Thursday, September 06, 2007

Friends Make the World Go Around

Ever since Gerald and I spent part of our 50th wedding anniversary celebration at the Rose Hotel in Elizabethtown and learned about the Shawnee Queen River Boat Taxi, which operates on the Ohio River, we have wanted to ride it. We’d taken our friends Bill and Mickey Tweedy down to the floating river restaurant months ago, but the taxi shuts down in November and wasn’t available. So we talked about going on a ride this summer.

With this summer rapidly drawing to a close, we were afraid to postpone that desired trip much longer. Bill and Mickey could go today and so could we; we made reservations. When we woke up at Woodsong with rain, we called and asked if the taxi would operate. They assured us that only lightning or dangerous winds would shut them down for weather reasons. The Tweedys were not getting rain in Cobden, so we decided they’d come on as planned and we would re-evaluate after they got to Woodsong. We decided a little rain would not hurt us--the taxi has a roof--and the rain was very sporadic.

After enjoying a beautiful drive through the hills, we walked through sprinkles and ate a fish sandwich at the river restaurant right beside one of the docks that the taxi comes to as it makes its scheduled stops at the various Ohio River towns.

As we excitedly boarded the nearly full boat being cautious about the slick floor, a woman asked if she did not know me. We had a quick conversation before I had to sit down when the boat began traveling. We determined that we both occasionally attended the Union County Writers Group in Anna.

Next I looked up and saw a high school classmate of Gerald’s. Mickey saw a friend from Union County also. We settled in for our ride to enjoy the lovely misty atmosphere of the river on a rainy day.

Later we were to learn that all these Union County folks were with a group from Anna Heights Baptist Church. When their tour was completed and they began moving off at Rosiclare (I think it was), yet another woman said she thought she knew me. I did not recognize her and there was no time for guessing games. Tell me who you are, I said.

To my amazement, the woman was Phyllis Farris Boshera, whom I probably had not seen for 50 to 60 years. We had gone to grade school together for eight years, and we’d gone to each other’s houses after school to play.

Every time I used cross the former bridge that went over the railroad track as you left Jonesboro, I would think of Phyllis with some envy and awe. That bridge had a sidewalk beside the highway, and a concrete railing with probably 10 or 12 inches flat top. Brave little Phyllis would walk on top of that concrete railing. (She said today how good it was her parents never found that out!) I was too much of a scaredy-cat for such heroics, but I was impressed with her courage.

I also admired her baseball expertise. I was terrible and no one wanted me on their recess team. They solved the problem by letting Phyllis take my third strike each time I batted. (I never got on before that third strike.) She was well trained in baseball by older brothers. Humiliated that I could not bat for myself, I would run as fast as my short legs would carry me, which was not very fast, and was usually put out before reaching first base despite Phyllis’ hit. The fact that I never resented her taking my third strike despite my embarrassment spoke well of her kindness and generosity as well as her batting ability.

How wonderful to see a friend from so long ago. And how wonderful to spend the day chumming with Bill and Mickey. The icing on the cake was seeing Kathy Phelps’ gift shop-garden sign at her Pankeyville home, and my traveling companions being willing to stop and let me visit her amazing gardens to see the fairy lands, plants, butterflies, fossils, rocks, and multiple wonders for children to come and enjoy. I left with three of Kathy's hand-bound beautiful children’s nature books, an activity packet Kathy gave me, seeds for a plant to attract hummingbirds, and a piece of lovely blue florspar for Mickey.

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