Tomorrow morning we get up early and head southwest to Paso Robles for a Thanksgiving gathering of the Smith clan (Karla’s people) at her cousin Rowenna’s place. The following day we will return to witness the wedding of Ro to our friend Frank Hoke. We have known Frank for decades since he worked for the Edison Company at Florence Lake as the dam tender.
Frank once saved our lives. We were returning from the far end of the lake in our ferry, the Sierra Queen, which at the time was powered by a couple of iffy outboard engines; one had already pooped out. The lake was full, and water was spilling over the dam at a furious rate. Dangerous! As we approached the store end of the lake in the evening, the second engine quit. I punched the horn on the boat, sending out an SOS call in Morse code; three short toots, three longs, three shorts. I repeated the call. There was a party going on outside at the Edison Company camp beside the lake, and hearing the horn, people cheered and waved. But Frank got the message—SOS; Save Our Souls! He ran to the company boat, came out to us, and pulled us clear of the spillway.
The next morning we ordered two new engines and I drove, breaking every speed limit, to the distributor in Sacramento to pick them up before they closed in early afternoon. The following morning we were wondering how to haul a couple of 265-pound engines down to the ferry, when who should show up but a weight-lifting club from Fresno. They wanted a ride across the lake. “It’s free if you haul these engines down to the ferry,” I said.
Serendipity strikes again.
Have a great marriage, Frank and Rowenna! And may you never have an SOS situation.