A Man And A Lake

Early morning at Reelfoot Lake Source:  Randle Flowers
Early morning at Reelfoot Lake Source: Randle Flowers

The Earthquake Lake

I heard the rumblings of Reelfoot at my house. My family lived about 30 miles from the lake. The windows would quiver and it got our attention, but nobody was concerned. We heard the story many times of the 1811-12 quake and how the lake got it's name. Legend has it that a Chickasaw Chief had a son born with a crippled foot. When he learned to walk, his foot had a rolling movement, and the Chief named him, Reelfoot.

My brother Archie, came home from the war in 1949. He wanted to have a career in the Navy. While on duty he was badly injured and was hospitalized for several months. His right leg was broken in multiple places. Some of the bones were too shattered to save and had to be removed, leaving him with a limp. After several attempts to return to active duty, he was unable to perform at peek level. Navy personnel issued a medical discharge. He had a hard time adjusting to what was fated him. That's when he took to the lake.

Cypress Trees and Cypress knees
Cypress Trees and Cypress knees
A favorite place for nesting bluegill, bass, and crappie
A favorite place for nesting bluegill, bass, and crappie
Duck season at Reelfoot
Duck season at Reelfoot | Source

He bought an old truck and a tackle box with compartments. Traded in his navy blues for a red checkered long sleeve shirt, a pair of ankle boots and a camouflage hunting cap. A collection of lures and jitterbugs and plastic worms filled the garage along side reels and bamboo fishing canes. It was on that lake that the healing began. Soon, his pale face turned to a leathery tan and a prideful smile returned when showing off his silvery prize.

He made the decision to buy some property and raise tomatoes. Love of nature and the land made him happy. He married his long time girlfriend. Life returned to normal and fishing took second place. It was good news when he heard his wife was expecting. The prospect of being a father was the most exciting thing that ever happened to him.

Sundown at Reelfoot
Sundown at Reelfoot | Source

Heartbreak

Two weeks before the baby was due, movement stopped. The baby was still born. Two months later, his wife died from complications. He never married again but he had a life long affair with the lake. As he got older his limp was more noticeable and he was a little quieter. But if you got close enough to look under the brim of his sweat dried hat, you would see the eyes of a tempered soul.

Archie was 85 when he passed away, but the sun keeps rising on Reelfoot, a sanctuary offering up silver prizes to men, burying their secrets and healing broken dreams.

More by this Author


Comments 24 comments

Lisa Hays 5 years ago

I think Uncle Archie was my favorite and also- Uncle Parker!


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

Hello Ann, thank you for sharing A Man and a Lake.

The photos are stunning, what a beautiful and peaceful place.

Your brother Archie had so much tragedy in his life, maybe he found some peace here, the last paragraph is so moving...

Voting up and beautiful, best wishes MM


anndavis25 profile image

anndavis25 5 years ago from Clearwater, Fl. Author

Thank you MM. It means so much to me to hear your comments.


Josepher profile image

Josepher 5 years ago from Texas

Great story, it's sad but I like the way it offers a glimmer of hope about the lake. It sounds like Archie went through a lot, it's good to know he got happiness being out there at the lake. Thanks for sharing!


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas

Hello Ann, Colin (epigramman)asked me to drop by. I enjoyed your story of your brother's transition in life. It is a good story and you tell it very clearly. I would have liked to have seen you draw a bit more correlation between your brother and Reelfoot as they both suffered a crippling injury. The tragedy came a bit fast for me and I felt like it rushed in and overshadowed some good details in this story. I am not offering this as criticism but more to point out that you should not let story length affect the quality of the story...write from your heart and include the details. This story is good enough in the beginning to hook the reader on so there is ample opportunity to share more. Just a thought. Thanks. WB


anndavis25 profile image

anndavis25 5 years ago from Clearwater, Fl. Author

Thank you Wayne. I am just a beginner, and I need all the input I can get. Actually, I was afraid if I put too much detail, the reader would get bored. Mabybe not. I will try again. Thanks again


whonunuwho profile image

whonunuwho 5 years ago from United States

I felt the pain of the brother in your hub.


