BILL SAMPSON: Summertime

Well, I was out early the other day, having my third cup of coffee and thinking about the fact that summertime is really here. The wind was still, it picks up later in the morning, the sky was clear. It is warm, some would call it hot, and really humid. This got me to thinking about a summertime years ago that was very similar in nature to what we are experiencing today.I believe that it was the summer of ‘95 and I was set to take a trip of a lifetime with the husband of one of my cousins. We were to leave from Little Rock, Ark., on the Arkansas River in a 30-foot sailboat. We would travel down the River to the Mississippi River and then hang a right and go down the Mississippi to New Orleans, La., and beyond.It was hot and humid but that really did not matter because we were on water and there was usually a nice breeze to help keep us cool. One of the times that the breeze was not a factor was when we were going through the locks on the Arkansas River. I likened that experience to being in a huge bathtub with the drain plug pulled out.Of course our boat did not have air conditioning but we had small fans in the cabin that we used when we slept at night. The boat could technically sleep six but we had our supplies stuffed in every nook and cranny on the boat for our trip which took us about 30 days. We planned to take that long because we wanted to see the sights along the way.My cousin really had the trip planned in great detail. In some ways there was a bit of over planning but for the most part, the planning was right on the money. The sailboat we traveled on, as I have said, was a 30-foot boat. It had a 14-horse Kabota inboard diesel engine. This was our chief means of transportation down the river. I’ll explain that part a little more in subsequent articles.The interesting part was the fact was that it was summertime. It was the best time of the year for the trip. We started on Sept. 10 of that year and had our boat taken out of the water in New Orleans on Oct. 10.When you dress for the hot weather and anticipate that you are going to experience hot, humid conditions, then it really is not too bad. I hope that your summertime activities are memorable ones and that you can enjoy those activities in a fun, safe manner. ‘Til next time. God bless.Bill Sampson, a retired financial consultant, lives in the Cameron area. E-mail him at