But Why?
March 1989

“But Why?” New Era, Mar. 1989, 33

First Person:
But Why?

Dad didn’t want us to go waterskiing that day, but we went anyway. We ended up sorry we hadn’t listened to him.

On the day of our graduation from high school, two of my classmates, Bryan and Monte, and I decided to go waterskiing. But because the boat hadn’t been used since the year before, we spent all morning and part of the afternoon getting it ready. This included getting it out of the barn, cleaning out the winter garbage, getting gas and oil, and borrowing a battery from our car.

Finally at 2:00 P.M. we were ready to go. That would give us four hours of skiing with enough time to be back for commencement exercises at 8:00 P.M. However, I had forgotten the most important thing—to get my father’s permission. I ran into the house and called him at work. After I told him of our plans, he said, “I don’t think you should go today.”

“But why?” I begged. He wouldn’t say why; he just kept saying that he would rather I didn’t go.

After arguing with him for a few minutes, I disappointedly said good-bye and hung up the phone. When I told Bryan and Monte what my dad had said, they seemed upset and angry. But then I said, “Hey, we’re adults. We can take care of ourselves.” They both agreed, and we decided to go anyway. Besides, my dad didn’t actually say we absolutely shouldn’t go. So we jumped into the van and headed for the Ririe Reservoir.

After 20 minutes of driving, we arrived at the boat ramp for the lake. As we began unloading the boat, we noticed that there were no other boats on the lake. Of course, nobody was crazy enough to go waterskiing in the middle of May in Idaho. We were just seniors on graduation day, out doing something crazy and memorable before we graduated. When I felt the icy water, I wondered if I really wanted to ski on it. Needless to say, I was the first one to go. The water took a little getting used to, but once you were up it wasn’t so bad.

As we were taking turns skiing, we kept going further up the reservoir. Soon we were several miles away from the loading ramp. Then, as we were pulling Monte out on one ski, the engine sputtered and died. After numerous unsuccessful attempts to start it again, we went back to the engine to try to fix it. When we took the outer cover off, we noticed that the distributor had exploded. There was no way we were going to get it running again.

The only thing we could do was to start paddling back down the reservoir to the van. We began paddling with everything we had, but as heavy and awkward as it was, we barely made any progress. We spent nearly an hour going only 30 feet from where we started. Then, to top it all off, one of these wonderful Idaho winds began to blow in our faces. It was blowing us back up the reservoir, in the wrong direction. About that time, I began to panic. There we were, stuck in the middle of the reservoir. We were cold and wet, the engine was dead, and a cold wind was blowing us in the wrong direction. But the worst part of it was that graduation was less than two hours away. Boy, I wished then that I had listened to my father and not gone. But because of my disobedience, I was in a mess I couldn’t get out of alone. There was something I could do, however, and that was to pray to Heavenly Father for help.

We knelt down and gave a very humble and sincere prayer. In it, we asked for help in getting back to the van safely before graduation. After the prayer, I felt a calm, peaceful feeling come over us.

It couldn’t have been more than 15 minutes before we heard the sound of a boat engine echoing against the canyon walls. As the sound got closer, we finally saw the boat come around a bend. When it got close enough, we began jumping up and down and waving towels in the air.

When the boat pulled alongside us, we found that the occupants were also graduating that night. They said that they had seen us waterskiing and that they were about to leave, but something made them decide to first make sure we were all right. After they consented to tow us back, we gave both them and our Heavenly Father our deepest appreciation.

As they towed us back to the loading ramp, my thoughts were on the prayer we had offered. Now I knew for myself that Heavenly Father really does hear and answer our prayers. In addition, I realized the importance of obedience to parents, a lesson I will remember all of my life.

Illustrated by Richard Hull