Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Caney Fork Rock Skipping Competition

Sunday Husband and I and one of his friends, J, and J’s girlfriend B, put our canoes in the Caney Fork river at Betty’s Island and floated down to the soccer fields at South Carthage. We had to paddle a little more than we wanted to because the dam didn’t generate after 8:00, but it still wasn’t a bad trip. We made the nine miles in about six hours and had a fun time doing it.

About a third of the way, we passed a group of people camping; as we floated past they waved at us and hollered approvingly of the way that we were transporting our cooler. We like to strap our cooler down onto one of those round floats that people ride on behind a boat, and we let the cooler trail back a few feet behind one of the canoes. People always make comments about our method and think it’s ingenious, as if they couldn’t have thought of it themselves. As we passed by we waved back at the group which consisted of two or three girls who were sunbathing and reading magazines and three or four guys who were standing around drinking from red Solo cups. Because I was in need of finding the ladies’ bush, we decided to go ahead and stop there and take a lunch break. We pulled up a couple of hundred feet from where the group’s campsite was located, and as soon as we got out of our canoes, one of the guys from the camping group, a guy wearing a white tshirt for a head wrap, hollered again and motioned for us to come up to where they were, but we just waved back and broke into our lunch cooler.

After a little while of a eating sandwiches and chips and speculating about how much farther we had to go—and giving our butts a break from sitting—I decided to skip a couple of rocks, and Husband and J joined in. After two good skips, all my rock were duds, so I quit because Husband was tossing some pretty good ones, and J’s rocks were skipping nearly all the way across the river. This commanded the attention of the camping guys who cheered and then began skipping their own rocks, with one of the guys nearly matching J’s attempts. Finally, I guess Tshirt couldn’t stand it any longer because here he came, half walking, half staggering towards us along the narrow bank of river rocks. When Tshirt reached us, he stuck his hand out and introduced himself as Allen. He shook all of our hands and asked each of our names, repeating each name and committing it to memory as best as his alcohol-fogged brain would allow. Despite their state of inebriation, he and his group turned out to be a really nice bunch, and they invited us over to their campsite. We politely declined as we were putting away our food, saying that we had to get moving on down the river, so Allen headed back toward his group.

All the while J and one of the camping guys kept skipping rocks, when suddenly Allen turned back toward us and challenged us to a friendly rock skipping competition. “If you win,” Allen slurred, “you can be on your way down the river, but if we win, you have to come do shots with us.” We laughed and began to repeat that we needed to go, but Allen wouldn’t have it that there wouldn’t be a rock skipping champion crowned that day, so we chose J as our skipper against their guy. J went first, and his rock skipped seven or eight times. Everyone on both teams cheered, and then their guy went; his rock skipped about nine or ten times. J tossed another one that was good for another eight skips, and their guy’s next one went nearly all the way across the river for about twelve skips, everyone cheering all the while, like drunken fraternity guys playing beer pong. At that point, Husband and B and I all looked at J and said that it looked like he was going to have to go do a shot, but the guys from the camping group were drunk enough that they couldn’t remember if twelve was more than eight. That let J off the hook, and we got back to the task of packing our gear to leave. Just as we were about to put back out into the water, Allen and his bunch headed back toward us with a camera, wanting to get a picture of the participants of the great Caney Fork Rock Skipping Championship. After the picture, we shook hands again and said our goodbyes, and after urging the campers to be careful, our group went on its way down the river.

I have a feeling that today, somewhere in cyberspace, if I searched hard enough, I would find that picture.


Tony Arnold said...

You can bet your students already have an email chain going around with a link to a photo on Mysoace showing Proj J partying with a bunch of wild boys.

Profs Gone Wild!

JMG said...

Ha! If they were to find it, you can bet they'd sure tag it. And if that picture does ever show up, that clear liquid I was drinking was water.

Profs Gone Wild! LOL!!

Tony Arnold said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tony Arnold said...

Profs Gone Wild. Look at what wild means. Skipping rocks and faking PGA consumption.

And man, when the arguing philosphy and literature errupts over wine spritzers, watch out. You don't want that stuff on YouTube! Someone could lose a synapse.

JMG said...

Philosophy and literature? Ugh! Not when I don't have to!

I think I'll just go back to the river and party with the rednecks.

Tony Arnold said...

I think I'll just go back to the river and party with the rednecks.

Ever heard the joke about the high school grad from Howenwald, TN that got accepted to Harvard? Kid was a genius, but never been out of Hohenwald (Holeinthewall, TN).

Arrives in Boston, on campus at Harvard, for orientation scared and nervous. He is trying to find the library where registration is taking place and he is lost. So he stops another student to ask for direction.

In a deep southern accent he sheepishly asks, "Scuse me, cud ya pleeze tell me where the liberry's at?"

Unfortunately, he stopped a senior English major from a prominent Bostonian family. In a haughty, derisive Hahvahrd accent he answers, "We at Hahvahrd, do not put prepositions at the end of ahr sentences."

The young southern gentleman answers back, "oh I'm sawrry. Cud ya pleeze tell me where the liberry's at, a@%hole."

I know it is a little crude, but I love that joke.

You know, people make fun of the way we talk down here. But what they don't know is that God talks like we do. -- Lewis Grizzard.

JMG said...

I've heard that one told about a woman who visited New York, and her reply to the snooty woman was similar but rhymed with witch.

My students love that one!