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A Near Tragedy

Writing about the seaside reminds me of an accident that I was mixed up in. One summer my Uncle Tom Lambert and his family came to see us just for the day. One of his daughters, Annie, was a great chum of mine. She was just my age, 15, and we liked each other so much that I was delighted to have her company. It was a beautiful afternoon, so I thought it would be quite a treat for her to go out boating with me. We strolled down the lawn and through the backwoods, and there tied to the quay, was the very boat I wanted and a glorious high tide, too. I jumped into the boat, pulled up the anchor and got out the oars when Annie made a jump off the quay and, to my horror, missed the boat and plunged into the water. I tried to grab her, but she was sucked under the stern. The water was so clear I could see her being held down by her heavy blue serge dress and also the top of her lovely garden hat which, being tied under her chin Dolly Varden fashion, did not float away. I could see she was coming up again, but I could not reach her. However, on looking around, I saw a man in the distance walking along the shore. I yelled with all my might and, to my surprise, he ran towards me. He understood what had happened, and before I could realize it, he had his coat off and was swimming out to the rescue.

Annie was unconscious when he brought her ashore, and I was afraid she was dead. So, while the young man was doing what he could to restore animation, I ran up to the house, but I was so excited I could hardly explain what had happened. However, several people followed me to the beach with restoratives and, after quite a long while, Annie’s eyes opened and she gave a gasp as a sign of returning consciousness.

As usual, being a tomboy, I got the blame for it before I even had a chance to explain how it all happened. My cheeks began to burn with all the choice remarks I heard: “She’s the beginning and end of everything crazy.” “She’s up to everything with her wild ways.” “She should have been a boy, but what a terrible worry he would have been! But Grandma made me laugh, particularly when she remarked that I had a bee in my bonnet. My brothers, however, always stood up for me and helped me as best they could to smooth things over.

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Written by Elizabeth La Hiff Lambert

Published here 09 Sep 2022 and originally published 1979

Page 0101 of Athenry History

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