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The Bucket of Shrimp

(16 posts)
  1. crazypipe

    Teddy

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    The Bucket of Shrimp

    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.

    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 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 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.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  2. pstlpkr

    Lawrence

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    Thanks for sharing.


    "Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put." Winston Churchill
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    Posted 1 year ago #
  3. brdavidson

    brdavidson

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    Awesome story!

    Posted 1 year ago #
  4. tbradsim1

    tbradsim1

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    Thank you. The old cajun

    The Old Cajun
    Posted 1 year ago #
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    Anonymous

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    Terrific story, Teddy -- thanks so much for sharing it.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  6. nsfisher

    nsfisher

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    Now that is a great read, thanks mate, for sharing it with us, much appreciated.

    If at first you don't succeed, have another bowl.
    Posted 1 year ago #
  7. brdavidson

    brdavidson

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    Reminds me of something my Grandfather used to do. He was a burly Scotsman, intimidating as hell, could get a confession out of you with a simple look. Anyways, he was a little surly and dour (typical Scot you could say)and if anyone came to the door looking for a handout he would literally chase them away. However whenever the Salvation Army had their staff with the donation buckets or would do door to door solicitation he would generously fork over $20 dollars and give it to them. Keep in mind this was 25 years ago, he was on a fixed income and by no means wealthy. I finaly got the courage to ask why he was always so kind and gave so much to the Sally Ann. His response blew my socks off. During WW2 he was captured by the Germans within the first 2 months of the war and was in a Nazi prison camp for almost 6 years. The only connection to home was the Salvation Army who would bring blankets, cigarettes and the mail. He said the only thing that kept him alive those horrible years was the Salvation Army. I cannot pass one of their stands at Christmas time without making sure I give them as much money as I have on me. I've made sure my kids understand why I do it as well.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  8. spartan

    Spartan

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    Raw seagull you say?

    Hmmmm...........

    Great story. Thanks for that. At least the seagull didn't suffer.

    "I was born to lose. So I'll die to win." -Breaking Benjamin
    Posted 1 year ago #
  9. thuber88

    thuber88

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    Very nice story, thanks.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  10. crazypipe

    Teddy

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    brdavidson
    Sounds like your granfather was a great and loving man , Thank you for sharing something from his life with us.
    Teddy

    Posted 1 year ago #
  11. joshwolftree

    joshwolftree

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    A touching story

    The true measure of a mans worth is how he chooses to chance his mortality
    Junior Member of the Black Bloods
    Posted 1 year ago #
  12. brdavidson

    brdavidson

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    Thanks Teddy, he was a complicated man, but loved his grandchildren unconditionally. He's the reason I smoke a pipe today.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  13. cynyr

    cynyr

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    Great story - made me shiver.

    Eddie won the Medal of Honor in WW1 as America's premier flying ace. He didn't have to go to the Pacific, but he went. It was that kind of time.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  14. trailspike48

    trailspike48

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    Eddie was a great soldier, and probably man. But this story is mostly rumor with some fact thrown it. He did catch a seagull by hand, they didn't catch many fish, and I couldn't find out if he actually fed seagulls shrimp from a pier. Like the lady in the current TV add dating a french model, don't believe everything you read on the internet.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  15. ace57

    ace57

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    U.S.M.C. (SEMPER FI)
    Posted 1 year ago #
  16. cortezattic

    Cortez

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    Well, it was a good read. Edifying and uplifting. I guess the moral is the value of paying back out of gratitude rather than expecting help as an entitlement.

    I find myself sitting idly on the line dividing past and future,
    as if I could kill time without injuring eternity. -- Thoreau
    .
    Posted 1 year ago #

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