Mundane Doesn't Describe It

For the slackatudinally challenged.

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I have never taken any exercise except sleeping and resting. Mark Twain, Hard work doesn't harm anyone, but I do not want to take any chances. - Unknown, I am retired and have tried to do as little as possible - slowly. Me.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Levee.

When I was growing up in Arkansas, the Mississippi River was fairly close to where I lived, which was about 40 miles Southwest of Memphis, Tennessee. About a mile behind my house there was a long lake that had been formed by the New Madrid Earthquake of 1811-12. It used to be a part of the Mississippi River before the earthquake. Throughout this area where I lived there were levees. A lot of these levees were built in response to The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927. By our house there was a three story building that was used as a store while we lived there. As with a lot of buildings in that area it was build up on stilts. My great uncle told me that he could just see the top of the bricks on the chimney during the flood. That had to be around 35-40 feet. So my point of that little side trip was to show how much the levees were needed. What most people don’t realize is that you can rent parts of the surrounding levees. Most farmers in that area have long term leases for any levee near their land.

Fdad rented a part of the levee that was adjacent to our farm. It was no more than a mile from the back of our house, and Fdad would use it for the cattle we had to graze on. Our part of the levee was two tiered. Half way down, it was built out enough to allow a truck to drive on it and on the top was a graveled road that ran the entire length of the levee. But my father also liked to enjoy himself, so our part of the levee was used for picnics with family and friends too. We would go down to the levee and in a stand of trees by the lake, my father would start the barbecuing, my mother would be looking after my youngest brother and we kids would run to the top of the levee with our flattened out cardboard boxes. This was our summer sledding time. Once the grass had started to dry some, you could take your cardboard box and fly down the side of the levee. For some reason we never had enough cardboard boxes for all the kids that wanted to slide. So once you slide down to the bottom, there would always be kids yelling at the top to hurry back up because it was their turn. Around this time Fdad also had a homemade pontoon boat docked by where we had our picnics. It was a bunch of 55-gallon drums strapped together with a platform built on top of those and railing on the perimeter of the platform. I forget what horsepower it was, but I remember we had an Evinrude outboard motor attached to the back, and Fdad had fixed it so that in the back right of the platform was a steering wheel and power handle for the motor. So there was everything from barbecuing to sliding down the levee to taking a ride on the lake to fishing. Fdad and Fmom had a lot of friends around there, so we always had a big group when we went to picnic at the levee.

I wasn’t going this way with this story, but I got to realizing that both Fmom and Fdad were a good bit younger than I am now. Fdad had already gone through WWII, and Fmom had already been the mother to five children. The sixth, my youngest brother would be on the way in a few years. I can look back now and think to myself hell they were kids. I guess the funny thing is that now that I’m older, it feels like I’m looking back and seeing my parents in their youth. Of course while this was happening, just as any child would see, they were bigger than life and pretty old. I guess I haven’t thought of it that much, but looking back at how much fun our family and friends had at the levee, I sort of wish at my age now, I could have become friends with my parents and their friends. I think it would have been a blast to get to know a young family like that. That young family also had a big plus on it’s side. It had me as a kid (obvious snark - :)).

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