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the riverguy comes for a visit

Though I had never met him in person, John Ruskey and I have known each other for several years long distance. I first noticed his picture in the local newspaper dressed in period costume during a book festival featuring the Lewis and Clark expedition. He and his paddling buddy Mike Clark had made the trip themselves just a few years earlier and knew the subject well enough to eventually put together a book featuring river journals, pictures and John's art. They aptly named themselves Ruskey and Clark.

John owns a business in Clarksdale Mississippi called Quapaw Canoe Company that offers guided custom canoe expeditions on most any river you can imagine, focusing primarily on the "big muddy" Mississipi. Some of the folks here with our 'burg decided to explore opportunities to preserve and clean up the Forked Deere river which runs smack through the middle of town. They hired him to take a group out this morning and he arrived yesterday to scout the route, depositing the 26+ foot dugout canoe dubbed the "Ladybug" in my front yard along with the tent he would camp in. He and his partner took off with a smaller canoe and did a five hour run after which I picked them up down on the riverbank (in the boonies) a couple of miles from home.

This morning the group assembled at our new Farmer's Market downtown for the big paddle in the Ladybug. I didn't really feel like paddling a canoe with ten guys, so I just took pictures and wished them well. There were two bridges over the river from which to shoot when they crossed under and the one downtown was a breeze. HOWEVER.....the one on the busy by-pass proved to be pretty damned scary so I had to give up on that one before my smartass got run over by speeding traffic. I'd hate to be remembered as a greasy spot on the asphalt with a camera clutched in my hand.

John says a good time was had by all, and once again my faith has been restored in the power of reaching out to someone and trusting enough to meet them in person, like I did with Hossie a couple of years ago.

It's a pretty small world after all.
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