In the mid-1800s two sailing ships were becalmed miles apart off the coast of Brazil. The ships were located far from sight of land, where the Amazon River joins the Atlantic Ocean. One of the ships was out of water and the passengers and crew were dying of thirst. Sea water is poisonous. The captain sent a flag message to the other ship: “Send us water.” The other ship sent back the flagged message, “Let down your buckets where you are.” The desperate captain sent another message: “Send us water.” The message came back “Let down your buckets where you are.” The first captain ordered the crew to let down buckets. They came back filled with fresh water. The Amazon is the largest river in the world. The confluence of the Amazon River spreads miles out into the Atlantic, far from the sight of land. So the water that the people needed was fresh Amazon river water. The holiday message: “Let down your buckets (help others) where you are.”
Larry Day is a retired KU J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available on Amazon.