Sometimes it seems as if life and the world want to beat you down and keep you down.
But, if I stop to think about it, I have a job that provides for my family. One that I’m relatively good at (let’s not be modest; I’m excellent at it) and is there to give me troubles.
I do like a challenge.
I have more than one car. We have three, actually. Two of them are paid off and in reasonably good working order. There’s that.
I have a roof over my head. Food in my belly. A wife that loves me. And two kids that, for any of their faults, are probably more respectful, outgoing, kind, and well thought of than a lot of people I encounter.
Blessed beyond measure.
I hope I never really get what I deserve for my past sins.
I hope that I can make up for them.
I’ll take the troubles on my shoulders and keep moving.
Some might say that’s what I’m supposed to do as a father and a man.
A tweet about a story from WIS-TV in South Carolina brought me here to wrote this morning. Nice to get a writing prompt so early with my first cup.
Below is a write-up of a day on the Great Pee Dee River from years ago with Ken, Jerry, and Donnie.
Jerry stands at about six feet and is pictured holding the catfish.
Search Area: The Pee Dee River/Rockingham, NC to Cheraw, SC
It’s going to be a hot one. Weather report is calling for a high of 97 degrees. I have packed a case of water that I froze last night. (If nothing else I can pack myself in ice in the kayak.) We will be leaving from Rockingham at Hwy 74 and pulling out just below the Hwy 1 bridge at the Chesterfield/Marlboro county line.THESEEGARS
GPS COORDINATES: Starting Point : N 34 56.739 W 79 52.146
CATEGORY: River Trips
It’s 7:30 am Saturday June 7, 2008. We will be hitting the river around 11:30. Prior obligations kept Ken from going earlier this morning.
It’s going to be a hot one. Weather report is calling for a high of 97 degrees. I have packed a case of water that I froze last night. (If nothing else I can pack myself in ice in the kayak.) We will be leaving from Rockingham at Hwy 74 and pulling out just below the Hwy 1 bridge at the Chesterfield/Marlboro county line.
Besides me and Ken we will have two other guys with us today. Donnie and Jerry both work with me. I asked if they would like to come along earlier this week and they jumped at the chance. I am going to publish this now and will edit as the weekend goes on. If you are reading this stay tuned.
Home! Sore, tired, blistered hands, but alive and just fine. A nice trip. I would do it again. Higher water would have been nice but you can’t have everything. The trip took longer than expected. More to follow.
We started out this morning from Laney Landing in Cheraw. Ken’s wife Sally was nice enough to drive us up in the Jeep and drop us off at the landing at Hwy 74.
The start of the trip was slow going and we thought that the water would get better. We had a lot of scrubbing through the rocks at the beginning but we had some nice spots as well. Continuing down the river we came to the railroad trestle about 2 miles from the drop off point.
After that we had some nice wilderness time. No turning back. The only way out was down the river. Not realizing what was ahead of us we pressed on. Suprisingly the heat wasn’t a problem. As of now Ken and I are sore and have a few blisters on our hands but no sunburn and I was suprised not to have a single bug bite.
The wildlife on the river is amazing. Donnie and I had never had the chance to see a bald eagle in the wild but we got that chance here. (I got as close as fifty feet from this fella!) He stayed with us about halfway down the river until we left his territory I suppose. The other great encounter with wildlife came late in the day. Ken came upon a catfish beached and still alive. Jerry and Donnie love to fish and had never seen a catfish this large.
Jerry said it had to weigh at least 75 lbs. Later we saw one as long the kayak in the picture above. You can consider that a tall tale or “the one that got away.” I guess being this far out and no real predators a fish can grow quite large. We will be back once I can talk the guys into it.
We continued down the river and sadly I have no pictures really after sunset. I have to get some type of waterproof camera for trips like this.
We ended up being on the river after sunset. Not a bad thing. We just weren’t prepared for a night run. We had two headlamps between us. Ken ran front and I tried to run back. The most amazing thing was how well your night vision can adjust out there. We ran most of the way back with the lights off, nothing but moon and stars to guide us.
The only part that had us nervous was shooting the rapids. A night trip down the rapids would be dangerous. We were lucky. The low water made it alot easier than we expected. I’ve never been so glad to see Hwy 1. Me and Brown had to take a break there at the last and just be thankful that we made it.
Let’s go home!
Then comes the fun part. We pulled into Laney Landing feeling like prisoners of war finally making it home only to find out that someone’s wife got worried and called the police and was just about to call the DNR to start searching for us! The whole lesson here is, no matter how much you think you are in charge or that she knows where you are, CALL YOUR WIFE!
Everyone is home safe and sound now. I personally can’t wait for the next trip.
I listen to a lot of podcasts and I hear a lot of Rock Auto commercials.
I’m sure they have plenty of deals, and that’s great. I needed a part today and searched it while I took a break.
The part was a radiator hose.
