Parenthood
Couple sees message in a bottle then realize it was written by their late son 33 years ago
“It’s like something in a fictitious novel or something you’d see on TV,” Dahl said.
D.G. Sciortino
08.11.22

Though our loved ones might leave us when they pass on, their love will never die.

It always remains.

The Dahl family says this was proven when a message in a bottle written by their late son 33 years ago was returned to them after it traveled 295 miles.

“Love never goes away,” dad Dr. Eric Dahl told USA Today.

The bottle was found by Billy Mitchell, who works at Big River Shipbuilders, during a salvaging trip on the Yazoo River.

He found the green bottle floating above a barge.

“I always look for stuff that’s unique — driftwood or anything … I told my buddy, I said, ‘there’s a message in this bottle!'” Mitchell said.

That bottle traveled almost 300 miles from Oxford, Mississippi through the Mississippi River Delta to Vicksburg.

It was found completely intact and still sealed 33 years later.

It took Mitchell about a half hour to get the paper out of the bottle but he found some of the words mostly legible when he opened it.

He could tell it was written by a child.

“I was shocked and excited,” Mitchell told U.S. News & World Report. “You hear about messages in a bottle, but I never thought I’d find one in the canal over here.”

Big River Shipbuilders - Facebook
Source:
Big River Shipbuilders - Facebook

Mitchell and others tried to piece the message back together but they could only tell that the child was from Oxford and that it was from a class project in 1989.

They had no luck calling Oxford schools so they posted the message on social media hoping it would be identified.

Dahl was at church when he got the call about the social media post. Usually, he doesn’t answer his phone at church but he was on call at the hospital.

“It was like a voice from Heaven,” said Mitchell. “He’s watching over his parents. I think that was a sign he’s watching over them.”

Dahl was also convinced that this was an act of divine intervention.

His son wrote that message in 1989 when he was just 11 years old during a sixth-grade school field trip.

“It’s like something in a fictitious novel or something you’d see on TV,” Dahl said.

“To see Brian’s handwriting from when he was 11 or 12 years old — it was miraculous. It was a gift from on high. We’re a praying family and this is a part of God’s providence.”

Dahl, his wife Melanie, and their son Chris drove to the shipyard in Vicksburg to meet Mitchell and the others who helped reunited them with their son’s bottle.

“It was just kind of incredible to me that could happen,” Melanie Dahl said. “I didn’t remember the whole project, so it was a surprise. The fact it was my son who wrote that 33 years ago — what are the odds of that bottle being found?”

“One thing that jumps out at me is an 11-year-old boy saying ‘please’,” said Dahl after seeing the note. “Knowing that something he wrote is connecting strangers, that really helps.”

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By D.G. Sciortino
hi@sbly.com
D.G. is a contributing writer in Shareably. She's based in Connecticut and can be reached at hi@shareably.net.
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