River’s Going Down

When Buddy Shari and I tried to visit Wittenberg June 27, we encountered a sign that read “Road Closed.”

“Only one lane is closed,” I assured her as I dodged around the sign.

When we hit a sign that warned, “Road under water 500 feet,” I said, “We don’t have to worry for 499 feet.”

When we got to where the photo was taken, I said, “Looks like it’s only a couple of feet deep. We should be able to make it.”

“Let me out here,” she said.

“See, that’s the difference between you and my mother. Mother would say, ‘back up about a hundred feet and get a run at it.”

Muddy and dusty today

The road was passable today. I went down to Frog Town (once a Wittenberg suburb) where the old train depot was. The gravel road was a little wet in some spots and would kick up dust in others. There’s a general coating of dried mud over everything.

Broadway floodgate open

The river’s still high enough that the Themis floodgate is closed. The Broadway gate, which is on higher ground, was open July 13 and lots of people were taking advantage of it. What’s really nice is that folks become friendlier as soon as they step onto the riverfront. It’s easy to strike up a conversation with perfect strangers. Even the dog gave me a welcome slurp when I held out my hand.

I used to dislike the floodwall because it blocked the view of the river. I’ve grown to appreciate it because, on the other hand, it also blocks out the noise and bustle of the city, creating a quiet space where you can listen to the water going by or have a pleasant conversation.

6 Replies to “River’s Going Down”

  1. Thank you for such reminders of the yesterdays spent along the river front. It is special to me and I think always will be. My grandmother, Mary Ann Tripp Yow, was born around Wittenburg, at a place called Owl Hollow. I don’t know exactly where either place is but would love to visit someday. Her husband, my grandfather, William Thomas “Tom” Yow was raised at Grand Tower, a once bustling and growing community, but now reduced to just a few residents. I visited there several years ago when I was doing some family history research. Once my grandparents met and married, they settled down in Cape, where they raised my father. They had 5 children, but 4 died very young. My father survived and lived 81 yrs. He said that his parents were the best friends he ever had.

    1. I’m not familiar with Owl Hollow. I’m working on a project with the Lutheran Heritage Center and Museum in Altenburg.

      I shot lots of photos on the ground and from the air of Wittenberg in 1966-67, before floods and fires reduced it to two buildings and three people.

      They want to exhibit the work at a conference in 2012, and I’m being encouraged to publish a book on the town.

      Keep watching. I’ll be posting German community photos here from time to time. I had a great visit with an old fisherman, Ted Wilson, yesterday.

  2. Good to hear you are helping with the museum in Altenburg. My wife is from there and we have visited the museum and Whittenburg many times.

  3. Ken,

    Are you aware that the new mobile version of your web site a) displays only text and not photos on Android (at least not on Droid X) and b) doesn’t let you switch to the non-mobile version? It kept me from seeing these photos until just now, when I got to my regular computer.

    Maybe you could have gotten through that wet spot if you had been riding your bicycle. Is your handlebar bag/w camera waterproof?


    1. John,
      It displayed fine on my HTC Incredible. I’ll forward this to my kid, who is the tech guru on the site.

      My Arkel handlebar bag is water resistant from rain from the top down. I haven’t tried fording the Mississippi River on it, though.

      I don’t think my friend Shari would have been up for that anyway. The very last date she and I had in high school was when I talked her into a tandem bicycle ride to Old McKendree Chapel.

      I won’t say that’s what caused us to split up, but it’s a rule of thumb that two things will test a marriage: riding a tandem and hanging wallpaper. After the bike ride, we never made it to the wallpaper stage.

      1. Now I see that the mobile theme on my own blogs is broken in the exact same way. So I expect it has more to do with Google’s browser in the Android update I did a few days ago.

        I tried riding a tandem once with Myra. When I suggested that was a way to tour together, she said definitely not.

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