JOHNSON LAKE — Something is afoot at Johnson Lake south of Lexington and I am here to tell you all about it.

Some go-getters who live at the lake have partnered with the Johnson Lake Chamber of Commerce to install a second replica lighthouse along the shoreline.

Organizers will meet Tuesday, July 28 at 10 a.m. with the power and recreation committee of the Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District to seek the agency’s blessing and assistance.

The existing structure marks the entrance to Mallard Cove from the water. Once the CNPPID gives its blessing and enough dollars are raised, the new lighthouse will be installed at the end of the jetty that protects Lakeshore Marina, The Nautical Rose restaurant and sprawling Lakeview Acres from wind, waves and erosion.

When I learned of this project it immediately was personal to me for its lifesaving potential. My interest is based upon a boneheaded stunt to which I will shortly admit.

That it will add an eye-catching visual element at the gateway to the largest development on the lake is a happy second benefit.

Why so personal?

One black night in the 80s following Fourth of July fireworks over the lake, a young and dumb Steve Moseley thought for sure he was going to drown two families.

Foolishly, I loaded six small kids and four adults into our monumentally inadequate 15-foot fiberglass tri-hull. I figured to calmly putt-putt back to my parents’ home in Lakeview Acres once the display ended. What could go wrong?

Everything, that’s what, and it did when a flotilla in the dozens of larger boats put their hammers down in unison and roared away as the grand finale faded to black.

The mass exodus instantly clobbered our boat with deep wakes attacking from every direction. Already short on freeboard because of my terrible mistake, we were on the verge of swamping in the middle of the lake in zero visibility.

As I frantically sawed at the wheel in a desperate attempt to face into each wave and trough, all sense of direction was lost.

When the water quieted at last I had no clue where to find the safety and shelter of Lakeview Acres. Six kids, all in whining need of bladder relief by now, were stranded afloat with their parents.

I would have given my underwhelming kingdom at that moment for an illuminated lighthouse standing sentinel to guide me.

A plea, “Which way to Lakeview Acres?” shouted to some folks still relaxing on their lawn after the show bailed me out.

I wonder how many other poor souls found themselves in similar tight spots over the decades since our close call. Families of the future, though, are why I am going to do what I can to help. Will you join me?

Contributions are best sent to: Johnson Lake Chamber of Commerce, C/O Kathy Fowler, 29 Mallard Cove, Johnson Lake, NE 68937. For details about the project itself call Cinde Wendell at (308) 991-3994.

(Former Lexington residents Steve and Norma Moseley live in York. He is the retired managing editor of the York News-Times.)

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