October 12, 2019
Dear Family & Friends:
Good fortune also plays a role in extreme adventure.
The predicted thunderstorm never materialized so I pushed off into the River at 10am on October 11. One hour later, the thunderstorm showed up right on cue to end my day on the River. The heavy rain was accompanied by strong winds at 15-20 mph. The winds and waves pushed my canoe all over the River. Because of the heavy traffic of towboats and the ever-present wing dams, it was not safe to continue.
I pulled off the River at Rosedale just beyond a beautiful riverfront home. I brought all my gear from the canoe and parked it under a large observation deck. Then, I turned my canoe upside down so it would not fill with water.
Rosedale was too far from the River to walk into town and enjoy a meal while drying out. I assumed it would be a very long day under that deck. An hour later, Mike Sanders drove up the gravel road to his home. This was indeed good fortune because he and his family live in Cleveland, Mississippi and he was only there to check on the rising River.
I explained why I was there and he said I was welcome to set up my tent near his home. He then gave me the keys to his extra truck and gave me directions into Rosedale. I drove into town and had a microwave burger and a sprite at Piggly Wiggly. Nothing to write home about, but it was sure good in those circumstances.
I toured the little town and stopped at a Blue J’s Bar & Grille. The owner said it was homecoming day in Rosedale and the grand opening of the bar & grille. In the evening they were offering free bbq’d food for all patrons. You can bet I showed up early.
It was a pretty wild night in downtown Rosedale, but the food was great and I made lots of new friends, including the owners of the bar & grille, the Captain of a towboat and some ladies just having a great time. The owners had me sign a dollar bill as their first customer. They plan to post it on the wall. If you are ever in Rosedale, Mississippi, check it out. Regrettably, the high school football game was postponed because of the rain. I would have loved to attend that game.
It was a very cold night, so this morning I drove back into town to have some coffee and a sausage/bacon sandwich at the Quick Stop convenience store. A truck pulled up next to me and the driver motioned me to roll down my window. It was Mike’s Dad-Mike Sr. He told me a friend called him yesterday and told him someone is driving around town in his son’s truck. He told the friend “I know and someone should tell him it’s homecoming in Rosedale and he should hightail it back across the River to the Arkansas side.” He was shocked I partied with the crowd at Blue J’s Bar & Grille.
Mike Sr. invited me back to his home. He had a Labrador dog in the bed of his pickup truck and a high powered hunting rifle on the passenger seat. We sat in the living room of his home and had a great conversation for about one hour. If Mike and I were neighbors, we would be best friends. We share a lot of the same values.
Mike Sr. Is 77-years old, just a few months younger than me. His Dad was killed in Germany in World War II. His unit was ordered to retake a town from the Germans. When they entered the town, it was booby-trapped. Mike’s Dad and several other soldiers were killed. Mike was just 2-years old. Mike Step-Dad started an agricultural supply business and eventually turned the business over to Mike. They turned it into a multi-million dollar business. Seven years ago, they sold the business to a venture capital firm. This is a true American success story.
Thanks Mike and Mike Sr. for making my two days in Rosedale so special.
The forecast for today is for mostly sunny skies and winds from the north. Perfect paddling weather!
Mikes home & my truck
Blue J’s Bar & Grille
Jaakovis & Shelanda Ford, the owners of the bar
Mike Sr’s rifle
Prehistoric bones found in wing dams
Mike Sr, and Lucy