Arden’s married son, Jason, came to visit and wanted to have some fun. “Dad, why don’t we spin up some dirt and mud with my new Jeep? I hear the lake is really low this year. We could buzz along the shore.”
“I don’t know,” Arden replied. “I’m getting a bit old for something like that. And what if we get stuck? I’m not much good at pushing, digging, or walking for help.”
Jason laughed. “Don’t worry. We won’t get stuck. I’ve got one of the newest, coolest Jeeps around. It has exceptional tires, a tow cable, and, of course, four-wheel-drive.”
Arden paused briefly. He was getting to that age where every part of him ached if he overexerted himself even a little. But his son’s confidence finally won him over.
It wasn’t long before they reached the lake. They followed the road to the boat ramp that ended well above the waterline. The nearby dock sat high and dry on the sand. It had been a low snow-pack year, and the usual spring rains had been less than average.
At the bottom of the boat ramp, Jason turned the Jeep and headed down the beach. The smooth ride of the pavement gave way to the bumpy, twisted travel of the slanted lake side. Arden had to clench his teeth together to keep them from chattering. He had to hold on to keep from being thrown around inside the seat belt he was wearing.
Jason gunned the engine, and the back wheels spun mud higher than the jeep. If there were huge rocks, Jason would slow down and creep over them to keep his Jeep safe. But if the rocks were small to medium in size, he’d hit the accelerator, making the jeep fly over them.
Arden thought about how he was so much like Jason when he was young. But now, being older, he liked things calm and safe. He was sure just the twisting, jumping, and turning was going to make him so sore he wouldn’t sleep for a week.
At one point, when Jason spun out a huge mud geyser behind them, he turned to his father and grinned. “Some fun, huh?”
They reached a part of the lake that widened, and the water was hundreds of yards from the usual shoreline. Instead of turning and following the shoreline, Jason stayed close to the water and headed across the open sand toward a point where the shore was again near the water. That was when the problem started.
Instead of being solid like the bank, the sand out farther in the lake was apparently more saturated with water. As they started to sink, Jason seemed to know they were in trouble. He gunned the Jeep, and they moved fast toward the solid ground he was aiming for. But speed alone was not enough to overcome the soggy sand, and they gradually came to a stop with all four wheels spinning.
By this time, they were a long way from any help. But Jason was still confident. “We’ll just reel out the tow cable and connect it to a tree on the shore. We can use that to pull us in.”
The nearest tree was quite a distance away. Arden hadn’t ever seen a tow cable that long. But he dutifully got out and grabbed the cable. Jason hit the button, and the cable slowly came out. The mud attempted to swallow Alden’s feet, and the cable grew heavier the farther he went. Finally, father and son had to switch places. Arden’s arms and legs ached as he climbed in to push the button as Jason continued to pull the cable toward the tree. When they were only about twenty feet from the tree, the cable started to wind in around the other direction, and they had to stop.
They then started to dig and gather branches, rocks, and anything else they could stuff under the tires. They would only make a foot or two, then have to get some more material. It was just getting dark when they finally were close enough to the tree to wrap the cable around it.
As soon as it was secured, Jason started working the cable in as he slowly spun the wheels forward. Gradually, the cable pulled them to solid ground. It was almost midnight when the two sore, exhausted men made it home. Arden’s wife expressed her worry, and Arden told the story.
“Is the Jeep okay?” she asked.
Arden rolled his eyes. “You can’t hurt something that isn’t moving.”