There’ve been a few improvements since last year at the Under-The-Hill Saloon in Natchez where we hold the after race party for the Phatwater Kayak Challenge and the pre-race check in and registration finalization, boat number pick up and so forth. We now have on site a new ATM for our friends who do not wish to use the Square credit card option, and we no longer allow smoking inside the Saloon. All in all this has resulted in more, not less business, as was first feared. People who smoke cigarettes in the present don’t seem to mind standing on the boardwalk in front of the Saloon and throwing their cigarette butts onto the street as opposed to smoking inside the Saloon and placing them in ashtrays and beer bottles, as was the fashion in days of yore.
I wish there was a deposit on cigarette butts such as there formerly was on soft drink bottles— ‘coke bottles’, regardless of brand, in the South; ‘pop bottles’ for the folks up north—
A number of years ago there were a couple or more northeastern states which toyed with the idea of offering a nickel, or maybe it was a dime in a return rebate, for each cigarette butt turned in. It may have even been as high as fifteen cents. I don’t know the details, I just remember hearing about it. I wonder how it went. Anybody?
Another change at the Saloon has been the elimination of the old grand piano which occupied the back game room where plastic tipped darts are still being hurled at an electronic, casket-sized version of humility. At one point I took my old Chocolate Lab, Scotch, into the Saloon and placed him on the piano seat with his forepaws on the keys, and took his picture. It didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped because Scotch was sort of tone deaf, and very old at the time, and had not been introduced to the piano as a puppy, which I’m told is when they must be started if it’s going to “take”, so we called it a day and I left with assurances that at some future point I would find my way with a younger Lab to another piano, preferably in a setting more conducive to studio photography than that offered by a watering hole with a belligerent, animated dartboard, expressing audible remonstrances toward those of little skill hoping to ring in a winning score.
If you would like to experience this sort of scene, and who could blame you, please pay us a visit this year for Phatwater XIII, October 11th, at the Under-The-Hill Saloon in Natchez. Registration for this year’s race will hopefully but up and functional next week. We will post as soon as we go live.
All For Now—KB