Okeefenokee Swamp Tale   Joseph Zorzin
  Mar 28, 2004 03:16 PST 

The Oke? Ah, brings back memories of my near death experience there back
in '74- rented a small metal fishing boat at the state park, the sky was
dark and threatening, I asked the ranger for the weather forecast, he
said, "it should clear"- me and my buddy Dave put the boat into the
Swanee (sp?) River- the river looks like cofee with no cream- and it
appears to have no flow- you can't tell how deep it is- 'gators on the
banks- bald cypress everywhere with Spanish moss- vast numbers of large
birds- egrets, herons, wood storks, ibises- after going several miles,
about as far as you can easily go without getting lost- the storm
started, intense lighting about every 10 seconds, rain blowing sideways
at high speed, I'm in the back trying to steer although my glasses are
now almost impossible to see through- at one point the river narrows and
the channel is almost blocked by cypress knees- it's tough to steer
around the knees- the boat gets caught up on a knee- Dave steps out in
order to push the boat off the knee- it takes us at least an hour (I had
no sense of time) to make it back to the park- but the rain and
lightening didn't let up until we got back to the park- the lightening
was extremely frightening, like being under artillary bombardment- I
told Dave I'd find that ranger and let him know what I thought of his
weather forecast- we were dripping wet- we parked the boat and started
walking across the field to the campground and lo and behold, in the
middle of the field was a clothes drier- believe it or not. Later,
around the campsite, we're cooking dinner- a one eyed racoon came out of
the woods, sat back and raised a hand towards us begging for food. The
way it held out its hand was like a small child.

After that, I more or less settled down to a career in forestry, where I
could have thrilling discussions with "professional foresters" about how
many logs I got off a certain job and we could have fine chats about the
evil tree huggers who are the bane of forestry.

Dave went on to the National Park Service and several dozen more near
death experiences, some of which were with exotic and erotic ranger
ladies- his life was an endless thrill, then one day, while sitting high
up on a ledge watching the sun go down, Satan approached him and said,
"Dave, life can be much better- you should go to law school". And he
did- like the bible says, beware of Satan. <G>