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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Note Put Inside Bottle In Chipola River Returns To Writer 42 Years Later

Creshull Harrison III put note in coke bottle while cub scout
By Sid Riley
"What goes around, comes around". It even comes around after sitting in the mud on the bottom of the Chipola River for 42 years. Recently a diver from Dothan named David Sumner was looking for relics in the bottom of the Chipola about three hundred yards downstream from the Yancy Bridge, when he encountered a crusty, old coke bottle with the old style raised lettering imbedded in the mud. He pulled the bottle up to examine it and observed what appeared to be a slip of paper inside the bottle.
The bottle was unsealed, but the opening was so full of mud he had to break the bottle to get to the piece of paper. Amazingly, although exposed to water for years, the writing on the sheet of paper was still very clear and legible. It was a note written by cub scout Cresh Harrison III in 1966, when his cub pack #2 was on an excursion at Yancy Bridge. As a project, all eight scouts wrote a note, corked it inside a coke bottle and turned the bottle loose to bob away in the river current, heading towards Apalachicola.
Sumner took the note with him when he returned to Dothan that evening. He contacted his father, who works as a private investigator in Louisiana, and described the discovery to him. After a little detective work, he located Cresh Harrison II in the Jackson County telephone directory. He left is number with the senior Harrison, expecting a call from the one time scout within a few days.
Unfortunately, the telephone number was lost before a responding call could be made, and time passed. Then after about a month, Greg Lamb of Marianna, who is also a diver, encountered a diving friend, David Sumner while shopping in Dothan. Sumner asked Lamb if he knew Cresh Harrison, and related the story of the bottle to him. Upon returning to Marianna, Lamb contacted Harrison and gave him Sumner’s e-mail address.
Thus contact was finally made. Within a few days the note arrived at Cresh’s real estate office, carefully folded inside a plastic bag. Cresh has vague memories of the scouting adventure, but can not remember writing the note. However, one of his school friends who was also along on the trip clearly remembers the group writing the notes and releasing the bottles.
So the Chipola River has given up another hidden memory. Are the other seven bottles and their messages still hidden somewhere on the river’s bottom? Time will tell…..

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