The tow boat would push the barges out the pass to the river, with barely enough to float the barges through, and across the silt flats to the pass. That last trip did it. The final barge going out disturbed the silt bed and the next 3 days the river was falling 3’ a day. This blew the silt plug and the lake dropped 5’ over night. Left me wondering how my dock was still stuck in the Mississippi mud.
Something had to be done. All the trees were out of the water nothing to fish around. Couldn’t launch a boat. From the end of the concrete ramp to the water edge was 70 yards. No business, hard times, woe is me.
The following year, by the end of June, river was -10 on the river gauge and didn’t get above zero till December. What to do? Well Tait Tate’s friend and think tank apprentice Millard Tripp was the owner of Dirty Buzzard Construction Company, so my wife called him.
He came by and surveyed the problem, “Well Tait Tate how are we going to work this hiring me, with my monster brain, or without my monster brain?” With brain 100.00 per hour more. I decided to go with brain option. Well Millard brought William and his dragline from his gravel pit at Askew. Parked it at the top of the hill and sent me after green oak 3″ by 6″ heavies from Faust Saw Mill at west Helena, AR. Mr. Faust, a man 7’1” and size 17 shoe, and a man of few words, loved by all women, owned the steam powered band saw mill, and he ran the saw. He looked at me and said, “Boy what’u gonna do with all this green oak?”
“Build a matt” I said.
Well he said “Get 50 lbs of 50 penny nails and 3 bars of Ivory soap”. Said “can’t nail green oak with out soap. Take a 5 lb. sledge to drive these nails. Put the soap in yo’ shirt pocket before you try to nail in that green oak, stick the point of the nail into the soap then start driving it.”
Moving along pretty good, I forgot to soap the nail and it bent double about 1/2 way in. Mr. Faust was right.
Turned out a 28’ matt, 16’ wide weighted about 5000 lbs. Millard dug a pass to the channel set the Matt and we were inbusiness, one more time.