Twain’s world … life on the Mississippi

October 20, 2008 § 6 Comments









A week ago ( a week ago already?) Clarksville was celebrating its Apple Festival. (hmm…didn’t take pictures of any apples, though.)

HM and I cruised into town unsuspecting. It was a nice surprise though locals said attendance was down. Likely thanks to the flood, the economy (no, I’m not gonna go there!) and gas prices maybe. Still there was a fine little art gallery exhibit, some local foods, carnival stuff and lots of local mingling, talking, calling out to one another. Kind of a Norman Rockwell afternoon, sun out, dogs well behaving and skittering here and there, babies laughing, and “folks” gathering to chat.

And the river was behaving. HM and I are fascinated by the Big Muddy. We’ve traversed the river roads on both sides; east, in Illinois and west, north of St. Louis. We found an old farm road that ran to the river and a boat launch. Several small crafts were coming in.

Looking downriver, we noted a tug. “He’s bringing up a barge,” HM said.
“What? I thought that was an island out there in the middle of the river.”

Sure enough, pushing along at about 30 knots, there it was, the quintessential red and white tug, pushing a barge loaded with coal.







I pointed my camera and started snapping. The tug was in front of me in no time. The captain blew the tug’s horn and waved.

I waved back.
“Nice bit of Americana,” HM said, without sarcasm.
We’ve been in the MIdwest long enough; we are comfortable now; we own it.

A motorboat came zipping down the river, looking really close to the tug.
“Don’t worry. They see each other,” HM said, anticipating my whoa, look out!







All enamored of the river, we drove around along the edges, looking at property for sale. Why? Because it’s there. Because there is a natural inclination to live by water. Because it would be cool to have a river getaway when we wanted to get out of STL. One we could drive to.

Pipedream? We’ll see.
In the meantime, the charm of small town living is there and it’s nice to drop in. And drop out.






Aha! Strolling around Clarksville, we spotted another household that was tricked into getting a beagle (like us. I mean, they’re just so darn cute!) This one ballyhooed at us, just like Huck does, and again, we felt right at home.









Clarksville got hit pretty hard by the floods about two months ago. There are a lot of For Sale signs around the area. And it looks like some of the artists may have moved out which is a shame. The area was on its way to becoming an artist stronghold – pottery, paintings, handmade furniture of all sorts, candles.  No bookstore yet. While a good place to write, it might not be populated enough to support a bookshop.  





We are still debating the annual pumpkin “issue.” Get one and carve it? In the meantime, I have my 2-foot inorganic commercially carved jack o’ lantern just in front of the porch, looking all natural and un-scary and it lights up. One would think twice about smashing it, or reducing it to pie.


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§ 6 Responses to Twain’s world … life on the Mississippi

  • anno says:

    Sounds seductively lovely. Hope the small town, eternal time feeling buoys you through the churning waters of weekday demands. Beautiful pictures!

  • Jeanie says:

    What a fabulous post — too bad the festival attendance was down; it sounds like fun. I know what you mean about living near the water. There is something relaxing and peaceful about it (until it floods, but that’s not so pleasant a thought; I prefer peaceful and relaxing!)

    I’m having the pumpkin carving dilemma too — cut it up? Paint it up? Use buttons and yarn to foof it up without the mess? Get another and have choice? I used to have a great faux pumpkin that looked wonderful when it was plugged in. After the bulb burned out, I couldn’t figure out how to open it up! I think it was made to be obsolete! Aren’t pumpkins great?

  • oh says:

    Hi, Anno – we go back and forth about small towns. I grew up in one; HM did not (NYC). GUess it works well to visit them on weekends and have urban energy all week.Funny thing – I rarely photograph our city (STL) – must start!

    Jeanie – Yes, to pumpkin love. I may use the lure of a carving party to get the kids (one’s a college student; other is Urban Career Girl) home for an evening … that, and the lure of a grand dinner?

  • don crozier says:

    Glad you enjoyed Clarksville!. It’s a lovely little town. We are not residents, but we gallery-sit in a little co-op gallery in Clarksville named Simpatico. Hope you stopped by when you were in town.

    It’s not easy to make a living as an artist, but we’re trying. There are at least a half dozen full-time artists/craftspeople in Clarksville and another dozen or so of us part-timers. A new coffeeshop opened last weekend, and my wife and I will be working the first weekend in November for “50 Miles of Art”. Come by and see us and the other galleries on the tour.

  • sounds like a lovely little place, love the last photo of the pumpkins…

  • oh says:

    Don – how cool to hear from you! Thanks. I am SO glad you are there along with the other artists. It is my dream to move there and though writing is not a visual art, would like to have a studio/bookstore there. Yes, we will try to get there this weekend for the 50 Miles of Art!

    Hi, CGP – thanks! Will try to get more photos of life here in the “big” city, too.

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