I drove up to the gate at my farm in late November and found a note rolled up and inserted in the lock. It was basically a request from a commercial concern to use the riverbank on my farm to tie up its barge and have access through my gate.
It was a weekend and the note said if I had any questions I should call Orangeburg County. So I did. What I didn’t know is that the note had been in my gate for a week or two and there was no longer a need for my services.
Basically, the note was from a marine construction service that was “snagging” the river. Snagging can be accomplished by using a winch and barge to drag fallen trees out of the river and push them up on the banks or, as in this case, they can simply cut a 20-foot path through the snags to allow boats a free run down the river.
It has been years since our section of the Edisto River has been cleared. The last I can remember was after Hugo, but I have heard tales of it being done in other sections at other times. When I talked to the guy at the county. I mentioned that a one-time snagging was very nice and all, but after a couple of good storms, the river would be impassable again.
This is when the story gets exciting. He said that Orangeburg County was negotiating to have the river MAINTAINED on a yearly basis. If the river is actually going to stay navigable, you now have my attention.
My mind drifted back to my teenage days when Craig Campbell and I would put his small jon boat and 9.8-horsepower engine in the river and run up and down looking for snakes. I remember fishing for red breast in the deep holes before the sludge spill at Ethyl Corp. I remember putting out set poles for catfish and frying them up on the bank at dark. Duck hunting off Cannon Bridge road in the 1970s is still one of my fondest memories.
Later that afternoon, I called Chic Smith and asked him what motor was appropriate for a 10-foot jon boat he sold me years ago. We decided to go with a 6-horsepower four-stroke (which just came in). I am so jacked! As a friend of mine once said, “Sometimes the getting is more fun that the having,” but I can’t wait to get on the river in the spring and get reacquainted.
I look forward to showing my wife how beautiful the Edisto is when you push away from the bank and just drift with a paddle. I look forward to trying for a couple of the 500,000 redbreast fingerlings the S.C. Department of Natural Resources is stocking this winter.
Sometime reality can’t match the dream. Sometime memories are embellished in our minds and cannot be recreated. In this case though, I know exactly what I am trying to connect with. I realize that I don’t have the stamina to do things I used to do with ease and getting a boat caught under a tree in the current, while once a fun thing, can now be life-threatening. Hopefully, now I have the time and the where with all to enjoy what I passed with blurred speed 50 years ago. We will see.