I arrived early this evening to hear about the “Bucket of Guts”. It seems that Lake Chicot has a problem an Asian Carp infestation. These fish are beyond ugly. Mr. I H824 was telling me about the neighbors who have an old “party boat” (pontoon boat) with Chrysler engine. Apparently the whomp, whomp, whomp, of that propeller is the “come and get it” sound for the carp. Without fail, these carp launch themselves from the lake into the boat – and land with such force on the deck, they blow out their gills spraying blood all over the guests. After their suicide bombing they are scooped into the “Bucket of Guts”. Sounds like fun, eh? Shortly after telling me THAT story, he launches into the “Chicot 4th of July Story”.
That would be the story where no one wanted to drive into Greenville to see the 4th of July fireworks – so they went out onto the lake – to watch the fireworks, and this 15 pound carp heaved itself out of the lake and hit a friend in the back of the head, and almost knocked him unconscious!
My friend, Mr. I H824, then asked me if I wanted to go out on the boat before we had our 2 inch T-Bone steaks and Doe’s green salads. After he promised me no carp would whomp me in the back of the head, I agreed to the lake cruise.
It was an especially fun boat ride, because of the stop that I’d made before I’d arrived at the lake. You do know, don’t you, that I don’t know a stranger, right? So, the IH8T24’s told me about this great wine shop in Greenville, Chilies. I stopped there to pickup a couple of bottles of wine for dinner. I was suspicious the wine shop would know “good” wine, as Mrs. IH8T24 went in there for the first time to buy some wine and exited with $100+ of wine equal to the Lambrusco she “loved” so much. *shudder*
Walking in, this man asked me, “Can I help you?” Obviously I was dubious, knowing who his former customer had been. I was standing in “Australian” section, and mentioned that I liked California Reds. Immediately he was off and running.
“Come on over here, here are the Cabs, and here are the “Zins”. He’d hold up a bottle, ask me if I was familiar with the vintner or vineyard – and we’d talk shop. The embarrassing part was how many small case wineries he knew about and I didn’t. Each bottle he held up had a story – about who owned the winery, who had land in Mississippi, who owned land in Hawaii, and “Bubba” who needed a cute girlfriend, “just like you”.
After I picked out two bottles of wine, I came to Casa de IH824. Arriving in a fishtail pattern down the gravel driveway, Buddy Love, appeared to great me. Buddy Love you say? Yep, Buddy Love – the best Duck-Hunting-Black-Lab in the US.
As I swung my legs out of the car, here he was, nose pushing into my hand – and tail wagging like a flag in a high wind. Renewing my acquaintance with Buddy, we walked toward the dock and the “party boat”. We loaded up the ice chest – and cast off. We circled the lake – and gazed at the most beautiful bridge in the entire world. Or at least close. There is a new bridge being built across the Mississippi. It’s a suspension bridge – and the spans look like the rigging on sails. It is the most gorgeous bridge I’ve seen. Maybe because the design firm, is the one I worked for in Arizona.
As we were cruising the lake, Mr. IH824 told me about a friend that he recently took fishing. This man, a west coast guy I might add, wanted to cast his own line. However, as most of us know, desire and reality are far apart. Mr. IH824 told me, “I caught 25 fish tying not to catch one! Really Mit, I wanted him to catch a fish – and I wanted to cast for him, but he wanted to do it himself. In the long run, I caught those 25 – and he caught 4.
When we got off the lake, he fired up the grill, she and I made the “Doe’s salad” (Google Doe’s Eats), the garlic bread – and I poured the wine. When the most amazing T-Bones were ready, we sat down, took a sip or two of wine, and began to dig in. And there, under my elbow was Buddy Love, ready to take the few pieces of fat off my hands. When I forgot he was there – waiting for me to separate the, “fat from the thin”, he’d kindly nose my arm, and let me know the bottomless pit wasn’t filled up.
Mrs. IH8T24 was kind enough to do the dishes as I write this tale – while we discussed all the friends who stop by Casa de IH8T24 – and how this is our favorite hotel on the Mississippi or Arkansas side of the wild and rolling Mississippi River. Our evening ends talking about our small cotton world, true friends – and the lint that ties us together.