Thursday, July 07, 2005

wilson lake

I got to spend some time on the water last weekend. We went out late Saturday afternoon, just after some clouds rolled in and cooled things off a bit.

wilson lake
This is Wilson Lake, to be specific. It is the portion of the Tennessee River that sits between Wheeler and Wilson Dams and serves as the border to the counties of Lauderdale and Colbert in north Alabama. It was much smaller before TVA came through in the thirties. Before that is would flood every few years and wreak havoc on cities like Knoxville and Chattanooga before dipping down across the top of Alabama and swinging back up through Tennessee. It still runs the same course, only bigger and a bit tamer now.

There are trains, old house sites, and probably a few other signs of pre-dam civilization still under water. Thinking of that creeps me out for some reason. There are also said to be catfish the size of Volkswagons along the dams themselves. I have heard the same said about dams everywhere, though no one has ever caught one of the bastards. They seem to have the same elusive power of the Sasquatch.

They just built a swanky new Marriott on the other side of the dam and named the biggest suites after famous people from the area. There is one for Sam Phillips, one for W.C. Handy, and the largest goes to Helen Keller. It has the best view. You can imagine the jokes.

Here is my favorite Helen Keller joke from childhood, as best I can remember:

Question: What did Helen’s family do when they wanted to be cruel?
Answer: They left the plunger in the toilet.

Ah, childhood.

Back in high school there was always someone with keys to their family’s bass boat, and we would spend the summer weekends exploring the creeks or just floating out on the main lake shirtless and sunburned. We would blast tapes of Thin Lizzy’s Jailbreak or Nazareth’s Hair of the Dog that someone’s older brother had left in the boat’s glove box. At night we would take it back out under the moonlight with cigarettes, beer, and our own tapes, mostly REM, the Stones, or any number of forgotten bands from the early nineties. We would play drinking games for the next couple of hours before heading back for more of the same on a stable pier, as there is no worse self-inflicted state that being high school drunk on a boat in choppy waters.

Ah, teenage years.

There was none of that last weekend. It was just my family, my dog, and a number of threatening clouds that turned out to be all rumble and no rain. Carl Weathers did his impersonation of a fat little river otter all weekend, and there is nothing like the smell of a wet dog fresh from these waters. He likes to hang his head over the side of the boats when it gets up to a good speed, is fascinated by the buzzing jet-skis across the water, and spends most of his time sniffing the air and taking in the fish smell when the boat has stopped. Someday I will catch him a catfish the size of a Volkswagon.
carl weathers on boat
This is the face of happiness.


Blogger Stella said...

Awwwww. Cute!

12:06 PM  

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