Saturday, June 30, 2012
Let me add a "fish story". As I paddle the Mississippi I find myself singing a lot. Remember "Oh, what a beautiful morning!"?
Another musical I have always loved is Porgy and Bess. While the characters are a bit stereotyped, the music still moves me.
"Summer time and the livin' is easy.......fish are jumping and the cotton is high." I now understand that line "fish are jumpin'.." because they really do jump all the time and all over the river. Maybe it's because I am on the water all day and have little else to do, but here's the best part of "true story". On several occasions fish have jumped over the front of my boat and and almost jumped into my boat. My uncle Lester is smiling and nodding his head! And they do this without warning often causing a spike in my blood pressure and other near anatomical responses.
In local riverside restaurants the fish list jumps off the menu. In Minnesota, the walleye heads the list. But down in the lower Mississippi, you can choose between catfish, buffalo, and carp. Being a vegetarian I am certainly a "stranger in a strange land".
Despite her sweet intentions, I had to tell a waitress recently that "friend okra" was not the solution. Back to the "fish story". Sorry, no pictures.
Friday, June 29, 2012
Another casino, meal, friendly folks (Sam, Pauline, Christia, Rose) and security guard (Clayton). The way they get around the law which allows gambling "on the water" is to put the casino on a pond of Mississippi River water. Almost as amazing as the motorcycle I won and am finishing my pilgrimage on......NOT! Although these 100 degree days make that a tempting proposition!
Thursday, June 28, 2012
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
A voice sang in my head. It was Curly singing praise to an Oklahoma daybreak. "Oh, what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day, I've got a wonderful feeling, everything's going my way. Oh, the sounds of the earth are like music, the sounds of the earth are like music, the breeze is so busy it don't miss a tree, and an old weeping willow is laughing at me. All the cattle are standing like statues, all the cattle are standing like statues, the corn is as high as an elephant's eye, and a little brown maverick is winking her eye."
And I had no choice but to join in the chorus, "Oh, what a beautiful morning, Oh, what a beautiful day, I've got a wonderful feeling, everything's going my way!"
Monday, June 25, 2012
Sunday, June 24, 2012
Nate, Megan, Justin (boat) and Billy, Steve, Lloyd (fresh produce) all volunteer to help .... mission accomplished (food) after 42 miles paddling from before dawn in up to 100 degrees...aargh!
My hands were so sore it was hard to grip the paddle and impossible to peck out blog updates on my smartphone. A wrist which I had broken years earlier and has an inserted plate, throbbed during the nite. I lost 15 pounds in the first three weeks. After paddling for 10 hours a day my back ached. Oddly, my arms have rarely been tired. Then there is the mental pain of loneliness and boredom. In sum, it has been a much more difficult and painful experience than I ever imagined.
Certainly suffering and pain can be destructive and debilitating. That is particularly true when it's thrust on us and isn't of our choosing. But it can also make us stronger and more confident when we embrace suffering. You know the phrases, "No gain, no pain!" or "The truest steel passes through the fire." and ultimately, "There is no Easter without Good Friday." Suffering becomes redemptive when it leads to "humble boldness."