The invitation read: arrive by 5pm. There was no way we could meet that, I thought I knew, still with a heroic sense of bravado we course through the day’s chores as though there had been a certain increment in Saturday’s hours. Was it not already past five when we hit the streets of Lawrenceville, heading to the historic site of liquids.
About two miles into the journey, I hit my hips. It made Temmy remember that hot afternoon when I had been taken down by those nice yellow jackets. Although Mike had warned me about their vicious presence somewhere, something within me believes the abracadabra of my odeeshi could repel their attacks. I was sore wrong. Whether a six-inch needle entering the center of my brain best describes their stings I cannot even remember. Indeed, what else did I remember except for the fact that I saw myself Hussein Bolting, galloping like some antelope struck by America’s Kenyan-originated leader’s ideals. Well, that marked the opening chapter of my tales with stinging insects; two weeks after that, I got the second. A third is not likely. Lesson learnt: don’t mess with bees or their neighbors, the yellow jack-asses, sorry, yellow jackets; not you, yellow men out there.
I veered off our route, drove into a nearby gas station. We had enough gas to take us to and fro, but after impatiently asking me about what the moment meant, with my newfound séance play, Temmy finally resorted to watching my acts. Exhausted with the single-actor drama, I spoke, breaking what seemed like a long era of eternal silence: “my purse, my driver’s license.”
“What about your purse and driver’s license?” she asked.
By the time we resumed our journey, we needed no medicine man to prognosticate our lateness. Yet it is better to be late in this America’s part of the South than to go to jail over driving without a license on you. That’s no brainer I am doubly black. To be stupid is not even permitted. The Nigerian “I know my rights” thing will only confirm a ticket to join the soon-to-be-forgotten slain young black men. See it as African cowardice; you will be close to being right. After all even amongst those who lay veritable claims to Jesus of Nazareth, little is being done to fathom the social and political radicalism of this son of Mary, except to the effect of personal preservation, ego and power, which are embedded aspects of primitive instincts. Of course, failure to play hard has its own prize. As Nigeria’s former President, Goodluck Jonathan, PhD, he’ll probably understand more than anyone else what opportunity gone ballistics means in contemporary African political history.
“Well, ready or not, Lanier here we come,” I thought as we meandered through the drive way into our hosts’ base. First impressions are powerful. This lake and the apparent resourcefulness of its configurations brought tears to my eyes. Africa’s giant, as my home country is often described has water resources that had hardly been put into minimum use. I remember being shut down by our of our “uncles” with the Sylva Movement in Bayelsa State. He was furious because I had suggested that the resources of the state are capable of being used to make us look like Lagos, the nation’s economic nerve. “Taa,” he snapped. A quick nonrhetorical form of saying “shut up.” And shut up I did, as a member of the group, who claimed he’d lived in Lagos for a long time, and so could identify with what I was suggesting, warned me: “don’t die like a chicken here.” Well, that’s a common local practice among us: eliminate the opposition.
The sights and sounds of Lake Lanier are inspiring to a core. It is just thirty minutes to the city of Atlanta, which hosted the famous 1996 Olympics. The Lake is home to thousands of tourists and visitors from everyplace. Americans throng it like going to the Dugbe market from Mokola. Boats fill up the waters. Some Georgia residents believe that Lake Lanier is the largest man-made lake in the world, arguing, for example, that Wikipedia’s facts about this body of water are highly disparaging, or mostly inconclusive. For our purposes however, although Wikipedia puts Lake Lanier in the eighty-second position, in the hierarchy of largest man-made lakes in the United States, both the websites of List & Best and Worldlistmania categorize Lake Kariba, which is located in Zambia and Zimbabwe, and covering a 5,400 sq km space, holds 180 cubic kilometers of water, and is by far the largest man-made lake in this known world. But the dearth of literature on this important site might not be too disconnected from its location on a continent once deemed the cursed, “Dark Continent.” No thanks to the genius of Joseph Conrad.
Kariba has an area of 663,000 square km with a 5,400 square km in surface area. Lake Lanier occupies 38,000 acres, its waters are very deep. Best months to visit Lanier are “March through May, October November.” According to the Lake Lanier Association website:
Founded in 1966, Lake Lanier Association is the oldest volunteer group working to protect the high water quality as well as the Lake Lanier water level and to preserve its valuable legacy for future generations. Lake Lanier Association is comprised of lake residents, individuals, families, businesses, boaters and fishermen dedicated to preserving the lake for future generations. Originally started as a group of homeowners, LLA has evolved and grown into a 4,500 member organization with a variety of programs supporting the mission of LLA.
Furthermore, besides being the biggest suppliers of water to more than 3 million Atlantans, Lake Lanier also releases more than 1 billion gallons of water every single day.
Remember the 2007 drought. That resulted from the fact that by late October of that year, the Lake hit, with “less than 80 days of stored water left inside it.” Its waters were 19 feet lower than their normal level. The ensuing panic was predictable. Hopefully, the administrators and their engineering corps have learnt a good lesson that episode, lest, Borno’s Chibok drama becomes child’s play compared to another embarrassment with avoidable thirst!
Officially it is called Lake Sidney Lanier, because it was named after the veteran and poet Sidney Clopton Lanier whose oeuvre includes The Song Of The Chattahoochee. Several onsite and nearby businesses cater to the needs of visitors. Few among them are LanierWorld, Discover Lake Lanier, Lake Lanier Association, Lake Lanier Beach, and Water Park.
Our trip was memorable, mostly rekindling that home feel. I remember the first time I climbed into a boat. It was also my first trip to my hometown. Much has since changed about where home is, and who family members have become.
Please enjoy visuals from the trip:
 Steve, Price, America’s best bass fishing: the fifty best places to catch bass, Montana: Falcon Publishing, 2000, 49
 Sipes, James L., Sustainable solutions for water resources: policies, planning, design, and implementation, Canada: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2010, 29.