Boating at Bartlett Lake and a tribute to my father

As you may have read in my last entry, I had just returned from vacationing in Seattle, where boats and water are everywhere.  Having stayed across the street from Union Lake, and making my evening stroll down to the harbor, I noticed so many people arriving via boat to their party destination for the Labor Day Weekend, only to sail out into the darkness of night after, with no running lights, and some boats a tad over crowded for their size.

This past Saturday, I had the priviledge of going boating up at my town lake, Bartlett, which just happened to be on the anniversary of that fatal fall day of September 11th, which we are all too familiar with.

By comparison to my stint along the waters of Seattle, aside from the landscape being quite different, I noticed too, that there was a completely opposing sense on the lake here in Arizona. 

We had a wonderful afternoon of skiing, wake boarding, picnicking, swimming and playing with Sugar and Shane, our two handicapped lab mixes.  Surprisingly for this time of year, the lake was calm with scattered boaters enjoying the same things we were, and some, who were enjoying a little more!  It's hard not to spend a day on water, relaxing and playing without that refreshing cold beer to look forward to.  I think moderation here is the key!  Well, as the sun was beginning to drop (as it is doing earlier these days), we decided to call it a day, and load up the boat until another day of boating presents itself.  As we were waiting in line to pull our boat out, we watched one group after another pulling their boats out, only to be pulled over the first two feet they drove from the launch.  It wasn't as if these boaters didn't see it coming.  The Sheriff's SUV's were parked right before the launch, just waiting for every party to load up and begin the trek home...and BAM!  They were being questioned, tested and then hauled off.  Within the first three miles of our trek from the lake, six boaters were pulled over, most likely for DUI's.

We felt very confident, as the group of people I was among knew moderation, and took the day of boating seriously in order to enjoy making it home to enjoy the evening as well.  9 year old Maddy had been well educated as well, as her father insisted that she wear her PFD the entire time, regardless of how much chaffing her upper arms were suffering.  Arizona has always had sheriff's with the mentality of "The Texas Rangers", which can be a little excessive, especially when your day's scheduling is being compromised due to a rolling stop (which requires binoculars to see the actual roll).  However, when it comes to the dangers we can all fall prey to on the water where drinking occurs regularly, I'm glad to  have them around!

I want to end today's entry with a tribute to my father, Bob Shepardson, who died 10 years ago today from Melanoma skin cancer. I have discussed in a previous blog about the importance of sun screen.  So here goes:  Look for the acive ingredient, AVOBENZONE.  It's the only ingredient that protects against MELANOMA! Helioplex works as a booster to prolong this protection. Make sure it is water proof if you plan on hanging in the water.  Begin the habit today of wearing it year round for the rest of your life, especially if you enjoy the great outdoors, as my father did!  He lived life large, and never missed the opportunity to grow through challenges, or enjoy the quest of learning new things.  He was an avid skiier (both snow and water), golpher, tennis player and boater.  Through his demise, we can all learn a valuable lesson.  He would want it that way.  Teach your children while they are young this new habit.  Besides brushing their teeth every morning and night, make sure they slather on sun screen, and don't ever forget the areas around the ears.  These areas are easily forgotten, but vulnerable to Melanoma!  Wear a hat and reapply your sun screen every 2-3 hours!

Check out my website at: watersafewatersmart.com and purchase your copy of my book today!!

To My father:  I know you did the best you could!

Love, your daughter, Linda

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