Posted by: Jim E | March 2, 2013

When I Grow Up I Want To Be Just Like Me…Or…Life On The River…

My Dad grew up on the Mississippi River…what you say?…Well, what I mean is, he grew up in a town on the Mississippi River…to be specific, Minneapolis, Minnesota…and yes, Minneapolis,Mississippi River, Broadway Ave. Bridge even in his youth, was a city…not a small town…but still by saying he grew up on the Mississippi, you might think it was “right on” the river…but no luck…the truth is that Minneapolis is a “river town” or city, whatever…and my Dad did grow up there…and even though his Dad, my Grandfather didn’t make his living on the river…Dad did spend lots of time “in the river”…they swam in the river, dove off the Broadway Avenue Bridge (pictured here) and hung out on the river, when he was young…his mother was not happy with those choices though…she forbade him to go there, though he did anyway…the river, any river, is a dangerous place to swim…and if you don’t know what you are doing, it would be easy to lose your life…my Grandmother knew that but my Dad didn’t think so…he and his friends swam there whenever they could…

You do need to know a river…the time of the year…high water…currents…and other dangers Lewis and Clark mapthat are a part of the river…but rivers have always been of interest to us…to this day explorers use rivers to explore the interior of a land mass…it was true of the United States too…and the people of the world settled on rivers…food, travel and trade happened on rivers…Lewis and Clark on their trip to investigate the Louisiana Purchase traveled rivers…and they were not the first into the newly purchased land…trappers and traders with the Indians, had gone there for years…and came back with information about what they were going to experience…for example they knew that there was a large trading center hundreds of miles up the Missouri River called Mandan, right near today’s Bismarck, North Dakota…where the Sioux had been involved in trading with other  Indian tribes as far West as the Pacific…one tribe trading with the other…so rivers have always been important…

  We live in a river town…Little Rock, Arkansas…the Arkansas River, which runs through LittleArkansas River at Little Rock, AR Rock, starts in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado…just north and west of Colorado Springs as a Arkansas River headwaterssteep whitewater mountain river…widening at Canon City and Pueblo and then on to the plains of Kansas, Oklahoma and into Arkansas…then into the Mississippi River in southeast Arkansas…so through large cities and small towns it travels on…before the Army Corps of Engineers got involved in controlling the waterways of America…the Arkansas River could be walked across in places near Little Rock…that is at the dry times of the year…but also could have dangerous flooding in the spring…but now the river is maintained at a certain level throughout the year, by the use of dams…and controlling water flow behind those dams and locks…which gets me to just last week…

Often we go to a park on the Arkansas River, within 5 miles of our home…heavens, we are a Arkansas River, in January“river town”…so we take that short trip often, all times of the year…the river is never frozen so it is always active…there are always fishing boats going and coming…picnic areas to eat a quick lunch…and parking right on the river…just to sit and watch the river going by…there are always birds, ducks, geese and stray deer on the island in the middle of the river…the deer never knows we are watching…barges, pushed by tugs…they sometime are so long we wonder if they will make the curve in the river…(they always do, with a little maneuvering )…and me and my imagination let lose once in a while…thinking about Mark Barge and Tug on the Arkansas River 1Twain growing up along the Mississippi River…he did what we are doing…sitting on the bank, watching, dreaming, thinking, enjoying simple things…

And every time we go…I enjoy it so…most people go where the crowds are…you know, if there is a crowd going somewhere…there they are…in the crowd, seeing what they are there for…most of the time, not one of the crowd find the answer…they get home and wonder why they went…what was the meaning of all that, they say…fun, maybe…but meaningful to them as a person?…did it bring them more happiness than they had before?…don’t know…but life is more than crowds…a lot of life is within…like enjoying all the Cedar Waxwings thisCedar Waxwing 7 time of year…they come in huge flocks feasting on the berries of our Holly bush outside our window…have you ever seen a Cedar Waxwing?…they are unbelievably beautiful…how do those colors stop at the right time so the other colors can start?…and how about a river, have you really ever thought about a river…and where it has been and where it is going…the beauty of it…and how we used it to our betterment…how it has been used for centuries…

