This article comes from our electronic archive and has not been reviewed. It may contain glitches.

The story had all the elements of a good made-for-TV drama: a fishing trip, lots of rain and mud, a life-threatening tragedy and a happy ending. But 15-year-old Johnny Simmons would much rather have had a day without all the attention from rescue personnel and the news media. He probably would much rather have gone home with a stringer full of fish.

Unfortunately, a quiet day of fishing wasn't in the cards for Simmons when he went looking for a fishing hole last Sunday. Simmons wound up on the muddy bank of Juden Creek. Before he knew it, he was waist deep in ooze that has been described as everything from mud to quicksand.

Simmons tried to free himself from his predicament, but anyone who has had a shoe or boot caught in the mud knows that, more often than not, the shoe or boot stays in the mud. For an hour, Simmons struggled to free himself. Two fishing companions also tried to help him get free of the mud to no avail. Finally, the police were called.

Fortunately for Simmons -- in more ways than one -- emergency personnel responded to the scene in short order. Some 20 firefighters and emergency rescue personnel worked for two hours to get Simmons out of the muck.

The rescue effort was seriously hampered by the fact that everything around Simmons was either mud or covered with mud. Shoveling gumbo is a lot like digging in a huge pile of sand. Every time a scoop is taken out, more sand quickly fills in the hole.

Finally, Simmons was pulled from the mud and taken to a hospital where the main concern was getting him warmed up after his three hours in the cold mud.

Young Simmons is a lucky fellow. First, he's lucky he went fishing with his brother-in-law and a friend instead of alone. He's lucky that emergency crews were able to do their jobs despite the unfavorable conditions.

There is at least one good lesson to be learned. Mud along the Mississippi River and the many creeks that drain into it is more than a slippery nuisance. It can be a life-threatening hazard under the right conditions. Use caution when you are around muddy creek banks, particularly after a heavy rain.

Of particular note during the ordeal, however, was the focus of the emergency workers. Their first concern was the well-being of Simmons, both physically and mentally. Thanks to the training and expertise of those who rescued the teen-ager, his suffering was kept to an absolute minimum.

Good job. Simmons is ready to take you fishing -- somewhere dry.