TIM WILDMON: Riptide episode made the family vacation memorable

I returned couple of weeks ago from nine days in Cancun. It was a family vacation. One afternoon we were all swimming and playing around in the beautiful Mexican Caribbean when we began to notice we were slowly drifting away from shore. My lovely and talented wife, Alison, first noticed this as I was having too much fun not paying attention. She said something about it to Walker, 16, who began to try to swim in. He tried earnestly but was making no headway, and it startled him and his mother. I made a joking comment about being swept out to sea never to be heard from again and was promptly scolded by Alison for not taking the situation more seriously.
So, I tried to be more worried. I bobbed around in the clear blue water. She and Walker began to wave their arms at the lifeguard who saw them and promptly came to the rescue. It took him about five minutes to reach them. He was a shorter, more Mexican version of David Hasselhoff. He helped Alison and Walker while the rest of us followed close behind, using our boogie boards to catch waves in to shore. And, we swam more parallel to the shoreline, which is what one is supposed to do when caught in a strong undertow or riptide. You should also get real worried and visibly demonstrate this to others around you, I have learned.
On a danger scale of 1 to10 we were probably a 1. Had we floated out another 100 yards or so they would have called in a boat to pick us up. Had we floated out another 100 miles or so, one of Fidel Castro’s boats would have likely picked us up. But for 15 minutes or so we were part of high drama on the high seas.
When we made it to shore a news crew was filming us. They were probably doing a story about how some stupid American tourists don’t know what a red flag on the beach means.
Oh well, we made a memory, and that is what family vacation is all about, isn’t it?
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Back during the presidential campaign we all kept hearing from the Democrats about the supposed financial malaise of “the last eight years.” Remember that refrain? The idea was that President Bush was bad for the economy every day he was in office. Actually, if you look at “the last eight years” the economy did fairly well for six of the eight, despite 9/11. If it would have been as horrible as the Democrats would lead you to believe, President Bush would never have been re-elected in 2004. But one group that really prospered during the Bush years were minority owned businesses.
According to an article republished in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal but originally printed in the Milwaukee Sentinel: “The number of minority-owned businesses increased by nearly 46 percent to 5.8 million between the years 2002 and 2007, according to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau.
“In the same time period, the total number of businesses increased by 18 percent to 27.1 million.
“The new data comes from the Preliminary Estimates of Business Ownership by Gender, Ethnicity, Race and Veteran Status, 2007, culled from the census bureau’s 2007 survey of business owners.
“The same report found that black-owned businesses rose 60.5 percent, 17.9 percent for Native Americans and Alaska Native-owned businesses and 43.6 percent for Hispanic businesses.”
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With the Southeastern Conference media days taking place in Birmingham this week, it is a sure sign that college football will be with us very soon. Mississippi State second-year coach Dan Mullen was commenting on how difficult the SEC West will be in 2010 even noting “The School Up North” will be a tough team to beat.
Mullen said he doesn’t use the phrase to tweak the Rebels (anyone buy that?), but to remind his players and MSU fans how important that rivalry game is to the program.
“It means an awful lot to the people of Mississippi,” the former University of Florida offensive coordinator said. “I have gotten a lot of thanks from (MSU) people around the state for winning that game last year (41-27). It’s an important thing for us to stress that that is a very, very important game to Mississippi State and Bulldogs everywhere.”
At the time of this writing, Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt had not had his press conference so I can’t report a clever come back or not. I know for a number of years Ole Miss got the best of public ribbing when they played cows mooing over the loud speaker as MSU players were announced at Tad Smith Coliseum.
I’m still reading up on Ole Miss, State and the SEC. I will have some predictions ready in the next column or two. It’s going to be fun again in both Oxford and Starkville, I can assure you of that.

Tim Wildmon, a resident of Baldwyn, writes as a community columnist. Contact him at twildmon@afa.net.

Tim Wildmon