By Don Barone
"Buckets of rain…"
Come on, I want to show you some stuff not many will get to see.
I know you've read about it, the B.A.S.S. Central Open, postponed, the FLW event the following week, canceled.
Water levels at historic highs 900-something feet.
Just words to folks not from around here.
But for you, you, I want to get wet.
Behind the scenes,
"…buckets of tears…"
First I want you to know that when I booked my reservation at the Table Rock State Park campground I did not pay for or choose a waterfront site, I made the reservation back in January so it wasn't like I was watching the weather.
I was just being cheap.
So I picked campground #2, site #222. I figure if I was a numbers playing guy, that would sound pretty lucky to me.
When I came here and parked on Sunday, Easter, only THREE DAYS AGO, there was another camping area behind me. I know it was there. I saw it.
It is still there, but now under about THREE FEET of water, and still rising.
I have a waterfront site after all.
Today I went with Elite Pro James Niggemeyer and his wife Sandy and their two young children, Abigail and Daniel on a short drive to downtown Branson, Missouri.
We did some Flea Mart shopping. I picked up a very cool Rolling Stone Magazine, July 14-28, 1994, the one with Julia Roberts on the cover, but I bought it because it has a story in it by Dr. Hu
nter S. Thompson, and I knew him from back in his/my ESPN days.
Paid $1.25 for the mag. I’ll put it in a safe place and cherish it as I cherished HST.
If you walk out of the flea market door, as we did, and turn right, as we also did, and you walk to the end of where walkin's possible you will find yourself in a pretty cool shopping/strolling/looking area called Branson Landing.
Built on the river, it has lots of shops, fancy ones, and not so fancy. One end is anchored by the Bass Pro Shop. The other end, I'm sure, also has an anchor, but I never walked up there to see what was holding that part down. Not going to lie to you. Google it.
A lot of money went into this joint.
A lot of jobs, too.
But what blew up the two tournaments upstream on Table Rock Lake is also being felt downstream here.
Being felt downstream by working Joes.
Working stiffs, blue collar grunts like most of us.
Busting butt on Main Street, hoping to make it to Easy Street.
I took these photos, wrote this stuff to take you to places we in the media sometimes forget to go.
We tend to just write about the people we cover, and forget about the people who cover us. Forget about those schlepping to us our food, our liquor, hawking to us our clothes, our tourist trinkets that we all bring home.
Buckets of Rain.
Buckets of Tears.
Not only from the anglers who can't get on the lake, make the cut, make a buck.
But also for all the folks downstream of the SHOW who also didn't make the cut, won't be pulling in the bucks.
I have no ties to the city of Branson, Missouri. Never even knew it was here until I drove in and parked. Would like to come back someday when it dries out, and look around.
I have never talked to anyone in any power in the city, have no connection at all to the place. Wouldn't write what they wanted me to write if they told me to. No dog in this fight.
I'm the son of a working stiff.
Raised by blue-collar parents, a salesman at Sears, a part time cafeteria lady at a Middle School. I saw the battered lunch bucket on the kitchen counter every day, picked up my Father's shoes, the same shoes, from the shoe repair guy at the end of the street, picked them up for years.
I'm the grunt behind the “closed” sign, know the feeling of when times are slow.
But the story is on both ends of this river. Upstream on the stage that was closed when the rains came, downstream behind the closed shop and restaurant doors.
Buckets of Rain.
Buckets of Tears.
Throughout Branson, Missouri.
Pray for the anglers who've been sent away.
But also, pray for all those folks left behind.
If you support fishing, support all those who have our back. Those who we never write about, those who we never thank.
Those who will hurt long after we are gone.
Now is the time that we must, have their backs.
Thank you Branson, Missouri! We'll be back.
As will you.
"…got all them buckets coming out of my ears."
Buckets of Rain