Donald Ambrose Eubank
Born: July 22, 1949 On This Day
Birth City: Kansas City, Missouri
Father: Dr. Will R. Eubank MD
Mother: Adelaide D. Eubank
faces of Donald (2002 added)
Birth City:

Somehow, Thanksgiving always seems to be a perfect day; the rest of the weekend is often
a different story. The canoers met snow on Bryant Creek, above, in 1974

"When people see my
pictures from the trip, they
think all we do is eat"

River Trip

Text and photographs
by Nancy Jack

While most Americans are finishing the pumpkin pie and watching football, the Ozark Wilderness Waterways Club is setting up for an alfresco dinner.

While millions of Americans gather to observe Thanksgiving in some snug haven, one Kansas City-based~ group will spend the holiday weekend as usual, canoeing an Ozark stream.

For the 20th consecutive year, members of the Ozark Wilderness Waterways Club will have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner alfresco while camped along a river. To veterans of these trips, it isn't a "different" way to spend Thanksgiving; it's the only way. Youngsters such as the children of O.W.W.C. President and Mrs. George M. Chase can't remember the last time they went to Grandma's for Thanksgiving, but they've been "over the river and through the woods" quite a lot.

Thanksgiving dinner on the river is by reservation, everyone takes a pre-assigned food contribution. One frequent lament is, "When people see my pictures from the trip, they think all we do is eat." Not so, of.course, despite photographic evidence.

Often enough to be encouraging, Thanksgiving day itself has been warm and sunny. The rest of the long weekend can be - and usually is -- considerably different. People who go on Thanksgiving and other "off season" trips aren't hopeless masochists, but they are experienced canoeists and campers with adequate winter gear.

In the past, this canoeing and conservation group has experienced high water, low water, rain, sleet, hail, snow, ice, bitter cold and tornadic winds as well as some perfectly gorgeous weather and water conditions, sometimes on the same weekend. Except for a few years on the Buffalo River in Arkansas and a couple of shorter trips on the Niangua, the Thanksgiving trip has been on the North Fork of the White, as it is scheduled for this year.


It might look informal, but dinner is by reservation only-everyone brings a pre-assigned contribution to the feast.

Why, you might wonder, would otherwise normal men, women and children forsake a comtfortable home in favor of camping and canoeing in the cold?

Well, serenity returns to the rivers after the summer crowds and biting insects call it a season. There is beauty in the generally drab winter woods. You just have to look for it a little harder, especially when sleet is pinging against your eyeballs. In an over-civilized and plastic-wrapped world, it is nice to know that you can cope with adversity and a few minor discomforts at least as well as your ancestors did. If they had perished, where would you be today?

But the soul still soars on the wings of a distant eagle or at the sight of a flock of wild turkeys flying over the river ahead of you, when rainbows follow a storm, when morning mists silverplate the world, and when you've shared these experiences around good campfires with great companions. That's living.

The Kansas City Star Magazine     November 21, 1976


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April 23, 2000