Win tickets to see the smash hit musical Mamma Mia at the Roanoke Civic Center. Two winners will each receive four tickets!
Monday, July 1, 2013
My friend Joy and I like to kayak the Roanoke River. It’s convenient and there’s very little paddling.
Riffle-covered rock shelves separate short flat stretches in between. There’s not much water, but we don’t care. And we have the gouges in our boats to prove it.
Paddling between Salem and Roanoke, we’ve seen wildlife — fish, deer and birds — and wild life — humans drinking and swimming in the buff. But the strangest thing we’ve ever seen was the people in the johnboat.
We had just scraped over a shelf and rounded a curve. We were surprised to see such a big boat — the water was too low for it to have floated there, and the surrounding banks were wooded and steep.
Two men and one woman sat in the blazing sun, doing nothing, huddled together in a disconsolate row. They had no fishing equipment, no cooler and no oars. One man called out:
“Y’all got any beer and cigarettes?” We shook our heads and paddled faster, hoping they wouldn’t follow, but the next thing we heard was the unmistakable “clunk” of metal on rock, and a voice drifted downstream. “Sorry about that, man,” it said.
I know Roanoke has a problem with panhandlers, but who expects to find them on the river?
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