skunk river torrent
spread out over the floodplain
A week after the rainstorm, the Skunk River is still flooding. On the way back from our concert in Mt. Pleasant, we stop by Oakland Mills, where the river runs through the recreation area. The whole park is under water.
Barriers have been set up where the roads on either side of the river are deluged.
The green roof of a gazebo seems to float on the water, the rest submerged. A house built on stilts is marooned amid trees poking up out of the torrent.
The park signs look funny surrounded by water. Absolutely NO PARKING ON GRASS. WARNING! NO ONE ALLOWED IN WATER BEYOND THIS POINT.
An SUV packed with a large family of locals pulls up by the old bridge and two men jump out with fishing poles. The woman comes over to where we're staring at a four-foot carp floating at the edge of the water.
"Did you just get married?" she asks, staring at our John's tux and my long black dress.
"Oh, no, we just sang in a concert at the United Methodist Church in Mt. Pleasant."
She looks so disappointed that we're not newlyweds, so I change the subject. "How bad did it get here?"
"Worst we've ever seen. Water was even higher just a few days ago."
The men are now standing at the edge of the roadway, casting their lines into the water near a pile of dead fish on the pavement.
"Some folks just like to snag the fish but don't eat them," the woman explains. "They're carp, full of bones. You've got to bake them for a long time until the bones dissolve. But our favorite fish is spoonies."
"Spoonies? Never heard of them. What do they look like?"
"Spoonbills. They've got smooth skin like catfish and these funny bills. Best tasting fish I ever ate."
Later I learn that there really are "spoonies." Also called spoonbills or paddle fish or spoonbill catfish, these large fish have a long spatula-shaped snout, and cartilage instead of bones. No wonder they like to eat them, no bones!