Rock River Culture

In Episode 15 of Dan Libman’s newest story, “Charon’s Kayak”, we get a glimpse into the city of Oregon, Illinois; population 3545.

Things are looking up in Oregon, Illinois.

My family and I have been to Oregon many times because Lowden State Park is there.

It’s a lovely park with tall pines, scenic views, decent trails, and the famous Lorado Taft “Blackhawk” statue which, even under construction, is still impressive and mystifying.

The White Pelican is the inspiration for the Rock River Rafters.

Yesterday, however, we went to Oregon for literary reasons. We wanted to experience for ourselves some of Libman’s writerly inspiration.

In “Charon’s Kayak”, Libman’s narrator (like Libman himself) moonlights at a mom-and-pop river business where people of all abilities can rent a canoe, stand-up paddleboard, kayak, tube, or bike, and experience the serenity and drama of the Rock River and its environs.  The name of the business in  “Charon’s Kayak” is Rock River Rafters, but it is based on the real life small business, White Pelican.  Both are located behind the historic Conover Piano Factory, which is also mentioned in the story.

White Pelican, open May-October, is behind the Conover Square Mall, formely known as Conover Piano Factory. The vans are used to shuttling people and equipment.

This week’s “bonus” podcast isn’t just about small business.  It’s a humorous and woeful story of an adult son coming to terms with the loss of both his father and his drinking buddies. It’s beautifully written and wonderful to listen to.  Besides that, we get introduced to Molly McNett, who will be our June author on the Guildy Pleasures Podcast.

The Rock River seems to have yielded the results they sought.

Too cold for canoeing, but just right for fishing.

We’ll launch Episode 15, “Charon’s Kayak” on Sunday, March 31.  Until then, thank you for reading. Now, go write.  Connie Kuntz