After a good swim in the Niangua River, Tazzy and I are relaxing in the slowly fading shade of the RV at the Hidden Valley Campground located across the road from Bennet Spring. This a nice, but dusty, campground with level pads, great utilities and a short jaunt to the river. This morning it is quiet and the low water conditions are keeping many folks off the river. It is a perfect morning to think about what got us here and what we are going to do about it.
Constant employment beginning at age 15 and ending at age 60 got me here. Being perfectly suited to resting on the front porch with a cup of coffee and an old dog, somewhere near a Missouri float stream has always been my ambition. A career in law enforcement introduced me to a frenetic, sometimes violent and confrontational lifestyle that I am finally beginning to outrun. Ending my career between a tremendously profitable business and the politicians who are always interested in money (the gambling industry) was about all it took to make me appreciate the charming existence of an Ozarkian depicted in various caricatures wearing a pair of coveralls, barefoot and a corncob pipe clenched in his teeth.
This morning, after accompanying Tazzy to the river, we sauntered back to the shade of the RV, where he and I watched the shade disappear and the cool morning transition to another hellishly hot September afternoon. A load of kayaks showed up just as we were leaving and the livery operator assured me that a float today would kick your rear end as the water is low and the shoals plentiful from here down. I can handle the paddle, but am not ready to drag the canoe over the shoals relying on a shoulder that is just starting to forgive my age adjusted lack of dexterity. We can float later, today we just sit and think a bit.
As for what I am going to do about my current situation, the answer is easy. Not much. Taz and I understand that folks don’t expect much from either one of us, and we have no intention of disappointing them. We’ll likely rely on the beautiful fall weather in Missouri to deliver more time “on the porch”. Neither one of us has any intention of doing one damned thing we don’t want to to do nor existing anywhere we don’t want to be. We have paid our dues and been just thrifty enough to finance the lifestyle we enjoy. I am married to a woman who moves at a faster pace than I do these days, but she is good about letting us catch up when we fall behind. A day or two on the Big Piney, Niangua or Gasconade is better medicine than you’ll find in any drug store, and when the water is right, the Huzzah or Courtois is soothing to the soul.
Have a good week!