It was a scene straight out of Huck Finn. Two guys standing around a campfire on a remote island in a wide river, bright moon and stars overhead.
Having spent a healthy slice of time in my formative years on the Tombigbee in a ski-boat dodging stumps, blue rock and gravel shoals, it seems like a fitting destiny to be quietly paddling a kayak through those same waters half a century later.
At the head of a column two weeks ago about a walk in the rain along Moore's Creek, I quoted the opening lines from "A Rainy Night in Georgia," and attributed the tune to Brook Benton, who in 1970 took it to the top of the Billboard charts.
On the morning of the second day of the new year, I was in Friendship Cemetery with a pick, a bag of mulch, soil enhancer and a couple of scraggly twigs purported to be a rose bush in the back of the pickup.
Late Thursday afternoon I went for a walk in the rain.
By the time I hit Main Street it had been raining a couple of hours. The deluge would go on until around 6 the following morning, 3-1/2 inches worth, according to the NOAA* website.
Shortly after passing Bob Roberts Barbecue and Burkhalter Rigging, the motorist heading south on Highway 45 crosses three streams, Motley Slough, Gilmer Creek and Magowah Creek.
To say you spent a day in the woods with a woodcutter sounds like the opening lines of a folk tale.
The other day I was in Office Depot getting some river maps laminated. The Army Corps of Engineers has wonderful navigation maps available online of the Tenn-Tom and the Mississippi, two rivers I've been exploring in a kayak.
Isaac Miller wakes up thinking about different things than most of us. To wit: Friday morning he woke replaying in his mind a game of chess he played the night before with his brother.
Thursday lunch, Algoma Store.
Five of us are sitting at a round table with a vinyl, checked tablecloth. Mike and Clyde are eating bologna-and-cheese sandwiches on white bread. Johnny is having chicken-fried steak with white gravy and Don and I are having chicken wings, he with fried onion rings, me potato logs.
Saturday, a week ago, on the way home from a graveside service at Friendship, I drove through Trash Alley where a garage sale and fish fry were in progress. Thinking some levity might be a nice follow-up to what had been a solemn event, I rolled the window down and asked what was cooking. Fish and chicken.
The characteristic that probably best defined Bob McIntyre was his willingness to help others. Plenty of other adjectives apply: He was smart, kind, curious and very funny. People loved him. The goodness in him was plain to see.
HONEOYE, NEW YORK -- This time of the year the roadways of rural New York are littered with apples. You see them everywhere. Trees heavy with fruit line hillside orchards; a dozen unkempt trees stand in high grass beside a sagging farmhouse; a single gnarled tree in a hedgerow stands forgotten, its meager crop equally gnarly and forgotten, unnoticed except for the birds and worms.
Someone was playing a harmonica in Kroger the other day. I was punching in my customer number at the auto-checkout when the music started.
Rufus Ward called one day last week about a picture of Bob's Place, the now-mythical drive-in that was the high-school hangout for generations of Columbus teenagers.
KREIENSEN, GERMANY - My friend Axel and I were standing at Track 2 one day last week waiting for the 7:33 a.m. train to Hannover when he shouted greetings to someone across the way.
"He's an Elvis impersonator," Axel said. "He's quite good."
Sometime in the mid-1970s, I got in my car and drove to Avalon, Mississippi. While I was by no means a blues aficionado, I loved Mississippi John Hurt's music, and Avalon was his hometown.
Saturday we were having lunch in a small, overcrowded barbecue joint in Avondale, a revived neighborhood northeast of downtown Birmingham. One of the two young women waiting in line to order in front of us turned to Beth, who was pondering her choices out loud.
It was too much to get into a single photograph, the scene in front of us.
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