Saturday, September 09, 2006

Ole Man River' s many brides

He came from humble beginnings: Lake Itasca, Minnesota, born tumbling over rocks I've walked across. His mission: to travel toward the equator collecting brides. They come from the melting snows of the Rockies across Nebraska joining their sister the Missouri traveling to St. Louis to meet up with him. Like a harem master he selects and collects. From up north, Canadan brides of cold, cold water come to his call.

The St. Croix bride joins him south of St. Paul, MN. The Ohio and Illinois further south. The more brides he takes, the more powerful he becomes through their mingling, joined forces. And he's used. Twenty-seven locks corral him at a level for passage. Barges bringing supplies ride his back to and fro. Local news announce his "level" daily.

Before levee's castrated him, he roamed where he pleased across Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, and more. But when he gets riled up, he spills his guts on the countryside. All are reminded he's still a force to be reckoned with.

Not all about work, he moves the sand leaving huge sandbars. Visitors camp for the day and night. Pontoons pull up between the sandbars and the bank out of his swift current. People put out lawn chairs to sit in the water to cool their booty and feet. Some stand in him to their necks to visit and sip cool drinks. Sand buckets and little kids dot him. Barbecues are set out to cook hotdogs and sausages, vegetables optional.

His fish are legendary. Storytells love him: Mark Twain. The mussels are brought to the surface, their shells cut into tiny pieces, shipped to Japan, and seeded into oysters to produce pearls.

The Lord put twists and turns in his life to slow his pace. It keeps him from a straight shot to the end. He's already fast moving. Some places he twists and a piece of him goes backwards higher than the rest. It looks strange. He's busy all the way to the bottom.

Why do the brides rush to him? What's his pull? Binets? No. They'd be soggy. Freedom. He carries them to freedom, giving them to the Gulf, pleased a piece of him goes with.

copyright 2006 Red Convertible Travel Series

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