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Possumhaw: Just another day in paradise


Shannon Bardwell



Sam asked if I wanted to go on vacation anytime soon, and I said that I'd rather wait 'til fall when things cool off; besides, it's hard to imagine any place better than this "recreational paradise" I live in. 


AAA's magazine "Southern Traveler," in a feature called "Best of the South 2014," lists the best places to see in the South and Columbus is one of them. I have to agree because I wake up where "A quality of light, a quality of life: it's a 'sunsational' summer in Columbus, Mississippi." So there's no need to leave home. 


Enjoying our recreational lake, I decided to collect duck eggs from the platform since no duck was sitting on them. Removal would decrease the chance of attracting predators. Rather than use the kayak, I walked into the lake. Immediately my feet slipped out from under me, and I went down to the bottom. The ducks swam all around me, splashing and waving their wings, and I believe they were laughing. Swimming with ducks was exhilarating.  


A gang of hoodlum raccoons attacked the bird feeders and slung one into the lake. Sam found it and handed it off to me while he went about restoring the feeding station. I found a fish inside the bird feeder, and that's not something you see every day. I've since trapped a couple of raccoons and a possum. Every morning I can't wait to see if I've had any success; as the AAA article said, "hunting and fishing are superb." 


Shirley, my walking partner, and I had the good fortune of being offered the use of a swimming pool for the summer. Instead of pounding the pavement in the drenching heat and feeling wiped out after a couple of miles, we start the day with swimming exercises. Exercising with a morning cup of coffee poolside is my idea of more paradise. "Start with sweet tea [or coffee], perfectly delicious for summer sipping," the article said.  


Things to do included shopping boutiques, antiques ... I've been shopping Dirt Cheap for swimming suits. If the suit is remotely modest and it fits I buy it! Besides, I plan to continue swimming activities as part of the Life Enrichment Program offered by The W, whose campus was described in the AAA article: "Summer mornings, the sun filters through the trees, suffusing the campus of Mississippi University for Women, the nation's first publicly supported college for women." 


One morning, Sam waved goodbye as he headed off for a day of fishing on the "scenic Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway" and possibly Tibbee Creek. He hollered back, "They're some tomatoes hanging on the gate." From Nick Hairston, no doubt. If one lacks neighborhood tomato delivery the article suggested trying "luscious fresh finds at the Farmers' Market." 


Columbus has concerts, the Riverwalk and the "gorgeously restored Tombigbee Bridge," for everyone to enjoy. 


"In short, Columbus is picture-perfect in the summer ... " So I can't leave now, I might miss something.


Shannon Rule Bardwell is a Southern writer living quietly in the Prairie.


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