Chris Markham: Mississippi Odyssey, excerpt 1

But when I was thirteen I crossed the Mighty Mississippi for the first time. I was on my maiden roadway voyage at the time, sent out west to live with relatives, when the driver of the Greyhound bus in which I was riding pointed out the river below as we crossed at St. Louis. I remember him telling me -- with great enthusiasm -- that "it goes all the way to the ocean, son!" Until then, the only river I had seen was the Passaic, a punny trickle in comparison. I had but a glimpse of the river then; factories lined the banks, and boats and barges plowed through greenish-brown water. I wanted to go down that river, all the way to the ocean and beyond. . .

Two years later, first hitchhiking east in the back of a pickup, I crossed the river again. It was then that I promised myself to sail down the Mississippi and out into the ocean someday.

Copyright 2004 Chris Markham, All rights reserved.

excerpt 2