Sep 102012
 

The lower Red to Boonesborough, part 2

By Northrupp Center

Illustration by Christopher Epling

Editor’s Note: Future river rat scholars take note. The online edition is (thankfully) revised from the story’s appearance in print.

“Gortimer.” It is dark. I am perched high upon a brick shelf on the steep banks of the lower Red River, Estill County, watching as my fire-blown shadow-selves dance over a cascading series of nineteenth century iron furnaces in decay, the heavy brick hulls my flickered selves’ off-level stages in their strut to the river lying black one hundred feet below. “I feel ghosts.”

My day has not gone according to plan. The plan was to have NoC editor Danny Mayer and staff river writer Wes Houp pick me up at Bluegrass Airport and depart for a relaxing two-nights on the Red and Kentucky Rivers. The plan was to justify all expenses incurred on my summer trip by writing an NoC article on the Kentuckians for the Commonwealth-led effort to stop a coal-fired power plant from being built at the community of Ford on the Clark County banks of the Kentucky River upriver from the peopled public beach just below Lock 9, Fort Boonesborough State Park. Continue reading »

Aug 022012
 

The lower Red River

By Wesley Houp

June.  The early morning rain tapers off.  My eggs, sunny-side-up, are runnier than I normally like.  But I don’t complain, masking the mucussy whites beneath a hard triangle of buttered toast.  It all goes down to a good spot.  Danny lords over his sausage melt and home fries (“covered and smothered”), glancing furtively out pane-glass at neutered clouds.  Dad, our shuttle-master, sips his coffee and polishes off the last bite of biscuit from his modest breakfast set.  Wafflehouse on the Winchester Road exit of I-75 is abuzz with grizzled truckers, rough couples trapped in leather with inexplicably demonic tattoos—in from a Friday night of god-knows-what, and harried moms with their wild-eyed, towheaded children suckling up more syrup than hotcake.  People on the go, people on the edge, people on the run, all people on the fringe of town…and us: just more wide-eyed people on the fringe of what comes next.  But this morning we’re aiming to plush that fringe with the green distance of the Mountain Parkway.  We’re Red River-bound.  So we sop up yolk and thank the waitress while Dad pays the tab, a treat he erroneously predicts as our last “hot one” for a few days.  At 72, with his river-ratting days mostly behind him, he’s forgivably unfamiliar with our new-fangled, compact, culinary technologies.  To echo Lexington crooner Chris Sullivan, we can make a three-course meal from a worn out shoe.  Continue reading »