I reread the other thread today where you all responded to Steve Bertram's steady posting of my time in ICU, the hospital, and rehab last fall. I just realized that few of you really know the extent of my recovery. I owe it to you all to bring it up to date and bring this to closure.

My recovery was much faster than any of the medical personnel involved could believe. After arriving home I got stronger day by day until, after about a week, I pulled myself up into the cab of a John Deere and combined peanuts all afternoon. And then, every day after that until they were all done. Then, I did the same thing with the cotton picker. Over the next couple months I slowly regained the 20 pounds of muscle I had lost. I still had a little cough when I inhaled deeply. My Doc said that might never leave me, after what my lungs had been through. During a subsequent visit a couple months later he asked if I knew my blood pressure was elevated. I asked how high it was and he replied 162 over 93, and that he would not allow that to continue. He then asked if I still jumped rope as exercise. I replied that I did not as I had not started back after my accident. He gave me one month to get my bp down with exercise, or it was going to be meds for me. I began jumping rope the next day, boxer training style, with two jumps off the floor for every rope revolution. Within one month my bp was down to 132 over 82. He grinned and said he'd see me in 6 months. The cough is totally gone.

I now jump rope each day. On a normal day I'll do two sets, one early morning and another late afternoon. I'll do 150 to 200 each set, which translates to 300 to 400 jumps off the floor each set. I am asked regularly if I have any lingering after-effects from the drowning. I don't. None at all. I really believe my lung capacity is better than it was prior to my accident. At 69 I feel like a million dollars. I can do everything I could do before, maybe a little more. I still have my goal of killing a limit of doves on October 13, 2051, my 100th birthday. And, I eat in a manner that contributes to my health and longevity.

Last, but most important, thing. I want to once again thank you all who prayed for my recovery and healing. Your prayers were heard, and I believe I owe a huge part of the outcome to those prayers. I'm older, hopefully wiser, and a bit less prideful and cocky. I understand that I was given a second chance that most do not get, and I am humbly grateful for that. I constantly look for why I was brought back, and allowed to have more time in this life, when so many are not. I always give my Lord the credit for my life, and recovery, when ever I have a bully pulpit to speak. You played a very important role in that recovery. I am forever grateful to you all. I won't name any names, but you know who you are, if you spent time in prayer and concern for me. Thank you one and all.

Counting down ..................... 82 days, 13 hours and 29 minutes until dove season opens.