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|Marks takes dip in Lake St. John during Gustav|
Bobby Marks has never been known for his patience as a high school football coach in the Miss-Lou.
But he learned a valuable lesson in preparing for another strong opponent.
A day before Hurricane Gustav stormed Concordia Parish on Labor Day, Marks took an unexpected dip in Lake St. John attempting to tie up his float boat.
"The day before the hurricane arrived the waves were getting tough," Marks said. "We've got a float boat pier which hooks to the main pier. My daughter, Lisa, bought some new ropes and told me I needed to put another rope on each corner."
"Lisa told me to wait until she got through doing something and she would go down there with me," Marks said. "Well, I kept waiting and I was getting impatient. I went down there and tied three ropes off and was tying on the toughest one when the wind kept blowing the rope away from me. I reached over and had one knot in the final rope. I was holding on to the float boat and the rail of the pier when the wind took it back from me."
He said he "was reaching over the pier to get that last knot tied when a wave came up and pushed the float boat into me and I went into the water between the float boat and pier. I evidently hit the bottom which is about 10 feet deep because I had a hair full of mud, which Lisa brought to my attention later. The first thing I thought about when I was in the water was that Lisa was going to kill me so I better survive this."
Marks, a cancer survivor, said he knew the float boat was above him, but wasn't sure where the pontoon boat was located.
"I came up with one hand trying to find the pontoon boat and the other hand dog-paddling to the top," he said. "When I finally reached the top I couldn't reach the top of the pier. I decided since I was 75 years old I could not play Superman. I thought about pulling up on the big pier and going up the ladder, but decided it was too deep."
Marks swam under the sun deck to get to the other side of the pier, staying under water for a total of close to two minutes during the episode.
"I came up and grabbed the post," he said. "The waves were getting pretty tough. Since I had not been swimming in quite a while, I swam from post to post, which were about eight feet apart until I could touch the bottom. I ended up going through grass and stuff that alligators usually hang around. I waded in in my good shoes. Everything I did was pretty stupid. When I finally got to the end of the pier, I sat down and all I could think about was how bad Lisa was going to get on me."
Marks, who had scratches on his legs and bruised his elbow and hip, said he walked up to the house and yelled for Lisa to come outside.
"She said, 'Dad, what are you doing with that mud on you,'" Marks said. "Then she saw how wet I was."
Marks said the pier received moderated damage from the storm.
Marks said he was doing fine until a couple of scratches, which he said may have come from nails, became infected this week.
"I've gotten some medicine and shots and I'm doing much better now," he said.
And what will he do before the next storm?
"There won't be a next time," he said.
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