I forget who told me this one, somebody from Pennsylvania I think, but it goes like this.

A guy going home from work sees a big commotion by the river. He slows down, parks his car, jumps out. Others have stopped too, all of them hauling people out of the river and dragging them back to the bank.

Photo of rescuing fireman carry a child wrapped in a blanket.He looks upstream and way more people are coming this way. The current's pushing them fast downriver, any of them with a breath left in their bodies calling for help. It's worse than anything that ever was. So he jumps in himself and starts hauling them out.

The river is strong and so cold it hurts, but he can't stop. There's always somebody needs saved. Some are old, some are kids, some are probably dead already. All he can do is grab one, hand them on back to whoever's closer to the bank, grab another, and try not to let the river carry any past him to the falls.

Suddenly he just stops, wades out of the river, and heads for his car. A woman calls out, "Wait! Where are you going?" "Upstream," he tells her. "I gotta stop whoever's throwing "em in."


in a race with the river

a tribute to the late Howard Moses and to all our systems advocates
from Lucy Gwin

january - february 2002 " page 47