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Oddbins—July 7, 2008

Independence Day and the whole weekend passed quietly in my neighborhood. Comal County is under a burn ban at present, so not only were no fires allowed, the sale and use of fireworks was prohibited. I never heard so much as one fire-cracker. Not complaining mind you—I am surrounded by dangerously dry mountain cedar. There was a bit of rain over the weekend. Not enough to cancel the burn ban, but enough to let the volunteer firemen breathe a bit easier.

But Canyon Lake and the Guadalupe River were packed with water visitors. Tubing (or Toobing, as some spell it) is big business in the Guadalupe. Young people rent giant inner-tubes, then slowly drift in the cool dapple-shaded waters to some point downstream where a bus picks them up and brings them back to the starting point. If you squinted your eyes, the river seemed to be filled with bright swirling confetti.

There is more I wanted to mention about Meriwether Lewis, William Clark and the Corps of Discovery. In a land teeming with every kind of fish and game bird, plus deer, bison, elk, et cetera, the men nearly starved. The meat was extremely lean, “carbohydrates” were rare, and bears—the greatest source of fat—did not take kindly to being shot. Because the horrible reality was, if you were close enough to kill a bear—the bear was close enough kill you. No wonder the Native Americans esteemed the bear so highly: it was the most life-sustaining of all creatures, and the most dangerous.

I know there are diets that call for high protein, low fat, and low carbohydrates, but none are named the Lewis and Clark Diet. Perhaps they should be!

To connect the two divergent tidbits above (because I do have a point) —the river tubers, and the Corps of Discovery: On Friday as husband and I drove over the bridge nearest to us that crosses the Guadalupe, and seeing the massed tubers floating down the river, I was reminded of something else from the journals of Lewis and Clark. When they got to the the Columbia River, it was choked from bank to bank, as far upstream and down stream as the eye could see, with salmon. What a sight that must have been.

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