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I just got back from a graduation at Hewitt-Trussville High School in Trussville, Alabama. (Great-nephew.) The ceremony was on Tuesday night, May 22.
Earlier in the day I started off trying to find a place to kayak. “Lake Purdy” was closest to my hotel, via long and winding back roads. However, when I got there they’d posted all kind of signs saying, “No private boats, no canoes, no kayaks.” (Jerks. They might as well have added, “No having fun, no enjoying nature, this means you idiot!” Stuff like that.)
So I ended up at an RV camp “slash” boat ramp, at Lakeside Landing, on Logan Martin Lake. (A “reservoir located in east central Alabama on the Coosa River.” I.e., it was formed by a kazillion dams on the Coosa River in the middle of Alabama.) So fortunately I was able to get in two hours of full-speed kayak-paddling, though I did have to baby my right shoulder a bit, and take several breaks. (I’d messed up my right shoulder about a month before, but no “rotator cuff problems…”)
So anyway, I normally paddle out an hour, then take an hour to get back to whatever boat ramp I left from. (Depending on wind, tide and/or current, if I’m kayaking on a river.) This day I was getting near the one-hour turning-around point when I saw another lakeside RV camp, with what I took to be an American flag waving in the wind.
Then I saw that the flag pole was on a little bitty island, about 100 yards offshore. (In what looked to be a cluster of drowned-out trees.) Then I saw that it wasn’t an American flag at all.
It was a “Jolly Roger,” a skull-and-crossbones black flag. (Which I thought was quite odd, coming up on Memorial Day and all.) So I ended up paddling around the island, which turned out to be like the photo at the top of the page. Except, there were no people and no boats tied up to shore. And of course with the Jolly Roger waving in the breeze.
Then I headed back to the boat ramp.
It had been cloudy and overcast all morning, but on the return trip I could see a line of rain falling right near where I needed to go to get back “home.” I managed to skirt the rain for a while, but eventually got pretty well soaked. Then it stopped, I got back to the ramp, then got stuck under a patio-like overhang thing with a (closed) concession stand, just as I was about to load up the kayak. I had to wait there a good 20 minutes, then it slacked off a bit and I loaded up and headed back to the hotel, pretty much “soggy bottomed.”
Anyway, when I got home Wednesday afternoon I Googled “pirate’s island logan martin lake.” And got the pictures the top of the page and below left. Plus a description from a website, Pirate’s Island – Discover St. Clair. Turns out it’s a “75 ft.X 50 ft. excluding beach & sandbar” island that the wife of some guy named Regan bought for him years ago:
On the 75 x 50-foot island itself, its palm trees leaning out over the water, the Regans’ family and friends gather around a fire pit, relaxing in chairs of all shapes and sizes.
There was also this note:
All are welcome on Pirate’s Island. It’s a tradition that evolved when a boat load of 10 year olds asked if they needed help on the island. They helped clean it, and their pay came in hotdogs.
I wish I’d known that. (The “all are welcome” part.) I could have stopped and stretched my legs…
Note that neither of these pictures show the black flag waving in the wind that first caught my attention. And on a totally unrelated note: This morning – the morning after I got back home – I got a little more into my reading of Liberty’s First Crisis: Adams, Jefferson, and the Misfits Who Saved Free Speech. It told the story of the first real test of the First Amendment:
Suddenly, the First Amendment, which protected harsh commentary of the weak government, no longer seemed as practical. So that July … the Federalists in control of Congress passed an extreme piece of legislation that made criticism of the government and its leaders a crime punishable by heavy fines and jail time … and the country’s future hung in the balance.
That “extreme piece of legislation” was the Alien and Sedition Act. Which led John Adams – one of the nation’s Founding Fathers – to write this: “Mankind will in time discover that unbridled majorities are as tyrannical and cruel as unlimited despots.”
Not that there’s any connection to current events or anything….
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Re: “Lake Purdy.” See Lake Purdy – Let’s Go Fishing – Official Site:
No private boats are allowed on Lake Purdy. (Including NO Kayaks) 2. Participants can use their own trolling motors or outboards up to 10 horsepower. 3. All boats must have regulation running lights which can be purchased at the Lake Purdy store. 4. Boats must fish at least 100 feet away from another boat.
So once again I say, “Jerks!”
Re: “Soggy bottomed.” See O Brother, Where Art Thou? – Wikipedia. “The Soggy Bottom Boys is the musical group that the main characters form to serve as accompaniment for the film. The name is in homage to the Foggy Mountain Boys, a bluegrass band led by Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs…”
Re: The quote from The Misfits Who Saved Free Speech is on page 20 of the 2015 Atlantic Monthly Press edition. A review added this: “Americans refused to let their freedoms be so easily dismissed: they penned fiery editorials, signed petitions, and raised ‘liberty poles…’”
The lower image is courtesy of John Adams – Wikipedia. The full caption: “Trumbull’s ‘Declaration of Independence‘ – committee presents draft to Congress. Adams stands at center with his hand on his hip.” Another side note: “Adams had privately criticized Thomas Paine‘s 1776 pamphlet Common Sense, saying that the author had ‘a better hand at pulling down than building.'”
So again, “Not that there’s any connection to current events or anything…“