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Your touching hub has been nominated on the Hubnuggets! Do read about the Hubnuggets right this way: http://koffeeklatchgals.hubpages.com/hubnuggets6/h...


Deborah Demander profile image

Deborah Demander 5 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

Congratulations on your hubnugget nomination. Thanks for sharing this beautiful story.

Namaste.


writer20 profile image

writer20 5 years ago from Southern Nevada

Great sad story about your brother. I'm glad he did find some happiness with his wife.up/beautiful


anndavis25 profile image

anndavis25 5 years ago from Clearwater, Fl. Author

Deborah, thank you for your comment. I was quite surprised to be nominated.


anndavis25 profile image

anndavis25 5 years ago from Clearwater, Fl. Author

Hey Writer20. Archie was also a jolly fellow with an even temper, had many friends..I just didn't know how to work that in. I'm learning. Thanks for the comment.


JJ Windrose 5 years ago

Thank you for this beautiful Hub!!! I have voted you Hub up!


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 5 years ago from Western Australia

Voted up...beautiful...I can just close my eyes and see it....


leithflood 5 years ago

WOW........WHAT A GREAT STORY.YOU HAVE A GIFT FROM GOD.


MosLadder profile image

MosLadder 5 years ago from Irvine, CA

Great story! Wayne Brown has a point, maybe a bit rushed; but I think you have the gift of storytelling, keep it coming!


Ghaelach 5 years ago

Morning Ann.

Your brother had more than his share of bad luck (probably not the correct word)but as you say he found his own paradise. These type of pastimes are 100 times better then 6 weeks in Re-hab. My paradise is my caravan and like your brother when the sun shines we drive over. Just me, my wife and nature.

With 85 years your brother had a good few years by the lake where i'm sure he talked with his wife over the water now they are both together looking over the lake.

Take care Ann and have a nice day. Voted Up.

LOL Ghaelach


Reeel foot monster 5 years ago

great hub, on an interesting man and a prestigious lake! well written easy to follow. I've dropped a line in it many times, and the long poles for reaching in amongst the cypress knees provide good crappy and bass and the brim at 2 pounds are excellent.

Thank you for the thought stirring.


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

Hi anndavis25 ... congratulations of the HubNugget nomination and welcome to HP!

I think you pitched this hub just right ... you have written about what you know, you have written simply and without any 'purple passages' as my English teacher used to call them (too much flowery language is what he meant) so don't worry. Just keep on ...

You've got an author score of 90 in just 7 weeks so you must be doing something right.

As to Archie's story ... it brought a lump to my throat. You have to admire the way people like Archie manage to heal themselves so well after the tragedies they endure ...


anndavis25 profile image

anndavis25 5 years ago from Clearwater, Fl. Author

Angie, I appreciate a literary comment. Yes, I will watch that color purple! I'm a simple girl indeed.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago

Hello Ann, I enjoyed reading about your brother and his Reelfoot Lake.

It must be a beautiful lake.

Voted up, UABI and shared.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

Surprise, AnnDavis!

Loved this hub a lot. Voted up and all the way.

You and I used to correspond via comment boxes back in the day. I just viewed your photo, and said to myself, "Self," lol, I am going to check in with her to see if she even remembers me.

I hope you are okay and happy.

I just jumped back into Hubbing about a month or so back. My health is not better and never will be with this Fibromyalgia, Neurothopy, and now, Thrombosclorsis, an incurable disease of the vascular system.

Oh well. They quit making parts for this old chassis years ago.

Keep up the great work and let me hear from you.

Your Friend, Kenneth


anndavis25 profile image

anndavis25 16 months ago from Clearwater, Fl. Author

Kenneth, lol lol lol lol. It took me months to check in. So dang busy! But smiling from ear to ear, to see your post. I have thought of you many many times, and always enjoyed your writing. And still concerned about your Fibro/Neuro/Throm. Hope you are doing well. Stay happy!


anndavis25 profile image

anndavis25 16 months ago from Clearwater, Fl. Author

Kenneth, lol lol lol lol. It took me months to check in. So dang busy! But smiling from ear to ear, to see your post. I have thought of you many many times, and always enjoyed your writing. And still concerned about your Fibro/Neuro/Throm. Hope you are doing well. Stay happy!

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working