The River Heals


December 23, 2017

Joe Writes . . . 

Happy Holidays to all who care about rivers, woods and water in Michigan and all over this land. Be vigilant; these are perilous times.

I was recently gobsmacked by the realization that I have lived longer than my father did. Ralph H Neely, Jr., lived for 62 years and 8 months. He died in 1988, a few days after Thanksgiving. I’m at 62 years, 11 months, and counting. Fully mindful that no one knows when their hour will come (Ecclesiastes 9:12), this voyage along the length of the Grand is one element of my attempt to embrace a lifestyle aimed at securing some degree of joyful longevity, something my father did not have.

The number one longevity-enhancing step I took was to quit drinking alcohol. I was never a moderate drinker, and for the better part of my 50’s I drank myself into isolated places where nothing could touch me, at least until the next morning. The next remorseful, hung-over morning. It’s damn near certain that I would not have followed through on this journey down the river were I still drinking. I just didn’t have the energy back then. (I have written previously about alcohol being a factor in my decision to begin this journey.)

How our father would have loved following our journey down the Grand! Come  to think of it, perhaps he is. I wish he could come with us for a day; three big guys in a canoe might present a problem but we’d find a way to make it work. Dad wasn’t really the outdoorsy type but neither were my brother nor I before we began this quest.

To everything there is a season. A time to retreat from the world, and a time to run its rivers. That’s from Ecclesiastes, too, although unchurched baby boomers are more likely to credit the Byrds. With this voyage I have found a new challenge and am having a great deal of fun. My life’s clock runs backwards.

What makes your rapids run?

# # #

When in doubt, take the river’s side. Industry has plenty of friends.

If you enjoy our blog please follow us here on WordPress, like us on Facebook and recommend us to your friends. Contact us by leaving a comment here or as follows: (Joe Neely, the mercurial one, think John) (Tom Neely, the happy-go-lucky one, think Ringo)


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