We should be getting back into the swing of things, here on the banks of the Phatwater, before long, but by stating “getting back into the swing of things”, remember that we are a paddling venture and not a golfing venture, and this therefore is not a golfing metaphor.
Some of you may feel the same way George Carlin and Mark Twain felt about the sport of golf, and then again some of you may not. The last mayor of Natchez was, I believe, a golfer, as was the last mayor before the last one. The last one before the last one was also a black man, who lived through the so-called “civil rights era” in Natchez, when there was no available facility for black golfers until Duncan Park was forcibly integrated, though without the requirement that the Mississippi National Guard dirty their rifles and scuff their spit-shined jump boots, in which none of them every jumped.
I lived not far from the Duncan Park Golf Course when I was a kid and we were in the habit of going to the golf course during the rainiest of days during summer, and standing on the sixth fairway. The sixth fairway would always flood during summer rain showers and golfers not wishing to get their wet golf shoes even wetter would have to detour around the fairway and through the loblolly pines which lined the fairway, or otherwise risk getting leeches on their knickered shins. We would station ourselves in the flooded fairway, lightning crashing all around, and, with one eye scanning for leeches on thighs, with the other we would pinpoint and retrieve the balls knocked into the drink off the tee, which was pretty much all of them, if the knickered golfers wearing those caps that looked like settling horse manure soufflés were half the men they had been only ‘Yesterday’. Each ball retrieved was good for a JFK 50₵ piece—enough purchasing power for ten Butterfinger® candy bars or about four and a half Pepsi Colas.
When the black man who was the last mayor before the last mayor first began playing golf, I have had it pointed out, it was, “Because he enjoyed knocking the piss out of that little white ball.”
“If that is true,” I countered, “then by all that I know about logic, rather than playing golf, he should instead be bowling, so he could use one big black ball to knock down ten white pins, simultaneously, no?”
“I hadn’t thought about it that way,” said my sage.
Our good friend John Ruskey from Clarksdale, who founded, owns and continues to nurture Quapaw Canoe Company, has submitted a petition to Gov Bryant for tax exempt status (Federal Maritime Transportation Security Act, state affiliate) for guided touring ventures making use of the Mississippi River. He has asked everyone who is of a mind to sign this petition, whether they hail from Mississippi or parts unknown. It is a petition, not a vote, so anyone in favor of seeing tourism expand through the paddling sports has a vested interest, regardless of your state of residence. Please take a few seconds and give it a nod.
Phatwater on the Natchez gage today is: 35.97′ and rising.
All For Now—KB