A couple of Mississippi River salvage divers found a message in a bottle that has for a brief moment resurrected a dearly parted child who passed away over 30 years ago.
It was a typical salvage dive on the Yazoo River that brought a message from an eighth grader by the name of Brian into the care of Brad Babb and Billy Mitchell, a couple of shipyard laborers at Vicksburg, Mississippi.
Owing to their out-of-the-ordinary work, Mitchell is generally keeping watch for fascinating things and trinkets. They usually don’t go after bottles, but this one floated by them in the water just close enough for them to be able to see that there was a note inside, so they reached out and grabbed it.
With the assistance of “shish kebab sticks,” Michell and his manager Babb were able to extract all the tattered pieces of the crumbly letter, sun dyed and torn, but clean and legible in places.
It was written by a kid with the last name of “Tahl” or perhaps “Dahl,” from Oxford, MS, back in 1989.
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“We’re all kids at heart really. We could all envision ourselves as that 11-year-old boy,” said Babb, security manager at Big River Shipbuilders in Vicksburg, Mississippi. “It really just fueled us to go and say, ‘let’s go find this guy’ cause this is kind of a kindred spirit where ‘would I want somebody to find me? Yes I would.’”
It turned into a topic point of discussion for days at the workplace, and soon the team began planning out how to rejoin the writer with their letter, the team chose to post it on Facebook, where it was then spread like wildfire.
Eric Dahl, his wife Melanie, and child Chris heard about the message, which convinced them to travel 200 miles to the shipyard to read and hold young Brian’s letter for themselves.
Brian who tragically passed away at the age of 29 was a cyclist who beat cancer, however, at that point, he died due to an incident that happened at home. He was 11 years of age when he wrote the letter as a fun little activity while enjoying a field trip that began by dropping the bottle into Mississippi’s Tallahatchie River.
Brian’s teacher, who is presently 82, made sense that one message was tracked down in Louisiana, while Brian’s drifted 200 miles deep into the Yazoo River where it entered a canal. If it had floated down an alternate branching path, it might have arrived in the Gulf of Mexico.
It was tears and grins when the salvage divers met the family, who imparted accounts of Brian to the people who permitted such a personal glimpse at their long-lost child.
“He’s with them still,” said Mitchell. “I think that’s what the note meant when we found it. To let his parents know that he was watching over them as well.”
What a touching story, you never know what people might be going through, for all we know that family could have been hurting and praying for years. Thanks to God giving Brad and Billy the ability and chance to find the bottle and locate the family.