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Stories of the Past - You Never Know Who That Old Guy With a Bucket of Shrimp May Be

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posted on Jul, 14 2012 @ 11:37 PM
I was sent this email today from my mom. She loves stories like this...I thought it was another one of her inspirational emails (many not true) until I looked further into the story. Pretty amazing. You truly don't know anything about the people you see in our world - what they have done, what they accomplished, the hardships, failures and success.

First, the email itself:

An Old Guy And A Bucket Of Shrimp

This is a true story, hope you appreciate it and want to pass it along.

It happened every Friday evening, almost without fail,
when the sun resembled a giant orange and was starting to dip into the blue ocean.

Old Ed came strolling along the beach to his favorite pier.. Clutched in his bony hand was a bucket of shrimp.

Ed walks out to the end of the pier, where it seems he almost has the world to himself.
The glow of the sun is a golden bronze now.

Everybody's gone, except for a few joggers on the beach.

Standing out on the end of the pier, Ed is alone with his thoughts...and his bucket of shrimp.

Before long, however, he is no longer alone.

Up in the sky a thousand white dots come screeching and squawking,
winging their way toward that lanky frame standing there on the end of the pier.

Before long, dozens of seagulls have enveloped him, their wings fluttering and flapping wildly.
Ed stands there tossing shrimp to the hungry birds.

As he does, if you listen closely, you can hear him say with a smile, 'Thank you. Thank you.'

In a few short minutes the bucket is empty. But Ed doesn't leave.

He stands there lost in thought, as though transported to another time and place.

When he finally turns around and begins to walk back toward the beach, a few of the birds hop along the pier with him until he gets to the stairs, and then they, too, fly away. And old Ed quietly makes his way down to the end of the beach and on home.

If you were sitting there on the pier with your fishing line in the water,

Ed might seem like 'a funny old duck,' as my dad used to say.
Or, 'a guy who's a sandwich shy of a picnic,' as my kids might say.
To onlookers, he's just another old codger, lost in his own weird world, feeding the seagulls with a bucket full of shrimp.

To the onlooker, rituals can look either very strange or very empty.

They can seem altogether unimportant .... Maybe even a lot of nonsense.

Old folks often do strange things,
At least in the eyes of Boomers and Busters.

Most of them would probably write Old Ed off, down there in Florida .

That's too bad. They'd do well to know him better.

His full name: Eddie Rickenbacker.
He was a famous hero back in World War II.
On one of his flying missions across the Pacific, he and his seven-member crew went down.
Miraculously, all of the men survived, crawled out of their plane, and climbed into a life raft.

Captain Rickenbacker and his crew floated for days on the rough waters of the Pacific.

They fought the sun. They fought sharks. Most of all, they fought hunger.
By the eighth day their rations ran out. No food. No water.

They were hundreds of miles from land and no one knew where they were.

They needed a miracle.

That afternoon they had a simple devotional service and prayed for a miracle.
They tried to nap. Eddie leaned back and pulled his military cap over his nose.
Time dragged. All he could hear was the slap of the waves against the raft..

Suddenly, Eddie felt something land on the top of his cap.
It was a seagull!

Old Ed would later describe how he sat perfectly still, planning his next move. With a flash of his hand and a squawk from the gull, he managed to grab it and wring its neck..

He tore the feathers off, and he and his starving crew made a meal a very slight meal for eight men - of it.

Then they used the intestines for bait..

With it, they caught fish, which gave them food and more bait......
and the cycle continued. With that simple survival technique,
they were able to endure the rigors of the sea until they were found and rescued (after 24 days at sea...).

Eddie Rickenbacker lived many years beyond that ordeal, but he never forgot the sacrifice of that first life-saving seagull..
And he never stopped saying, 'Thank you.'
That's why almost every Friday night he would walk to the end of the pier with a bucket full of shrimp and a heart full of gratitude.

Reference: (Max Lucado, "In The Eye of the Storm",
Pp..221, 225-226)

PS: Eddie started Eastern Airlines.

I looked further into it like I said and this is a true story. Eddie was an amazing ace in WW1. He also as a civilian worked for the US govt in WW2 - when his "adrift at sea" story came to pass. He was an amazing human with many successes in life and I just thought I would share.

Amazing Man Eddie Rickenbacker

Hope you liked it.


posted on Jul, 14 2012 @ 11:43 PM
reply to post by ColoradoJens
Thankyou Jen, nice story that makes you think. Was listening to Bright Eyes as well.

posted on Jul, 14 2012 @ 11:47 PM
reply to post by titzycronulla

You are welcome. I really wasn't even going to read it she sends me so many, but this one turned out to be a keeper - glad you liked it!


posted on Jul, 14 2012 @ 11:52 PM

heart full of gratitude.
reply to post by ColoradoJens

Now that was nice...smiles all around

posted on Jul, 14 2012 @ 11:57 PM
reply to post by ColoradoJens
Throw me some of her shrimp.

posted on Jul, 15 2012 @ 12:01 AM
People rarely do seemingly strange or odd things without some sort of back story or reason why. But that's the point:

We have to have the sense of God and the wherewithal to stop our chattering minds long enough to give them the benefit of the doubt and ask them.

posted on Jul, 15 2012 @ 12:16 AM
reply to post by ColoradoJens

Thank You,

This is one of the best stories I have read in ages.

