Many of my summers growing up were spent in and around a small patch of beach on Lake Cannon in Winter Haven, Florida, or is it in Auburndale? Really cannot remember where the city limits exchanged, either way it is right off Havendale Boulevard behind the Boys Club.
Anyway, when I think of the best times in my -free to explore alone years- as a kid everything surrounding Lake Cannon, including the canals that fed drainage down into the lake, lies along in the realm of fantasy as compared to imprisonment many kids must face today. I did everything there all summer long whenever we lived close, either alone, with my brother, or with friends. No adults needed or wanted. Being at home was torture and being told “if you come in the house one more time you’re gonna stay in,” was a threat to be taken serious and avoided at all costs. Other than Saturday mornings to watch cartoons, Tarzan, and Creature Features hosted by Dr. Paul Bearer I never wanted to be in the house, er trailer.
So on one of my younger days expedition to the small parcel of sand that was the Lake Cannon beach, was as in it no longer exists. Cooling off in the emerald green waves that were splashing up around my sand works. Larger waves from boat wakes would take out walls and buildings.
On that day there were two life guards, one woman one young guy. Both were of course much older than I was at the time. In the water were just me and another kid that I didn’t know. He was probably a year or so older than me. Think I was about nine or ten that summer.
While I played in the sand just a few feet in front of where the life guards were sitting talking that kid stayed out wading in the water. For some reason I don’t know why, maybe he was bored, the kid started teasing me, trash talking as it is today, stomping on what I was building; typical bully-at-the-beach behavior.
The life guards were telling me to ignore him. I was a fixture to that lake back then so they knew me as a good kid never starting trouble, just always came to play and enjoy the lake.
So I did what I was told, not that it helped and maybe he felt encouraged that I was taking it and not doing anything to stop him.
Until he found himself lying on his back in the lakes shallows with me on top trying to knock his teeth out. Life guards of course intervened which really was no big deal. The kid was sent off the beach and I went back to doing what I was doing in the sand.
Now, like most people I can take a lot before having to finally say enough is enough and strike back, but not with the intention to do damage; but to send a message to our tormentors: That a price will be paid for continued abuse. We can all take only so much. We will punish those meddling in our lives, then once the fight is over, continue on.