Boy finds message in a bottle

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 30, 2001

VIDALIA, La. – Who hasn’t thought about it?

Walking along the beach or the riverside, peering into that bottle you’ve discovered in the slim hope that it just might hold a map to an ancient treasure or the latitude of a desperate castaway.

Andrew Campbell has found several empty bottles in his 12 years, but the young Vidalia resident’s diligence was rewarded Saturday when he found that a discarded Dr Pepper bottle was actually the river-worthy vessel for a friendly note.

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Campbell, his three cousins and aunt were strolling down the Vidalia Landing when Campbell spotted the bottle against the shore under the Mississippi River bridge and decided to take a look inside – just in case.

To his surprise, he found rolled and fastened with rubber bands a small note, handwritten in red ink by what appeared to be a young hand.

&uot;Dear Anyone,&uot; the note begins. &uot;My name is Dances with Wolves. By the way, I am Indian and part Irish. My favorite hobby is riding horses. What is your hobby?

&uot;P.S. – I am a tomboy. (Are) you a tomboy?&uot; Below the simple query is a choice of &uot;yes, no or ne(i)their.&uot;

Other than a child-like drawing of a horse and two pennies and a dime – a clever trick to keep the bottle upright when in the water, Campbell suspects – there are no other clues as to who may have sent the message.

It could have been someone thousands of miles away, tucked away beside the small tributaries that feed the Great River.

Or as Campbell says, matter-of-factly, someone &uot;about five feet away.&uot;

For now, Campbell is holding on to the ordinary plastic bottle containing the out-of-the-ordinary cargo.

But, he’s thinking it might be a good idea to send the bottle on its way again and see who else will take the time to check – just in case.