Orange Gearle

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Saturday, April 07, 2007

the wapsi

The Wapsipinicon River has been a part of my life forever. Growing up I remember a family friend, Rick, telling me that the Wapsipinicon River got it's name from the "Indians". The story was...Native Americans were canoing down the river and one dropped a penny in the river...and said..."Whoopsi, penny gone." I was just young enough to believe that story....never mind there were no pennies back then!

As a kid the whole family would go out to this same family friends' house (Rick, Marlys, Aaron and Stacie) and we would shovel the snow off the river and ice skate. I don't really know if I actually remember that, or if it was just a memory from pictures.

Pinicon Ridge Park, located on the Wapsi was a particular favorite. I used to ride my moped out there when I was a teen to "get away." I spent hours at "Horseshoe Falls" (which is really just a creek that is sometime a trickle and sometimes dried up). I dreamed of walking down the big hill that lead to Horseshoe Falls on my wedding day, to be married on the bridge. In the fall, of course, with a blanket of leaves for an aisle. I made whistles with the snake grass that grew around the creek that lead into the Wapsi.

Also at the park we would go to the "beach". To this day we still have family reunions there at times....and always go on the paddle boats. There are deer and elk in the park....always wanting fed by those passing by. Hollyanne caught her first fish at Pinicon Ridge the Waspi.

We hunted mushrooms close to the Wapsi as well....but I cannot tell you's a secret, you know.

When I was a teen I worked at a ice cream/eatery called "The Wapsi Drive In". It wasn't a drive in when I worked there....and now it's a HOUSE! It was located just off the Wapsipinicon River. I always smelled like french fries when I got home...but I got a free ice cream cone every day that I worked...and all the soda a girl could ever want.

When I was six years old, I went to camp Wapsi for a day camp. I only remember one day at camp. That day I played along the Wapsipinicon River the whole day. I was picked up by my Aunt Maggie, jeans soaked to the knees, and when she brought me home I was told that my sister died in a car crash. I was sitting on my bed, with a parent on either side.

Growing up our family would also canoe a lot on the Wapsi. We would put our canoe in somewhere downriver from the damn...sometimes at Rick's house. And then we would canoe to Waubeek, IA. All that is in Waubeek is a tavern. Not a bar...a tavern...called F B & Co. Somehow Dad's truck was always waiting for us there when we finished.

Tonight I went to FB & Co for open mic night.

I stopped in my hometown to pick up my mom. As we drove toward Waubeek we passed the spot that I totaled the car summer of 1987...and broke my nose. We crossed the Wapsi at Steckel's Bridge....a location that I remember well from a time I went canoing in HS...and night came too the time we got to that bridge, I was SCARED TO DEATH. :-)

FB & Co, was just how I remembered it from all those years ago -- definitely a place to "hover" when going to the bathroom. :-) The smokiest, diviest bar in the world, probably. Rick was already there. Aaron (a great friend - like a brother to me, and also happens to be Rick's son) was there, too. Other than that, I recognized no one. But shortly after we arrived, my brother and his wife walked in the door.

As we walked in there was a guy playing some sort of a keyboard wrapped around his neck with a guitar strap or something. He was playing...While My Guitar Gently Weeps.....on the keyboard....and not well. There were both solo acts and bands of various ability levels. Aaron played with others, as well as on his own. There was a young man there, a senior in HS that played the mandolin. He was quite good. There was a "reunion" of sorts of a band called the Waubeek Trackers. I remember them from many, many, many years ago. Steve Maurice is still hot and he's gotta be in his sixties. I remember being MADLY in love with his nephew when I was in Jr. High and High School. He was the first long-haired musician that I couldn't seem to keep my mind off of!! They were probably on of the best groups there.

I wish I would've taken pictures. Next month I will take pictures, and maybe even play on stage...we'll see.

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Blogger The Sporting Life Society said...

Do you remember when some guy made a raft and paddled it over the damn? Legen was he made it a few times, and then didn't come back up...The Wapsi Drive In had good burgers, and tater-tots!

6:02 PM  
Blogger The Sporting Life Society said...

Yes, Mike was the coolest Dude in school. I saw the Waubeek Trackers with the Maurice's after canoeing down the Wapsi. I think I was 10 or 11.

10:25 PM  
Blogger orange gearle said... do we know each other??

10:34 PM  
Blogger The Sporting Life Society said...

Yes we do...did...

10:47 PM  
Blogger orange gearle said...

Ok...I'm creeped out now. :-) Who are you?

10:50 PM  
Blogger The Sporting Life Society said...

i'll give you a hint...

10:55 PM  
Blogger orange gearle said...

OMG! That's a pretty frickin' good hint!! How are you????? Do you instant message???? Blog? How's life???? (not saying your name here...but I know it) :-)

11:10 PM  
Blogger The Sporting Life Society said..., msn, aol?

11:11 PM  
Blogger orange gearle said...

You are one of the only people from HS that I would want to talk to. LOL I bet you figure out my "handle"...if you want to send me yours, I won't publish that with the comments. :-) I'm on yahoo and aol...well, and msn too...

11:16 PM  

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