“Ol’ man river
That ol’ man river
He don’t say nothing
But he must know something
Cause he just keeps rolling along…”
Obviously, these opening phrases are from the well known 1927 song “Old Man River” that is embedded in the musical “Show Boat.” The song goes on to tell the contrast between the struggles of African Americans of that time and the relentless flowing of the Mississippi River that just keeps flowing along no matter what’s happening.
I was reminded of that song during a recent visit to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. As we stood at the falls in the city park and watched a very angry and energetic Big Sioux River rush through the falls area, we were sprayed with droplets of the river as it crashed against the rocks. We had to speak loudly to hear each other over the roaring of the river. The river was in a hurry and its rushing was awesome to watch.
The signs around the area reminded us to be careful and not get too close to the gushing water and that got me to thinking how we rush through life and, at times, aren’t careful of who or what we hurt in our rushing. Why are we so intent on rushing along? What’s so darn important to make us rush along life’s pathway?
We each have our own answer to those questions and we’ll justify our rushing, i.e., we need to rush to take care of the family’s needs, we procrastinated and now need to rush to the next appointment or whatever our reasoning would be to justify our rushing.
Here’s one thing I’ve learned so far in life. Hey, at least I’ve learned one thing!
We are the cause of our rushing — nobody or nothing else. We cause our rushing through life and, if we wish to, we can slow ourselves down a bit so we don’t splash others around us with our life’s rushing.
An example of that was our dining at Minerva’s in downtown Sioux Falls. The restaurant is very pleasantly appointed with a professional and engaging wait staff. The atmosphere was quiet and relaxing. We had rushed to have dinner there and I brought my stiff attitude into the space — it soon changed.
The barkeeper came to our table and we chatted. I asked for a Riesling and settled on a Willamette Valley Vineyards Riesling that was just perfect. It was semi-sweet with luscious peach and pineapple flavors that ended with a refreshing crispness. It settled me down and the rushing went away.
That night as settled into the Clubhouse Hotel — which I fully recommend — there began some pondering about how the day went from rushing to arrive at a place of slowing down and enjoying so many sites and places. I thought about:
First, our visit to Woodgrain Brewery that allowed me to taste their Milk Stout. I loved the softness of the brew and the delicious chocolate and brown sugar tastes. Of course, sitting next to the brew room is always enjoyable to me — it’s nice to watch magic happen.
As part of our celebration (for someone’s birthday), I had brought along a bottle of Bogle’s Rosé and we enjoyed the wine’s light pink color and its gentle strawberry taste. A perfect lazy ending to the day.
My thinking took me to another wine that allows me to slow down — a Côtes Du Rhône from Réserve de Bonpas. As it slowly slips down my throat, I fully enjoy its light black fruit taste with just a hint of spice and then there’s the sleepy soft tannin that is so enjoyable.
From the French region just noted, I got to thinking about a Minnesota wine from Falconer Vineyards near Red Wing. Falconer produces an excellent Marquette based wine called North Star Red.
I thoroughly enjoy the dry tartness of the wine. At the same time the tartness gets your attention, the dryness relaxes you. An excellent Minnesota wine.
It’s not meant that one must have a drink of an alcoholic beverage to slow down from the rushing of our lives. On the contrary, you can slow down by simple doing some meditating, reading a book, taking a walk, painting a picture, having coffee with a friend or whatever floats your slowly moving canoe of life.
As the song reminds us, ol’ man river will always be rushing along. It’s up to us to see the beauty in the lyrics and learn to slow down and enjoy those around us ‚ no matter where that journey takes us.
As always, eat and drink in moderation but laugh with reckless abandon!