They say the two best days of boat ownership are the day you buy and the day you sell. We wouldn’t know. “Sell” is a four letter word to my husband (unless it was back in the day when he’d sell you a great pair of shoes and the bag to match)! But suddenly we find ourselves with no one to play with here on the Gulf side of life. All of our boat pals have sold. There was Down the Drain and Plan B, Island Lady and Mirage, Slow Motion and Reel Love. They all have new owners, all have new playmates. Only the Rum and Reggae still remains, under renovation and repair, we hope she can come out to play soon!

We have been home in Mississippi for a couple of weeks now. I have been going through a lot of photos and as I do I realized just how many hours, even days, we have spent on the water for our social life. There was a group of us that met every year up at Buzzard Lake up the West Pascagoula River. There isn’t really a lake there, just a curve in the river, but Buzzard Bend Rendezvous didn’t sound as classy as Buzzard Lake Rendezvous. Sometimes in the springtime, sometimes in the fall, we’d tandem up the river where it forks off to the east at Hickory Hill country club. Buzzard Lake as we called it is actually  Buzzard Bayou on the official map of the Pascagoula River.  A few miles up and past Martins Bluff and around Macon Bend but not as far up river as Poticaw.

The first boat to arrive would tie off to the big tree on the bend, everyone else rafted up along side. Then the fun would begin. There was swimming and kayaking, fishing and eating, oh yes there was plenty of eating! ….and grilling and eating some more. We would delegate meals so we had plenty of variety but it seemed no one wanted to get upstaged with their offerings so we pulled out all the stops. Marinated crab claws, shrimp and grits, jambalaya, deer burgers and sausage, and sides to die for were always plentiful. Did I mention there were also a few cocktails enjoyed? Yes, regardless of the time of day, there were cocktails. Mimosas and Bloodies began the day. Then the beers were cold and plentiful all day long. Inevitably someone produced a fancy sundowner and then there was the late night sipping of good spirits.

Games came out after dark. Poker or Jenga, Greedy or Man and Mouse. But the best night was when we pulled out Battle of the Sexes! The ladies thought they had the game in the bag. Several guys had nodded off or gone to their berths when we had a question for the men about the fabrication of ladies dyeable pumps, (a trend of the day), only to have my sleeping shoe man holler up from his v berth “peau de soie”! We lost the game.

Nothing stopped us from having this rendezvous. One year we were having Pelican painted so our slider doors were off. Plan B had some repair going on and had plywood everywhere. Kids got married. Hurricanes blew through. We rafted off. We braved sub-freezing weather and beastly, buggy hot spells but we gathered and we rafted and we had the time of our lives, and I miss it. Some would come early and stay all weekend, some dropped in for the day or an hour. Our best laughs came when a small local fishing skiff would round the bend of the river and pull back on his throttle and gawk wide-eyed at this huge raft of vessels in his river! It really was a sight to see.

It makes me think as we do this journey of ours to the east coast and back. We meet loopers everywhere. They are turning left at Mobile as they come down the Tenn-Tom. When we get back to the Gulf Coast with Pelican I’d like to help redirect some of those folks to come explore our amazing river system. A little side trip could show them some amazing history, birds, cypress knees, bayous and bends. If you don’t believe me call Kathy at Eco tours of South Mississippi. She might just show you Buzzard Lake. She knows it. She was there.


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