Desoto Lake is an oxbow lake, once the track of the Mississippi River proper. Local lore held old Hernando Desoto himself had discovered the Mighty Mississippi right there back in 1541. One local coot claimed to have found a Conquistador-era sword out in the sticks someplace, only to have dropped it in the lake while cutting trot lines. I struggle to believe that, however.

In short order, we were tearing down the lake dragging a wake board. This thing was a piece of laminated plywood with a curve at the front like a snow sled affixed to the boat via a long length of ski rope. It had a handle onto which the rider might cling. Wee Jack was first in the chute.

Jack was a typical Southern 12-year-old boy of the era. Obesity was not the widespread scourge then that it is today, and folks treated ADHD with exercise. As such, Jack might have tipped the scales at 75 pounds were his pockets filled with sand. Once he was set up on the board, I gunned the boat and launched into a series of aggressive S-turns.

This maneuver created an ample wake behind the big vessel. Swinging back and forth dragged the board across said wake with great vigor, propelling Jack’s scrawny frame to ever-more-impressive altitudes. This precipitated endless delight for all involved — all, except, perhaps Jack.