The River Journal Chapter 10 Rim Shoals and Lunch


At that point my little rain soaked government map indicated I was approaching the Rim Shoals boat ramp. I ran her aground at the wrong location. I had mistaken a steep private ramp in a cluster of nice new river homes. I guess I was so anxious to get to dry land that any old access looked like the one on the map. After standing there for a moment I realized there were no government signs and more importantly no porta pottys. Oops, wrong place. It looked good in the lifting fog. About that time the sun came out and warmed the world. I shoved off and motored down around a slow sweeping bend and there was an obvious Fish and Game access area. I plowed into the grassy shoreline. The water had come up quite a bit since I left Cotter an hour before. I parked the canoe on the lawn.

I dragged the boat as far up as my strength would allow. The river was rising rapidly. I noticed the garbage dempsey dumpster truck at work. His charges were located next to the outhouses. When I reached the outhouse the stench of the freshly dumped garbage bins was absolutely awful. Some sort of fish slime still oozed from where it had been spilled by the truck. Flies were everywhere. The buzz was a minor roar like a swarm of bees or mad yellow jackets.

As I walked back from the loo, I looked the other way to avoid the stinking slime on the ground. It was, after all, lunchtime and the Proud Mary was serving.

I tried the GPS again but still couldn’t get a signal. I looked for the batteries but gave up too quickly. I was hungry the belly took over from the brain and that was that. It was lunch time.

There were a couple of fellows in fly-fishing outfits standing on the bank using spinning rigs. I knew from one glance they had the same story as the folks back at Bull Shoals State Park. Flooded out of their waders, these two were giving it their best but to them it was a wasted vacation. We chatted briefly about their homes in Texas. Both were of retired. One fellow was laid back and said very little. His fishing buddy was a little more opinionated  and a little more talkative. As they were leaving I was wolfing down Deviled Ham with mustard on a cracker. I was so hungry I was spilling ham and cracker crumbs all over the grass. My chin had become a mustard roost between bites. From time to time the bandana would rescue the chin from its’ epicurean disgrace.

I was so hungry I didn’t worry one whit about my manners. The boat’s nose became my plate as I plowed through the can. The two fishermen began to pack up. I’m not sure if the manners had anything to do with their decision to leave. I didn’t mean to be rude but I just didn’t care. I was hungry.  The talking guy had to say something as they left. I don’t know why maybe it was my Tilley hat but the guy says, “ We’ll see ya Willard”. I wondered what the hell was he talking about. Then he says, “you know you look like Willard the weatherman, right” ? Now I have always liked Willard. I have even excused his working with what I consider communist propagandists and Clinton apologists which ever is worse. I took another bite, chewed it a minute, and realized I had just been insulted. They had their windows down and were beginning to drive off as I yelled. “Willard, my ass”! Now why I said that I don’t know. Normally I am good at trading insults with folks, not today. Apparently, my mind was a jello jumble or something even less likely to create intelligent thought.

The river was kicking my butt and I knew it. I needed to get control and stop feeling like the river was controlling me. Maybe with the lightening going away and the sun peaking out things were going to get better. We would see very soon. Maybe I would be able to settle into this river thing and it would all come together. We would see with experience. I might have made a mistake. I might have just thought I wanted outdoor adventure back in my life.  Maybe in my old age I was too spoiled by civilization.

Finally, the sun began to warm the world and with that my mood.  …..thank goodness.

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