My Dad swam in a river just like the one I look at so often…what was he like as a child…was I like him as a boy…how about all the young kids growing up today…will they travel down the same paths as we have…will they travel the easy road, follow the crowd…or will they go on a path that will be the one that will make them the kind of person Arkansas River 2011-1that God would have them be?…all in all I guess I still say, “When I grow up, I want to be just like me”…even though my childhood was not perfect, even though we may have been poor (though I didn’t know it), even if my teen years may have been a bit confusing (like all teens, I guess…finding their way), and even though my adult years may not have been all smooth sailing…yet, I took a road less traveled…not the wide path that Jesus talked about…but the narrow one…Matthew 7:13-14,  13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

So I guess, I’m fairly satisfied with my life…I never really thought about what it would be like atWalking with God this time of my life…so all in all, I chose a path and that path lead here…right here…and I guess I still say, “When I grow up, I want to be just like me”…because it is all I have…and it has been a satisfying life…it has been a “life on the river”…enjoying the simple things, avoiding crowds that would lead me astray…holding on to that which is good…you know, I think a trip to the Arkansas River is in order…the sun just came out…blue sky on rippling water…yup, still a great idea…

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Responses

  1. A wonderful essay, Jim- life and rivers go hand in hand. You never know where you’ll end up, and it’s a marvel to look back on!

    • W.S….thanks for visiting…and the comments…yup, rivers and life, no doubt intermingled for me…and for many people…water and people seem to go together…I guess I should ask you to forgive me…I haven’t left a comment on your site recently, though I have loved your pictures and narrative…the number of birds at the feeders and in the stream…great…many of those birds are at our feeders too…but not that many…you must have spent some time there to get that many…thanks for all you do…it helps to pass the winter for lots of us…Jim E

  2. Hi Jim,
    I loved this post. And I love Matthew 7:13-14. In late 2011, I was struggling with a situation in my life. I talked to a couple on our prayer team, and they gave me that verse to guide me (they actually includes verse 15 also). That passage helped me tremendously with my decision and has been a big part of my life since then. I love simplicity and this verse helps me to remain on the right path. Thank you for your post and for reminding me that this verse is a good one to hold onto.
    Take care,
    Julie

    • Julie…thanks for the visit…yes, the verses are wonderful…hope things are going well for you and yours…spring is on the way for sure…flowers are blooming now here…trees and bushes and flowers…daffodils are in full bloom, Bradford Pear trees, etc…I saw a Mockingbird building its nest yesterday…and our Bluebirds are scouting out our bluebird house in our little courtyard…new life all around…who says spring is not great…well, maybe no one…but it is certainly welcomed here…thanks again…Jim E

  3. Believe it or not, we’re still getting snow here, however only about an inch yesterday, and it melted today. Rumor has it that we’re getting an accumulating snowfall again next week (we got 6-7 inches 2 weeks ago). Currently the only birds we have outside are starlings. I love watching them fly in their amazing patterns while singing beautifully. It’s truly a sight to see. Inside, we have a cockatiel that the girls and I rescued about 9 years ago. He’s spoiled rotten but we love him dearly. Please give my best to Judie and your family.
    ~Julie

    • Julie…sorry about the winter “hanging on”…Friends in Minnesota are having a long winter too…lots of snow and lots of cold…this time of year snow goes quickly but the cold is a little much for this time of year…I find it hard to believe the weather here in Arkansas…we had 70 or so yesterday…today closer to 80…then it gets a little more normal…but flowers are everywhere…trees, bushes and flowers…Judie, Jeremy and I went on a “road trip” yesterday…it was to a small town (Keo) and restaurant there…a hole in the wall place…known for their pies…”Charlotte’s Eats and Sweets” or something like that…sandwiches and pie…she is known all over for her pies…you can check it out online…Charlotte’s is in Keo, Arkansas…town of about 200…fun and great sandwiches and pie…so Spring is here in Arkansas…flowers, etc…will be going strong every week through fall…it is amazing…we also went to Wye Mountain yesterday…for their Wye Mountain Daffodil celebration…lots of flowers…about 8 acres of daffodils…Hey, you got a little peek into my next post…have a great day…Jim E


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