Last swim

I live by the Rum River and don’t have air conditioning, so when it gets hot, I usually walk down to the river for a dip. It’s about a 10-minute stroll over the fields and through the woods.

Normally by September 23, it’s too cold to swim, but yesterday was an exception. I was up on the roof washing the dormer windows and got so hot I rode my bike to the river. Lucy the black lab came along.

The water has come up a bit from recent rains, and it was relatively cold, but not too bad, considering the time of year. I once learned that one of the old Ojibwe names for the Rum, Iskode Waboo, means “warm water.” The same word can also mean “fire water” or alcohol, so that might be one reason it was called “Rum River.” The Dakota name was Wahkon, which means Spirit, which can also be translated as alcohol. Then there was the woman who wrote in to the Princeton paper and said her father had named it Rum River because it reminded him of Rum. I don’t believe that story, because the maps have it named Rum River long before that woman’s dad would’ve been alive.

Anyway, it might have been called “Warm River” by the Ojibwe because it’s mostly fed by runoff and not cold-water springs, and since it’s pretty shallow, it warms up fast on hot days.

We also took a drive to see a friend near Cambridge on the weekend, then felt like heading over the Taylor’s Falls to see the fall colors and walk around on the cliffs. The kids found some rocks to climb, and we got ice cream cones that were too big. What ever happened to a single scoop? I asked for a small, and it was about the size of a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. No wonder we’re all so fat.

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