The Unsinkable brian cork™

Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life

water Rescue!


Joanne called me at work (because she does that from time-to-time) last Thursday suggesting I leave early and we head for the boat.

she patiently reminded me that Apple was approaching $400 a share. “haven’t you done enough to change the world today”, she quipped.

those were clear marching-orders so I had Belinda clear my calendar and I was home by 3pm. although in truth, this was easy, because I had, otherwise, planned for an epic bike ride, with the sky all cobalt blue like, and many a road-bike target ready on the horizon.

all of my rides are epic. otherwise, I can’t see the point.

in any event, Joanne, Haley Anne and Emma Jo were ready and waiting. of course Rowdy, the world famous Rhodesian Ridgeback was on standby as well. Joanne had a few cold Modelo Especial’s and Margarita’s ready, Emma Jo was going to try her hand at “fishin” (with her new Barbie fishing rod, mind you), and Haley Anne was itching to put the Waverunner to work. there is a sizable bay with secondary coves off it near our dock. this is an ideal spot for wake boarding and all manner of watercraft – especially Waverunners.

upon arrival at the marina I busied myself wiping down Mojos hull (an absolutely must routine) and lining the slip with a few extra bouys for the Waverunner. with that done and Emma Jo happily dropping her line amidst the other boats and cheerful “hullos” from boating brothers and brethern, Joanne and I settled in the bridge taking in the breeze and swapping updates.

Joanne is gifted in many respects and margaritas are a specialty, as is taking my mind off most anything else. but, Haley Anne had evidently grown bored jumping wakes behind ski and wake boats and decided she needed her first-mate, Emma Jo with her. Emma Jo has a single idol in the world, and that would be her big “sissy”. so, off they went for mad-cap adventure (with a stern warning from Dad to “take it easy”). within fifteen minutes they were back with the harrowing news that a small boat was adrift in the bay, and the hapless occupants asking for assistance.

I was quite pleased with Haley Anne. two of the boaters were adult males. so, she had circled them warily to take-in the situation, and then levelly promised to come back with her Daddy.

…mind you, Haley Anne is almost as tall as myself, at fourteen (almost fifteen), statuesque, bronzed and a bad-ass defender for her cup-winning soccer powerhouse team. so, when she says: “Daddy”, there is something of a paradox in-play. she’s not likely to suffer much insult from anyone.

so… Haley Anne, all breathless with the great sense of urgency, and Emma Jo grimly hanging on, announces that I am needed “out there”.


“do they have any rope for us to tow them with”, I asked Haley Anne.

“yup, made sure”, she replied, quite self-assured.

I was, admittedly, a bit startled (with an ever-growing sense of pride) by that composure, some how, as I quickly slipped on my life vest, climbed on the Waverunner behind Emma Jo – and, off we went (in “no-wake” mode mind you within the boundaries of the docks). I had visions of my days as a fireman in Louisville, Colorado dancing in my head as I went through a mental check-list of “what-ifs” and the possibilities.

“Be part of the solution, men, not the problem”, offered by routine from my Battalion Chief, Chuck Schmidt.

I let Haley Anne pilot the Waverunner because this was, after all, her (and, Emma Jo’s) rescue mission.

the water was calm with graying skies that promised thunder if not rain to accompany it. we spotted the small boat dead ahead in the middle of the bay and Haley Anne eased the throttle and sped right for them. within minutes we were circling the boat and looking at three very relived new friends clearly uncomfortable and needing a tow.

“looks like a water pump, and my mechanic agrees”, offered a seasoned and pleasant woman with a cellular device under her chin.

I decided they were a clear-eyed enough looking crew so we offered a tow to their own marina. it happened to be Habersham Marina just around the bend from our own. it would require a path past a public beach and into the main channel.

one of the boaters tossed me a somewhat frayed line and I connected it to the tow bar of our Waverunner. with it’s supercharged motor it can pull a full grown man easily out of the water on a single ski, attain speeds of roughly eighty miles per hour (I can both attest and prove that – well, sixty eight MPH so for), and I figured easily pull a small ski boat with three adults, our own team of three riders, notwithstanding. at first perplexed where to attach the other end of the line to his own boat, I suggested a connection that might reduce stress on his bow. with a slow start and a slight jolt we were under way with the Yamaha product (Waverunner) quickly earning my admiration and commitment to review the companies earnings). we slid past our marina, waving to the odd boat, and made our way to the open lake. our speed was slow and the muggy air made wearing a vest hot. so, I distracted the girls with stories about me, Grandad and the old houseboat, firefighting, and explaining why fish need bait to offer themselves up to a hook and line. NOTE: in the end, Emma Jo conceded that made sense.

she is so practical, that way.

but, I also know she simply likes listening to me talk about almost anything.

I had concluded this was not going to be something to write home about when I was pulled from my yarning by a local sheriff astride a Sea Doo (smirk aka “redo”) with blue lights flashing. Haley Anne offer-up a quiet “uh-oh” and pushed right to avoid him. but, the sheriff clearly had other plans and motioned for Haley Anne to kill the engine. I had a slight concern around the Waverunner not yet being registered. but, the sheriff was more focused on our staying well clear of bouys. that was when I realized they had been pushed well past their usual placement off the public beach. that’s when he pointed to the the beach and offered:

American Pie: the Reunion is being filmed over there. Everyone’s back, including Stifler”, he announced, rather triumphantly.

he appeared ever so impressed with his report, and was clearly more concerned that we might some how disrupt filming (or, possibly offend Stifler’s Mom).

I gave the goodly and stout fellow a sold salute and advised Haley Anne to EASE the Waverunner into motion. so, she gassed it. as I heard myself exclaim “oh crap”, I saw look of dismay splay across the  face of the sheriff, and also heard someone behind us (in the boat) add a heart-felt “whuups”. seconds later I felt the hard pull of the line that accompanied the jarring stop of the Waverunner as Haley Anne, Emma Jo and I were ejected from our seats. I had taken off my life vest and came sputtering up from the cooler water immediately looking for Emma Jo. I quickly had her vest in my hand and comforted by the quizzical smile already dancing on her little face. Haley Anne was howling with delight and the sheriff came around acting stern but unable to hide his own mirth. I had a vision of the film, six months hence, with a scene panning off the shoulder of Jason Biggs (aka, Jim Levenstein) of a hapless crew of a Waverrunners flailing about in an off-timed comedic sequence.

who knows? it’s what Haley is fervently praying for. she is convinced she is going to, some how, end up in the movie. a star is born.

nonetheless, with me now at the helm, and under a bit more impatient speed, we continued our journey to Habersham Marina, with our cheery boat crew well in tow. Habersham is a well made and sturdy small-boat marina and it was easy to sling the small boat in the direction of a wide slip. I unhitched the tow cord and offered a warm John Wayne wave to our new, albeit unnamed, friends. I called Joanne with the news that we had a mission accomplished. we had some intermittent sun in our faces, and a few wakes to tackle, with more speed on the return trip.

so… Haley Anne, Emma Jo and I had a grand adventure with more details in the making as the story matures, to be sure. Haley Anne destined for stardom, Daddy thankful for a full day with great memories (and, a drop-dead gorgeous wife with a cold beer in her hand waiting), and Emma Jo with her head resting lazily on my back (day dreaming about her own fish story) as we made our way back to Mojo.

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork


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brian cork by John Campbell

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