She wants to close Drip Rock road? I get it

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 30, 2011

When I was 4 or so, my grandmother taught me how to swim in the waters of the Yellow River at Drip Rock.

First, it was the dog paddle.

“Cup your hands like this,” she’d say, her hands comfortingly holding me against the strength of the water. “Scoop the water. Push it underneath you.”

Anyone from the South knows how hard it is swim in a river. To the current, you’re no different than a leaf floating on top of the water, drifting downward in the stream.

Fast forward a year or two and by then, I’d managed to graduate to a breaststroke. It was nothing for me to cut through the waters like a knife. It wasn’t long before I’d gathered my courage and was jumping from the top of “Drip Rock” just like everyone else.

Through my teen years, I’d harbored a secret desire to be an archeologist. In the river banks were treasures – fossilized sea shells encrusted in the rich clay and what appeared to be dinosaur bones entombed in the hardened limestone – just waiting to be discovered.

As a family, we’d picnicked, had cookouts and swum to our hearts content for years.

As an adult, I made the decision to begin raising my children on the same hill where I grew up, which is less than two miles from the swimming hole.

It wasn’t long before I returned to it with my children, hoping to make some of the same memories with them that my family did with me.

It didn’t happen.

We’d taken the 4-wheelers on a ride and decided to ride down to the river to “get our feet wet.”

Over the years, the whole landscape of the property had changed. The roads were in horrible shape after flooding. Mud trucks had made the roads nearly impassable. There was trash everywhere.

When we arrived, we drove up on a gaggle of small-bodied pick-up trucks, belonging to young people. You could tell because of the huge mud tires, “Fear This” stickers and coolers.

Hootin’ and hollerin’ could be heard from the water area.
As we walked down the trail from the parking area to the water’s edge, the first thing I noticed was that the sandy beach had all but disappeared. Remnants of abandoned campfires were dotted along what bank that was left.

The second thing I noticed were the two young women doing unmentionable things in the water while a group of 10 or so folks watched.

It was like a pay-per-view event, where I guess the cost of admission was a beer.
I gathered my children up quick as you please, and we haven’t been back.

And Monday, as one of the property’s four landowners made a formal request before the Covington County Commission to have the road leading to the property closed, I completely understood her position.

I wouldn’t want that nastiness happening on my back 40 after I’d been nice enough to let people use my private property.

People should have more respect for themselves and for nature – not to mention my eyes, because that was just yuck.