South Pacific. They fought the sun. They fought sharks. Most of all, they fought hunger. By the eighth day their rations ran out. No food. No water.. They were hundreds of miles from land and no one knew where they were.

They needed a miracle. That afternoon they had a simple devotional service and prayed for a miracle. They tried to nap. Eddie leaned back and pulled his military cap over his nose.. Time dragged. All he could hear was the slap of the waves against the raft..

Suddenly, Eddie felt something land on the top of his cap. It was a seagull!

Old Ed would later describe how he sat perfectly still, planning his next move. With a flash of his hand and a squawk from the gull, hemanaged to grab it and wring its neck.. He tore the feathers off, and he and his starving crew made a meal - a very slight meal for eight men - of it. Then they used the intestines for bait.. With it, they caught fish, which gave them food and more bait......and the cycle continued. With that simple survival technique, they were able to endure the rigors of the sea until they were found and rescued (after 24 days at sea...).

Eddie Rickenbacker lived many years beyond that ordeal, but he never forgot the sacrifice of that first life-saving seagull.. And he never stopped saying, 'Thank you.' That's why almost every Friday night he would walk to the end of the pier with a bucket full of shrimp and a heart full of gratitude.

Reference: (Max Lucado, "In The Eye of the Storm", pp...221, 225-226)
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Old 02-05-2012, 04:27 PM   #2
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Thankyou for this!!!!!

My dad told me this very story on a trip we took to New Hampshire in 2007. As we traveled back to our home in Canada, I remember looking over at him in the car and realizing in my heart that this was probably to be our last trip together. My thoughts were true and I lost him the following spring. I sure miss his stories of the great adventures of some of North America's great aviators and war aces. My dad was a Lancaster bomber pilot and was shot down over Germany in 1942 and managed to escape and made it into France where the resistance helped him back to his squadron. He went on 38 bombing missions and then switched to a fighter squadron flying Spitfires. He flew in the Battle of Britain and had 5 confirmed kills. For this he received the Distinguished Flying Cross.the highest Airforce decoration in the British and Canadian military during wartime.

After the war he went on to a very distinguished career in aviation. In !998 he was inducted into the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame and the following year into the World Aviation Hall of Fame. I grew up in a family where aviation was our life. I started my career as an airline pilot and then due to a health issue had to change careers.

I'm sorry to bore you with bragging of Dads accomplishments, but I am so proud of him. He was a great guy.
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Old 02-05-2012, 04:59 PM   #3
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Great story MSHappyCampers and an excellent add on Akibase. Your obviously very proud of your father, as you should be. BZ
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Old 02-05-2012, 05:54 PM   #4
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Yes this is a great story of survival and of miricale. And Akibase, always be proud of your heritage. Men like CPT Rickenbacker and your Dad were true heros as are, IMO, all that have served, are serving, and will serve in the armed forces that fight for freedom of us all.
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Old 02-06-2012, 07:10 AM   #5
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Eddie R. was quite a guy.
Akibase,
Don't ever apologize for bragging/talking about your Dad's accomplishments and heroism. If not for those left to recount these stories, they may be left behind and all too soon forgotten. Heroism is a state of being and must never be spoken of in less than the most reverent and honored manner. KUDOS and Bravo Zulu.
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Old 02-06-2012, 09:10 AM   #6
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Good story.
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Old 02-06-2012, 09:13 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Akibase View Post
My dad told me this very story on a trip we took to New Hampshire in 2007. As we traveled back to our home in Canada, I remember looking over at him in the car and realizing in my heart that this was probably to be our last trip together. My thoughts were true and I lost him the following spring. I sure miss his stories of the great adventures of some of North America's great aviators and war aces. My dad was a Lancaster bomber pilot and was shot down over Germany in 1942 and managed to escape and made it into France where the resistance helped him back to his squadron. He went on 38 bombing missions and then switched to a fighter squadron flying Spitfires. He flew in the Battle of Britain and had 5 confirmed kills. For this he received the Distinguished Flying Cross.the highest Airforce decoration in the British and Canadian military during wartime.

After the war he went on to a very distinguished career in aviation. In !998 he was inducted into the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame and the following year into the World Aviation Hall of Fame. I grew up in a family where aviation was our life. I started my career as an airline pilot and then due to a health issue had to change careers.

I'm sorry to bore you with bragging of Dads accomplishments, but I am so proud of him. He was a great guy.
You didn't bore us at all! I know how proud you must be of your dad! He was truly a hero!
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Old 02-06-2012, 09:20 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catonine View Post
Yes this is a great story of survival and of miricale. And Akibase, always be proud of your heritage. Men like CPT Rickenbacker and your Dad were true heros as are, IMO, all that have served, are serving, and will serve in the armed forces that fight for freedom of us all.
Well put and I'm in full agreement.
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