We could always find a world of things to do that we enjoyed. I have told you before about those things and it was never a problem figuring out what we wanted to do next.

When I lived on West Broadway, Bob Smith and I always had places to go and things to do. There was one day in particular I remember we went to the river and found a steamboat docked at the landing. There was a young man I believe was named Dave and he was from Kentucky. He asked me and Bob if we would like a ride on the steam freighter up to Coytee Springs and, of course, we said yes.

Bob and I left on the boat and went our merry way with Dave to the upper most freight terminal on the Little Tennessee River. The river was too shallow above Coytee to allow a lot of river boat travel most of the year. We went on board as we had done with other boats and they allowed us to ride up to the Coytee Springs terminal and there they unloaded the last of their freight into an old freight storage building along the river bank at the springs.

There were a few bags of shelled corn to be loaded onto the boat for shipping somewhere down river and Bob and I watched as they completed all the unloading and loading. Then we started our walk back home because the boat wasn’t going to leave until the next morning.

We caught enough rides as we thumbed our way along the roads that we made it back home earlier than the time appointed to us by our mamas. That way they didn’t get mad at us and there was no hickory switch — at least not that day.

I have told you about Daddy taking all our family up there sometimes in the summer by hiring his friend, Bud Fisher, to take us up there to stay a few days where our family camped out at that freight terminal building. Mr. Fisher came and picked us up to go home. Those were good days as we sat around a big campfire that night listening to him tell about his childhood years of living in the big two-story house just up the lane maybe 100 yards from there at the springs and all the things he and his brothers got into back in their day.

There were several times I took my son, Sam, and two or three of his childhood buddies up there to the springs where they enjoyed camping out for a couple of days. None of us ever thought that within the next 10 or so years (the late 1970s), Telllico Dam would put Coytee under 70 or more feet of water. The old one-room school where Daddy went as a kid, the freight storage building and the old water wheel would all be gone.

A lot of things just don’t need to change and I wish some of those still existed in today’s time, but wishing doesn’t make it come true. I can only hope my son had as much fun as I did while growing up here in Lenoir City. He and I built a camp trailer, which I could tow behind my old GMC pickup. There were times I would pull it to Tellico Beach or to Catoosa wildlife area or up to the Elkmont Campground in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. He would take James Massengill and Kenneth Wallace along with him and the three of them would camp in that trailer for two or three days at one of these far-off places. The way things are today, I don’t know for sure I’d let them do that anymore or not.

I remember one summer day we took the trailer up to a camping area along the Tellico River and they stayed for three days. They fished and caught several trout every day. They always took plenty to eat on these trips, but this time they brought back a lot of food because they ate fresh trout every day for dinner and supper. That was one trip when none of them really wanted to come back home. They hiked around the area, saw a lot of things they hadn’t seen before and found many other campers to talk to. They really enjoyed that trip and went back to Tellico River a few more times before they grew up and either got a job or went off to college.

I guess it was at that time they realized all good things must come to an end. But we know there are more good things waiting if you just take the time to look for them.

Herb Linginfelter is a Lenoir City native who often writes of his years growing up here. Contact him at 865-986-7248.