This part is roughly $20 less than what I ended up paying at O’Reilly’s ($38 +tax) and would be a significant saving.
It is Thursday the 16th. I work for a living; it’s still sweltering in the South, and I need my truck running with A/C. The savings I would have had would not make up for the lost time.
I do have the choice of driving my other car, which does not have A/C at the moment. It’s great to have that choice. But an afternoon on the highway home would be torture.
I was out the door at O’Reilly’s in five minutes after first having called them to make sure they had the part. No standing around, no wasted time, which is also mentioned in the ads I hear.
Honestly, sometimes I stop at auto parts stores just to look around. I enjoy it. Which is a point the ads try to push. Lots of guys actually enjoy the auto parts store.
I had the part in hand, on the truck, and was back on the road in an hour.
I also hear a lot of “you have to know what kind of car you have, what type of engine,” etc.
How do you not know this sort of thing?
Right there, I know, these guys have never worked on their own vehicles. And probably shouldn’t be pushing ads to people who do.
I didn’t write this to knock Rock Auto at all. It’s great to be able to get parts at such a discount. I didn’t write this to criticize anyone. It seems snobby, I guess, to write and read copy on something you more than likely know nothing about.
If you’re a man and do not understand the appeal of working on and fixing your vehicle and the satisfaction that goes with it, I don’t understand you. Which I suppose sounds a bit snobby as well.
I have had the advantage of a father who is one of the best shade tree mechanics I’ve ever known.
For those without that advantage, there is a world of information on the internet. YouTube will walk you through so many small and large repairs.
I thoroughly enjoy working on mine. I love my truck. Yes, there’s a song about that.
For the hobbyist and the person that has the time I can see online parts ordering and possible savings.
For a man trying to get to work, I’ll go local parts store every time.
Again, not knocking Rock Auto but I will sing the praises of O’Reilly’s.
This is an interesting little piece of South Carolina campus folklore. Anyone have anything to add?
The Third Eye Man
The “Third Eye Man” was first spotted on November 12, 1949, on the campus of the University of South Carolina. According to school records, a strange man dressed in bright silver was sighted opening “a manhole cover on the corner of Sumter and Green Streets, directly opposite of the historic Longstreet Theatre.” At 10:43 p.m., two male students watched as this man entered the sewer portal, and diligently pulled the manhole cover into its proper position. One of the students, Christopher Nichols (class of 1953), wrote for the Gamecock and immediately spread the news of this “Sewer man” — as he was called in the article. After a few weeks, any interest in the “sewer man” died down.
Almost six months later, on April 7, 1950, this “sewer man” was spotted again. A university police officer on patrol came across two mutilated chickens behind Longstreet Theatre. Feathers and chicken parts were strewed all over the loading dock of Longstreet. Believing that this mess was left by fraternity students or some other pranksters, the officer walked back to his car to report the scene. After calling into the station, the officer returned to the loading dock only to discover a silver man huddled over the chicken pieces. Immediately, the officer turned his flashlight on this man who looked up at the cop. In the beam of the light, the officer could make out a very disturbing face, grotesque in color and shape, and in the middle of this man’s forehead, a third eye! It wasn’t a large eye, but nevertheless, there was a third eye starring back at the cop! The policeman retreated from the scene and called in back-ups. When other officers arrived on the scene, there was nothing left on the loading dock except a few scattered feathers and bones. Of course, the cop who witnessed this “third eye man” was in hysterics, and was never able to convince the other officers of what he saw.
In the late 1960′s, the “catacombs” or underground tunnels at the University, were a favorite place for students. These tunnels connect most of the University. One night in early October, a group of fraternity guys decided to take three pledges down to the tunnels for a challenge. Entering the tunnels from the basement of Gambrell, the group of guys headed west towards the horseshoe. As they rounded the first corner, they were met by a “crippled looking man dressed all in silver” (according to police reports). This bizarre looking man charged at the students with a lead pipe, and suddenly the frat boys realized that this was no prank. One of the pledges, Matthew Tabor, was knocked to the ground by the creature, and suffered “minor cuts and minor shock.” Two of the older boys immediately went to the police department, and that evening, the first “third eye man-hunt” took place. After hours of searching the tunnels, the police came up with nothing. However, they did take precautions by sealing off most of the entrances to the catacombs, and by declaring the tunnels off-limit to any person, student, or faculty member.
According to one of the maintenance men who still works at the University today, “we don’t use the tunnels unless it is absolutely necessary.” There have been several sightings in the late 80′s and early 90′s, though most were dismissed by the University Police force. Those who are adventurous enough to climb down into the tunnels risk being suspended from school. Students WILL find a way into the catacombs from time to time, but there is always the possibility that they will come face-to-face with the ominous third eye man.
Contributed by: Marc Minsker Department of English, Graduate Studies University of South Carolina November, 1998
This has had my interest for a long time, and I never can find anything else on it really.