What Readers Say About the “Old-Man River” Proposals

by Bobby Reyes

| Photo by Riccardo Annandale on Unsplash

Part XX of the “EDEN America” Series

Some readers call many of my ideas “pipe dreams” (pun intended). Lately, they are ganging up on me about the proposal of harnessing the waters of the Mississippi River; as a result, we could make Tennessee an “island.” My critics include a Filipino-American columnist that was my fellow member of the Filipino-American Press Club of Los Angeles. He, one of the highest-ranked Filipino-American Rotarians, has been bugging this writer since the late 1980s to stop writing “dreams” that he always alleged as “impossible to do.”

Critics never understand my determination and hardheadedness. As I described in the very first article of this column, I proposed way back in 1977 to my friends and acquaintances in New York to do a Filipino-American Community Night at a Major League Baseball stadium. They probably laughed at the idea. Then I wrote later that I also proposed in November 1998 the same concept of a Fil-Am Baseball Night at the Pittsburgh Pirates stadium. But finally, this columnist and his supporters held the first (and second) Filipino-American Community Night at the Dodgers Stadium in 2006 and 2007.

I have been telling my critics that everything starts with a dream. I frequently reply to my detractors by informing them of “I Have a Dream.” Yes, the speech was delivered by American civil-rights activist and Baptist minister Martin Luther King Jr., during the March on Washington, D.C., for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963. And I follow up with the fact that almost all of the Biblical prophets received God’s supposed instructions and directives in a series of dreams.

This columnist has been toying with the idea of what I eventually registered as www.TNsea.net. In June 1995, my supporters and I organized the first Fiesta Hispana y Filipina at the West Covina (C.A.) Mall. To generate corporate sponsorship, I wrote several mainstream corporations. Among them was the Federal Express (FedEx). I sent, of course, as an overnight letter via FedEx a proposal to its CEO, president, and chairman.

Frederick Wallace Smith is an American businessman best known for being the founder and CEO of FedEx, headquartered in Memphis, TN. The organizing committee that I chaired was stunned when the Office of Mr. Smith replied. It was the only reply that we received from the mainstream, prospective corporate sponsors that we approached. In short, FedEx gave us a 5-figure amount that was enough to pay for the insurance premium (for the event’s coverage) and the printing of the event’s souvenir magazine. FedEx, of course, had the back cover.

And I said that it was coincidental that both Mr. Smith and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., shared one common city, Memphis. If readers have forgotten it, Dr. King, Jr., was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, TN.

“Our proposal is for the river water (at its mouth at the Gulf of Mexico) to be channeled into pumping stations, instead of going to the sea. And pumped to aquifers and/or aqueducts.”

Tim Willoughby commented: “We shouldn’t mess with the Mississippi River in such a manner, (as) it does so much more than just empty into the sea.” He posted his comments in the “Tennessee Democrats and National Issues” Facebook Group. This columnist replied to Mr. Willoughbyy: “Thank you for your comment, Tim Willoughbyy. We will not be messing with the Mississippi River. Our proposal is for the river water (at its mouth at the Gulf of Mexico) to be channeled into pumping stations, instead of going to the sea. And pumped to aquifers and/or aqueducts. Perhaps all the 33 states that have river tributaries can clean initially their water being discharged into the “Old-Man River.” This way, all the waters recovered and pumped to drying aquifers will be cleaner for Mother Nature to further filter. “

Then I added: P.S. “The Mississippi River is the largest source of fresh water, nutrients and sediments into the Gulf of Mexico, and as such, impacts the Gulf’s circulation, geochemistry and ecology.” Our proposal will make the river’s mouth at the Gulf of Mexico not only cleaner but also ecologically safer. Please read The Impacts of the Mississippi River on the Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem.

And truth to tell, a consortium of Public-Private Partnership should complete feasibility studies, organize and manage them. And study further not only the environmental impact on the whole Mississippi River Delta (MRD) but also the socioeconomic aspects of the suggested downstream projects. As mentioned earlier in this series, various state-and-federal agencies have conducted studies on the MRD and its tributary rivers. It is only a question of updating the said studies and gearing them all to make the proposed projects more viable.

On the other hand, Jay Domingo, my Facebook friend and webmaster of this website complimented me in my Timeline on my 79th article in this column (published last November 23): “Happy anniversary, Tito Bobby! Keep on writing and making a difference in the lives of many with your great ideas!” It was a superb greeting for the first anniversary of this column.

“For in the 21st century, nothing is now impossible from the engineering and financial viewpoints. Mainly because of the oft-quoted adage, “If there is a will, there is a way” (of doing it and doing it all).”

And yes, Ms. Thalia Young also sent a message that read: “I will help, God willing. I will be 84 by then! LOL.” After we became Facebook friends, I dubbed Ms. Thalia the “Grand Dame of Tennessee’s Democratic Pundits and Humorists.” After she invited me to join the “Tennessee Democrats and National Issues” Facebook Group, he is also helping me further research the Buffalo soldiers and Caucasian volunteers from Tennessee that the United States Army deployed in the Philippine Islands from 1899 to 1902. Hopefully, my friends from Tennessee will help in operating a booth (or several booths) in county fairs next year. Our county-fair participation will hopefully display materials about the Philippines-Tennessee Relations and the “TNsea.net” and MRD ideas.

Ms. Thalia has organized so-many church choirs composed of many young men and women of Tennessee. I told Ms. Thalia that she and I could not compare Moses of the Ten Commandments’ fame, for Moses started the trek to the Promised Land at age 80. But he never completed the 40-year voyage, as he died at age 120. Both of us will never reach the ripe old age of Moses when he passed. But I say that what Ms. Thaiia and I need only is to recruit a corps of young Joshua-like followers. Yes, younger people in and out of Tennessee believe the TNsea.net and the Mississippi River Delta projects are doable. For in the 21st century, nothing is now impossible from the engineering and financial viewpoints. Mainly because of the oft-quoted adage, “If there is a will, there is a way” (of doing it and doing it all).

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