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Lifeguard No. 3 Michael Lucero was working the early shift at Stewart Beach on Sept. 9. It was looking to be a slow day with rain in the Houston area and not many people moving around on the beachfront yet. He watched over maybe 50 people on the beach, with 10 or so in the water.

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Labor Day weekend was interesting. Despite sketchy forecasts, each day by the afternoon we ended up with really nice conditions, some sunshine, moderate crowds and nice water. On Monday, it was especially nasty in the morning, so we put 18 guards “on call” and just worked the trucks until co…

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About the time I start thinking nothing is real anymore, a funny paper incident reminds me once again that life lived among the made-up characters of comic land can truly mirror things that go on, or used to go on, in real life.

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I have come to the conclusion that the place I am living was designed by a woman. In everything, it reflects a lot of good thinking by someone who had kept a kitchen, cleaned a closet, and needed someplace to plug in an appliance.

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Beach guards routinely make rescues of people caught in large surf or rip currents who are 40 yards to 100 yards offshore. Sometimes the victims are much farther out. The guards have to swim through currents, waves, and sometimes sea life to reach the people who need them.

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This has been one crazy summer. We’re in August, and there are still tons of people moving around, the water has been choppy to rough with some pretty strong rip currents, and our call volume has been equivalent to days in May or June.

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The young woman crouched down on the slippery surface of the rocks. Her heart beat rapidly as she watched the guy in front of her navigate down the steep part. She tried to ignore the cuts on the top of her foot from the last try. “This time I’ll get it right,” she thought to herself determi…

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My friend’s son lives at the far end of a 1,497-mile trail of iron rails. For him, the distance might as well be a million. Divorce can do that to a man.

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The father and son were playing in the waves Tuesday afternoon on a seawall beach. They were midway between the groins, well away from any areas known to have rip currents. They were only in chest deep water. Suddenly, the father went face down in the water with no warning.

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Some of Texas’ unsung heroes, I think, are game wardens. They do a lot of important stuff, but nobody hears about it much. Once in a while, I get a press release from Texas Parks and Wildlife, which fills me in on what’s been going on with all these folks.

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Early Saturday morning, Supervisor Nikki Harclerode was putting the condition flags up at the stations on the seawall. She was placing the flag in the holder at 61st Street. She was the only lifeguard out there as even the “A” shift guards were still out doing their pre-work training session.

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A group of children stand in a row in front of their rescue boards along the shoreline wearing yellow tank jerseys and carrying their rescue tubes in one hand. Some of them are vibrating slightly as they get ready to go into action. They then grab their boards and stand on the line.

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My friend is dead. Rear-ended while parked at a red light, the impact crushed his Ford F-150 and pushed him into the intersection. He died a few days later from complications resulting from head injuries. Already, the world feels a bit less exciting, a little less complete.

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At the San Luis Pass, the tide change flows through a gap only about a mile across. It bottlenecks and accelerates the tidal current tremendously. So, roughly every six hours it changes directions and builds up to full strength. The entire pass is dangerous, but there are two spots that catc…

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We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

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She closes her little brown eyes in supreme satisfaction as she sings about her haircut, which is sensationally, beautifully, wonderfully, and perfectly round.

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You may not even know the name Marie Colvin. She was an American from Long Island, but she had worked for years overseas, most notably for London’s Sunday Times. Somewhat notorious as a war correspondent, she was one of the most intrepid among this special group of international journalists …

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The morning shift is already out working as the afternoon shift shows up. After clocking in, they all run down to the beach to swim, run and review some type of skill. This morning was hand signals, the other day it was CPR or components of a rescue. They then pile up to the headquarters to …

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Mark Porretto was helping out with the beach service umbrellas early in the morning one day last weekend at 47th Street. You may recall that the water was extremely rough, and on this day the current was running from west to east with big surf. Mark and I grew up together on the beach.

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While the Lords of Commerce would lead us to believe the celebration of Father’s Day is best addressed by a special sale on power tools, a funny card written with marginally funny puns or maybe a colorful new tie, the truth is much different for many of us.

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The beach patrol has had a rough season so far. Much of this has been covered in the news and I’ll cover some of this in a future column. But last weekend we saw what is probably the busiest weekend we’ve had in a few years. Many have attributed this to the news stories that happened during …

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A woman on the phone woke me up from a lovely nap and kept on talking and talking even when I tried to interrupt to tell her she was preaching to the wrong congregation.

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Sometimes, the most valuable physical objects in our lives are worth the least when measured in dollars and cents by the outside world.

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It’s rare that all the elements come together for a perfect weekend on a holiday. This year’s Memorial Day weekend did. Three perfect days in a row. The sun was out, and the winds were light. It was warm but not hot. And the water ranged from all the way flat to a slight groundswell rolling …

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Grown men generally do not have tears in their eyes at the car wash.

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All the preparation is done. The equipment is ready, the planning is over, and the time for preparation transitions to the time for action. This week, we had a great drill to help sharpen our communication strategies and rescue techniques among our group and between our emergency response pa…