Gone with the Flow

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Anchor Yankers Island Island Closing. JAL

Imagine doing something just for the sake of doing it. You’re in the zone. You are going with the flow. Time fades and your entire being gets into whatever it is you are doing. The moment is prized and you hardly notice that your body and mind are stretched to their limits. The flow is you.

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DW’s idea of a river dance. Port Charles to AYI.

Saturday I hitched a ride up river on our friend DW’s power boat. I arrived at the harbor and found him on the dock, relaxed as he savored a hot tumbler of coffee. When I apologized for being a couple of minutes late he grinned, “We’re on River Time.”

His 24’ Cobia stirred up a mess of Chinese carp before pointing upstream, getting down on plane and ripping through the current. The shoreline was ablaze with orange, crimson, and golden foliage. The channel shined beneath the low-slung sun as a purloined trove of Cartier’s finest diamonds.

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Pavillion @ Anchor Yankers End of a Season. JAL

Time like a river flows. Boats allow us to flow with time in ways that can’t be measured by Rolexes. Watching a bald eagle soar above the river for just a few moments is a vision that can endure in memory over a lifetime. Being with the flow resets our heads to moments in life when age is irrelevant. Age is trumped by the joyful sensation of being alive. The past is left in our wake the future lies at the bow. We float with Now. Regardless of the number of candles on the last cake – being on the water resets our internal sense of time. We are forever young.

Our cruise back to port was brief as the boat bit into the groove and sped down the channel. My mind absorbed the crisp fall air, glare of the sun, and brilliant foliage reflected off the calmer waters. My knees flexed to absorb the shock of crossing over wakes. Crows dug their feet into the creases of my eyes and lips as I squinted and grinned into the wind. Water, land, wind, and sun were transformed into a memory that will last longer then the time yet to pass between laying up for winter and next year’s boating season.

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Ralph, Jeri, Big G Last Sail of 2014 on Ex Libris

World Series Advisory from a Card’s Fan to Sox Fans: Bring a CDD

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Gateway to the Cardinal Nation

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St. Louis Welcome Center. Photo By Lori Mertz Millar

The boys of summer become the men of Rocktober here astride the Mississippi River at the Gateway to the West. Once again the Cardinals Baseball Team has invited out-of-towners to stop by and play ball. This week America celebrates its favorite pastime with our old pals the Boston Red Sox. As a good sport, I’m extending the hometown hospitality spirit shared by Card’s fans nine years ago when we enabled the Red Sox to break the Curse of the Bambino by swamping us 4-0.  Welcome to St. Louis but be forwarned: St. Louis is a gutsy river town, not a touristy seacoast port. If you travel to Busch Stadium by boat, be sure to have a kill switch for the engine, a PFD for everyone on board, and a bunch of CDDs. 

Let’s compare venues for the upcoming World Series. I’m concerned about the furry faced ballplayers from Bean Town who are used to tossing, hitting and catching balls close to predictable tidal waters and lazy brackish streams.  The Red Sox are accustomed to muddy waters named after the heir of the British Throne (who’s mother has been alive since the shot heard ‘round the world). They’ve got a bridge that is the sole place on Earth where you can sail under a train that is under a car that is driving under a Southwest Airlines jet. Our sailors have only sunscreen between them and the sky. The Cardinal’s are river men who play ball in eyeshot of the world’s largest croquette wicket, a tribute to wanderlusts who left the east coast astern, crossed North America’s greatest drainage ditch, and founded the Cardinal’s Nation.

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CDD Helmets Photo by Donna Smth

Smug Sox fans will slam into Busch Stadium, punch their fists in the air and yell, “We’ll get you, Carp!” Card’s fans will tail gate with Coleman’s chuck full of cold frosties and grin, “Oh, no you won’t.” It’s not that our leading second base man is invincible, it’s our smug security that the visiting team will not be protected by CDDs; Carp Deflecting Devices. 

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Carp on Deck Photo by Donna Smith

A bit of background for the few American’s not familiar with Major League Baseball. Matt Carpenter, affectionately known as “Carp, the Card’s go-to-guy”, can bat once and be a game changer. That impressive – but a select bawdy bunch of Card’s fans are Mississippi River Rats who make sport of Pacific rim immigrant fish – Asian Carp. When boaters such as the Smiths go cruising on their 26’ pontoon boat, The White Trash Palace their crew and guests wear life jackets, helmets, and other CDDs. They know the game and are ready on deck. A startled carp can launch its 50 pounds of scales and slime 10 feet airborne, knock a boater upside across the head and cause serious damage to the vessel. Undaunted and courageous to the core, River Rats fend off line drives with lawn chairs, trash can lids and snow shovels. Boats rather than Bass Pro fishing lines catch pop flies.

During coverage of the St. Louis games, newscasters are sure to note the sea of red blanketing the riverfront beneath the arch – Cardinal fans tailgating alongshore and dead carp splayed on docks. Watch yourselves Sox fans. You need a bigger boat. You’re from a provincial New England town where everyone knows your name. We’re hometown to the King of Beers whose brew will fill your mugs until the only name you’ll remember when you go home is Bud.

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This Carp’s for You, Bud. Compliments of Commodore Doug ‘n Sec’y Donna Smith of Anchor Yankers Boat Club and the White Trash Palace