Awhile back I included in an emailed invitation to a friend to go paddling on the Columbus Lake near the lock and dam a quote from Kenneth Grahame's classic "The Wind in the Willows."
Just after 5 o'clock Wednesday afternoon HD Taylor pushed through our back gate. He was carrying a small cooler of catfish strips and a 14-inch cast-iron skillet.
When I phoned Paul Mack to finalize plans to go with him on one of his bird walks in Friendship Cemetery, he asked if I had a set of binoculars.
If you are driving down Jemison Mill Road near Steens and happen see three abandoned kittens emerge from a hollow tree like a scene from a fairy tale and you turn around for a second look, you might as well clear off the front seat to make way for additional passengers.
Around 5 o'clock on a recent Wednesday afternoon I was standing in the wilds of Pickens County, Alabama, in the only whitewater rapids on the Sipsey River, with a peach in one hand and a cell phone in the other.
Wednesday afternoon walking through downtown you felt as if you were trapped inside a pizza oven. Thus the late afternoon rain provided a welcome finish to the day, even if you were riding a bike on the Riverwalk, as I happened to be.
This time of year when I can't sleep, I put on my headlamp, go into the backyard and wander around in the garden. There is something otherworldly about all this natural beauty shrouded in darkness.
HELSINKI, FINLAND -- We took a seat on the ferry to Suomenlinna next to a man eating strawberries. He looked like an athlete, tall, lean with California-surfer good looks. He was dressed in his bicycle garb, helmet at his side.
Thursday morning amid a swirl of hickory smoke Ronnie Clayton raised the lid of a well-seasoned cooker and placed about a dozen hog snoots on the grill.
Saturday afternoon, just after three o'clock, I made an ill-timed decision to walk around the corner for a coffee. I had been in my office at The Dispatch struggling with a column on books about rivers -- a favorite subject of late -- and it just wasn't happening.
A while back Katherine Kerby got a phone call from a retired British soldier living in Canada. He was doing genealogical research on his cousin Susan, who he said, "had been lost to the wilds of Mississippi."
It began innocently enough. The Toyota obsession (or "sickness," as he calls it). In 1993 Kerry Blalock promised his nephew, Eric Mason, a vehicle if he kept his grades C or higher. Shortly thereafter Blalock found Eric a 1974 Toyota Land Cruiser at Greenline Equipment. Someone had traded it in on a tractor.
Saturday, a week ago, while waiting on coffee in one of those scruffy, only-in-New-Orleans kind of places, I leafed through the current issue of Gambit, a local weekly newspaper, and there was Elayne Goodman.
Alabama's Sipsey River is a 145-mile long low-lying, swamp-like stream that begins in Glen Allen near Fayette and runs south until it crosses Highway 82 just east of Gordo. There it veers southwest where it eventually flows into the Tennessee-Tombigbee just south of Vienna.
When my mother was a schoolgirl, she would come home from Franklin Academy, get a lemon, dip it in sugar and then climb up into her tree house and read Nancy Drew mysteries.
Lee Lee and Randy Burris have what seems to be the perfect retirement plan. It looks a lot like beekeeping.
They didn't stumble upon it right away. Parents of two grown children and longtime New Hope residents, the Burrises retired a dozen year ago: Lee Lee from teaching at New Hope Elementary and Randy from the Mississippi Employment Service.
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.
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