06-24-2015 (The entire beach is an ant hill.)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Weather conditions:
High – 96 (heat index 105 – 110)
Low – 73
Skies – Sunshine in morning. Scattered thunderstorms developing this afternoon.
Winds – light and variable.

“That was a pretty good birthday! Why can’t I live that birthday over and over?” If you ask John to list his favorite ways to spend a day, he would say paddling his kayak, spending time with me, playing his guitar, and spending time with the grandkids. Well today was a pretty good birthday for John.

John awoke this morning on a beautiful sandy beach on the Mississippi River. That’s a pretty good way to begin a birthday! Then he paddled 22 miles to Natchez, Mississippi. What a beautiful riverfront! The buildings on the landing look European and are inviting.

As we walked up the boat ramp, we heard two voices yell out our names. It was Greg and Greg welcoming us to Natchez. (See Instagram @ Separateboats) Greg and Gail (Gail was at work when we arrived.) are River Angels. The other Greg is a friend. The Gregs quickly helped us pull our boats into their fenced-in yard, invited us into the upstairs apartment, and offered us some water and fresh fruit. Water and fruit are always welcome!

We were then whisked into a living room full of guitars. John was asked to pick out a guitar and begin jamming with these two fine musicians. He was in heaven! (See Instagram @separateboats)

After playing for about an hour, a two-hour lunch break was called. During this time, John and I walked in the scorching heat, uphill (Everything is uphill from the river.) to the post office to pick up our next food package. (See Instagram @separateboats)

After picking up our food parcel, we needed to feed our bellies. As we were looking for someplace to eat, we came to The Pig Out Inn, which Layne Logue had recommended, complete with a pink pig on top of the restaurant. It was authentic southern barbecue and delicious. What a cool place – delta music memorabilia on the walls, blues pumping out of the juke box, and the smell of barbecue hanging heavy in the air. John had something he has been craving – macaroni and cheese. (He loved every bite.) (see Instagram @separateboats)

One of the waitresses (Macy) approached our booth just as we were finishing our meal and said, “Matt from MyFarms just called and wanted to treat you for your birthday by buying you lunch. I told him you had already paid, but he could buy your dessert.” Ok so here is how a man in Portland, Indiana knows it is John’s birthday and where we are eating lunch….
1- I posted a picture on Instagram wishing John a happy birthday (see Instagram @separateboats).
2- John posted a picture of me sitting in a booth, which had the name of the restaurant. (see Instagram @separateboats).
3- Matt saw both of these pictures, and using the wonderful world of technology, tracked us down.

We did indeed partake of the ice cream – my present on John’s birthday.

Macy was so touched by Matt’s generous act – it brought tears to her eyes. She said, “There are still some good people in this world.” We had the privilege to talk with her for a few minutes. We made a new friend all because Lane happened to recommend Pig Out Inn, I happened to post a picture of John on his birthday, John happened to post a picture of me with the restaurant’s name in the background, Matt happened to see the pictures, and Matt happens to be a good man. Coincidence – I think not!

The rest of the afternoon was spent jamming! Dick joined Greg, Greg, and John with his mandolin, which added another layer to the already awesome music.

Dick is the Vice President and general manager of the casino and hotel. Before he left, he arranged for us to stay in a hotel room. Since our boats were safe at Gail and Greg’s, we accepted the offer. What a wonderful treat – bed, pillow, air conditioning, and shower!

Earlier in the day, we had received a text from our son-in-law stating that our next grandson may have the same birthday as John. While John was jamming we received a text confirming the arrival of Calvin! What a great birthday present! (I received a gift like that when my niece Megan was born on my birthday.)

During this trip, especially in the lower Mississippi, we have enjoyed the camaraderie with other paddlers. Unfortunately, most of them are male. Today I had the privilege of sharing excursion experiences with another woman – Gail. (See Instagram @separateboats)

While Gail and I were comparing stories, the two Greg’s made another southern traditional dish – tomato pie. Yum! I will need to make this at home! (See Instagram @separateboats)

More music and then to the hotel!

Time with me, paddling the Mississippi, playing guitar, macaroni and cheese, grandchildren – these are a few of John’s favorite things.

Thanks for following our adventure. For photos and videos of the events mentioned in this daily journal, check us out on Instagram @ separateboats.

Also, please continue to pray for and support our charity, The Fortress. Check out our “Charity Page” – you can donate using the Pay Pal button. Thank you.


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