By Sam Burnham
In the previous post I mentioned an upcoming announcement. The cat is out of the bag on our social media sites but this is the official announcement on the blog.
I will be participating in this year's Coosa River Basin Initiative Catfish Kissing Contest. The contest is a fundraiser for CRBI, an advocacy group that is dedicated to the Coosa River Basin, which they tout as the most biologically diverse basin in North America.
I'm definitely a supporter and admirer of wildlife and the unconquered spaces in our state but these rivers mean more to me than just that. And I think my perspective may be a bit different than many. I want to add the historic perspective into the conversation. These rivers are more than just waterways. They are the highways of our history. These were the transportation system of the Native American people groups who inhabited this area 100 years ago. These rivers carried the steamboats that shipped cotton and other goods to Mobile to be placed on ships headed to England or France. These are the rivers that our grandparents and great-grandparents fished and swam in. These are the rivers that armies crossed and recrossed in the desperate attempt to save or capture Atlanta, depending on which color their wool coat was.
For over ten centuries these rivers have been life, transportation, jobs, livelihoods, and recreation for people living in this area. They have flooded our cities and taken the lives of our loved ones, causing for a contentious relationship at times but life would not be possible in this area without them. They have been abused by us over the years as well. But as we have learned more about them we have found ways to coexist and that is what we must continue to do.
And so I throw my hat in this ring. The historian who knows that our future in inextricably tied to our past and our ability to learn from it is asking for your help. If that isn't enough to earn your donation, consider that the top donation recipient will stand in front of an audience and pucker up and kiss a squirmy, slick, whiskery old catfish!
So, if you want to contribute to make that happen, go to the contest page and find my goofy face with the predictable cannon and go to the donate button below it. (Sorry, Confederate & Mississippian Native American currencies cannot be accepted at this time). Then if you want to witness this Catfish Kissin in person, buy your tickets on this site and join us on November 12th at Rome's First United Methodist Church in historic downtown and enjoy some fried fish and cheese grits for a good cause! See you there!
Historian, self-proclaimed gentleman, agrarian-at-heart, & curator extraordinaire