As well as one of the most pertinent threads on ATS.

And so it rolls, "Plant a seed, give something back"

True or not, your thread rings the "Bell of Truth."

My Rusty Star and Tattered Flag to you.

posted on Jul, 15 2012 @ 12:19 AM
reply to post by AnIntellectualRedneck

I agree. We live too fast in our world. Each and every person has a story. Some are more fantastic than others, but really we need to have more respect all around.

edit on 15-7-2012 by ColoradoJens because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 15 2012 @ 12:26 AM
Hey I really appreciate this OP. I found it rather moving and got the goose bumps. The story is amazing by itself, but add in that devotion and respect for nature and it's something more. It reminded me of Native Americans and the respect for animals.

posted on Jul, 15 2012 @ 01:25 AM
thank you! good story!

made me feel good.

posted on Jul, 15 2012 @ 09:26 AM
reply to post by Wildmanimal

Thanks Wildmanimal - they did have one thing wrong - he was a WW1 ace pilot, not WW2 - although the crux of the story occured during WW2, he was serving in a civilian capacity for the govt. Gald you liked it!


posted on Jul, 15 2012 @ 10:11 AM
reply to post by ColoradoJens

Thank you for the story. I had heard the story of the life saving seagull many years ago, but not the shrimp bucket last chapter. It reminded me very much of Paul Harvey's "the rest of the story" bits from years back.

I had an elder friend who passed recently, who at first glance just seemed to be a character. He was usually seen around town driving an old pick up truck with his dog as co pilot; his clothes dusty and none too new. He was very friendly and would stop people in our little town (strangers and locals alike) to talk to the them about their cars, their hats, where they were from, any subject to start up a conversation. I know many people thought him a bit odd and perhaps suffering with slight dementia. I know I often wondered what his story was.

Then I got to know him. He was a wealthy man with a few oil wells and small herd of longhorns. He and his wife of nearly fifty years lived in a modest home by a local lake. He had been an oil company executive, acquainted with presidents, senators, kings, sheiks and the movers and shakers of global industry. For several decades he traveled the world to oversee new gas and oil projects. Then, he retired. And even though for many years after he and his wife (an historian) stayed politically and socially active, he wanted nothing more than to return to his S.TX roots, a simpler way of life he had grown up with. And he did.

Those who were fortunate enough to be snared into one of his impromptu conversations never knew that the funny old fella they were talking to was on a first name basis with the president, that he had been instrumental through his business dealings in bringing political and economic stability to several countries or that he was one of the last "true Texans". It doesn't matter though, because each and everyone of them came away with a little bit of history and a smile.

posted on Jul, 15 2012 @ 10:17 AM
reply to post by jaguarsky

Excellent story. I love the fact there are so many people out there who aren't trying to flout their stories and unless you'd ask, you'd never know. Humility seems to be a disappearing trait. Also, our preconceived notions of people need a reality check. Just because they are old or "characters" doesn't mean they didn't live a life many would be envious or amazed by. Thanks for sharing!


posted on Jul, 15 2012 @ 10:19 AM
Very nice short story, the first thread ive read this morning. Kind of cool that the man actually gave back to mother nature after using her for survival himself. Puts a smile on my face not many guys like that around anymore most would have just thought they were owed. Star for you and thank you for a smiling start to my day.

posted on Jul, 15 2012 @ 10:46 AM
reply to post by Domo1

Thanks Domo1! I too think there is a story within the story regarding giving back to nature. Sometimes or success is dependant upon others, be they people or animals/nature. We are the sum of all the things that gave to us.


posted on Jul, 15 2012 @ 11:48 AM
reply to post by SoymilkAlaska

I aim to please - glad you liked it SoymilkAlaska! I'll make sure to tell my mom one of her emails elicited such a positive response.


posted on Jul, 15 2012 @ 11:59 AM
Thanks for a wonderful story. It brought tears to my eyes.

If only we all could be so thankful, this world would be a much better place.

posted on Jul, 15 2012 @ 12:08 PM
Star and flagged from liejunkie.

I enjoy those kind of stories.

Nothing really to add, just wanted to say great story.

posted on Jul, 15 2012 @ 12:39 PM
Rather than me posting ANOTHER post saying "cool story dude" or "it brought tears to my eyes"
and having page after page of that I thought I would mix it up a little just to play Devils Advocate.

Originally posted by ed1320
Kind of cool that the man actually gave back to mother nature after using her for survival himself.

What about the shrimp that he took from mother nature?
They were all 'Alive' doin' thier own shrimp thang, whatever that is, and then along comes this dude sayin'
"hey, sorry you guys are gonna have to die, I need to tell some seagulls "thank you".....AGAIN"!

How many innocent shrimp lost thier lives because of this man's respect for mother nature?

Poor shrimp.

Just remember,
There's ALWAYS another way to look at things.
edit on 15-7-2012 by Screwed because: (no reason given)

edit on 15-7-2012 by Screwed because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 15 2012 @ 03:33 PM
reply to post by Screwed

That's a good way to look at it too. Those shrimp did nothing but I think you can see the point of feeding that which kept him alive. Good thought though...


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