Dreaming the Mississippi by Katherine Fischer

By Katherine Fischer


Offering a clean standpoint at the river’s setting, undefined, and sport, Dreaming the Mississippi demanding situations outdated stereotypes throughout the reports of contemporary americans who paintings the barges, rope-swing into muddy bottoms, fight opposed to typhoon floodwaters, and in a different way locate new that means in this nice watery hall. In a fascinating voice, earnest and vigorous, Katherine Fischer describes how the river’s traditional and human histories overlap and interweave as she tells of her personal slow immersion in its life—which led her to shop for a home so with reference to its banks that every spring she needs to open her basement doorways to just accept its inevitable floods.
            Fischer blends tales of individuals dwelling alongside the river with bills of nationwide and international outcome. She weaves funny debts of river rats and towboat pilots with tales of sandbagging opposed to a flood tide that refuses to be contained. She tells of river hangouts—“joints” that actually sign up for segments of humanity alongside the river—as she revels within the colourful consumers of her favourite waterfront taverns. a few chapters attach the wildness of this legendary river to open air areas resembling the good Salt Lake and Florida, taking the entice of the strong Mississippi so far as Japan. one other bankruptcy, in regards to the river’s mouth, “Gulf,” considers the gulf among engineers and naturalists—and among America’s haves and have-nots—as it deals heartfelt reflections on Katrina’s wrath.
            via compelling phrases and images, Dreaming the Mississippi invitations readers to flavor lifestyles on today’s Mississippi, as candy, tangy, and wildly cantankerous because it will get. In conveying her realizing of latest existence alongside the river’s size, Katherine Fischer has a lot to coach us not just approximately reverence for this wonderful American waterway but additionally approximately our everlasting connections to the normal world.

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Dreaming the Mississippi

 Offering a clean point of view at the river’s atmosphere, undefined, and game, Dreaming the Mississippi demanding situations outdated stereotypes during the reviews of recent americans who paintings the barges, rope-swing into muddy bottoms, fight opposed to typhoon floodwaters, and in a different way locate new that means in this nice watery hall.

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I check the calendar on the wall above the bar at the Dive In. Still not April. I linger with my compatriots, hoping to soak up enough of these river people before having to return up the bluffs. “There’s a fella up near Prairie Du Chien who’ll raise a house up as much as five feet. Heard he’s real reasonable,” Jack offers to comfort Wanda who is still recuperating from last spring’s flood. In addition to making payments on a new furnace, she faces replacing nearly the entire first floor. “Don’t know Fischer bk p i-xiv 1-208 20 8/3/06 10:45 AM Page 20 Dreaming the Mississippi that I can afford it even if it is reasonable,” Wanda manages to smile at him.

As much as I try not to be a snob, there are class and education level differences too great not to trip over at every turn. In time, I’ve had to face my own middle-class manners, how they border on the duplicitous at times and can’t hold a candle to the deep and caring loyalty people have for one another at river joints. If your boat gets loose, let the people at the Gill know, and they’ll abandon their Millers to grab lines and hop in the flatboat to rescue your runabout. If you’ve lost your dog, call over to Doug and Carol’s, and they’ll ask every patron who enters through the door if they’ve seen the beagle.

I spoke slowly, Fischer bk p i-xiv 1-208 8/3/06 10:45 AM Page 19 Fever 19 rhythmically, attempting to calibrate his pattern of breathing. ” But those breaths of labor and delivery—unlike my father’s—were waiting for, not waiting out. As painful as that waiting out is, however, it prepares us, softens the blow somehow. When my sister-in-law’s plane pierced the Pentagon that September morning, we were not granted the benefit of waiting out. One day, as a biotech researcher, Dora Menchaca was at a Washington Senate hearing testifying on behalf of drugs to cure prostate cancer, and the next day she was dead.

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