Real Life ‘Message In A Bottle’

Letter travels down the James River to the Missouri River

IRENE, S.D. – Now-a-days, there are plenty of ways to get in touch with people — phone calls, texts and social media — so writing a letter seems a bit ‘old fashioned.’ But a simple piece of paper filled with kindness, was exactly what a Nebraska woman needed, and unexpectedly found while on vacation with her family.

Over Labor Day weekend, Angie Martin and her family traveled from Fremont, Nebraska, where they live, to Blair, Nebraska.

“The kids were jumping around the river as they do,” says Angie.

They spent the holiday near the Missouri River, where Angie spotted something special.

“I noticed a white butterfly flying around,” she says.

But to her, it was more than just a butterfly; it was a sign.

“Todd and I’s first daughter, she passed away,” says Angie. “She was a preemie, and she was infected with E.coli. At that time when I saw the white butterfly, my heart was full because then all of my family was all together at the river.”

All of her family, and a piece of someone else’s.

“I glanced over to my right and I saw a bottle floating,” says Angie. “I went and grabbed it and said ‘oh my goodness it’s a message in a bottle’.”

“It was kind of spur of the moment,” says Sandy Highland. “But I do remember watching an old movie one time about a message in a bottle, and I thought that was kind of cool.”

On August 11th, 2016, Sandy and Corey Highland were fishing in Irene, South Dakota.

“He was fishing and I had brought some wine with,” explains Sandy. “We finished up a bottle of wine and decided to put a note in there.”

They placed the bottle in the James River. It found its way to the Missouri River, floating all the way down to Blair. In a car, that trip takes a little over 2 hours. In a wine bottle, it takes a little over a year.

“I thought it would be caught in someone’s cornfield and never found again,” laughs Sandy.

But the traveling words were worth the wait. Sandy wrote “wishing whoever finds this love and happiness like we have.”

“Oh, and that fishing is better with wine!”

The message was heard loud and clear.

“It reminded us how strong of a love that Todd and I have,” says Angie. “And just that a simple act of kindness, to share with anybody, goes obviously a long way.”

The message hasn’t stopped with the Martins. Angie and her husband are adding on to the Highland’s letter, putting a new note in the bottle for someone else to find. And Sandy says she couldn’t help herself after hearing her note was found. Just last night, she created a new message in a bottle and sent it down the James River.

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