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Old 11-04-2009, 04:24   #61
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Charlotte harbor, FL
Boat: Morgan OI 414
Posts: 251
An interesting story about Seagulls...

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.
> Before long, 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. Invariably, one of the gulls lands on his sea-bleached,
> weather-beaten hat - an old military hat he's been wearing for years.
> 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 that'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 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 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, he managed
> 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 lifesaving 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)
> PS: Eddie was also an Ace in WW I and started Eastern Airlines.

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