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Couple travels to Amazon

NATCHEZ — Traveling to unique places is a way of life for Dot and D.W. McGraw, and when you live on the Mississippi only a few rivers top home.

But the McGraws can check “world’s largest river” off their list.

The couple, Natchez residents since 1968, enjoy spending their retirement going all over the world and seeing new and exciting things.

When The Dart landed on Passbach Street off Liberty Road, the McGraws provided plenty of stories and pictures of their trip to the Amazon in February.

“We take a couple of cruises a year,” Dot McGraw said. “The Amazon was great. One of my favorite parts was going piranha fishing. When we caught them, we fried them, and it was delicious.”

Fishing is something D.W. McGraw is no stranger to, as he enjoys catching catfish on the Mississippi River. As far as size, though, there’s no comparison between the two, he said.

“I like the water, I like rivers, and I always wanted to go,” D.W. said. “It’s a big river. On average, as you go up and down the river, it’s about three times as wide as the Mississippi.

“It’s really neat, because they have service stations on the riverbank, like what we would drive our cars up to. Since everything comes in by boat, that’s how they do it.”

In addition to cruising down the river, the couple also hiked through the rainforest on their trip.

“We went through the rain forest in Manaus, and that was the one day on the whole trip that it rained,” Dot said.

“We went through a couple of villages, and in this one village, they were cooking grain in this big pot when we walked up. They use it for corn meal, and if they add liquid to it, it’s like rice.”

D.W., however, was more amazed by the herbal remedies of another village, he said.

“At another place, they had a bunch of cups, and this cup was good for this thing, and that cup was good for that thing, an so on,” D.W. said. “None of them have diabetes — and that’s because of something they drink.”

Even with the love for traveling, Natchez will always be home for Dot and D.W., even though neither of them was born here.

“We’re from Baton Rouge, and we moved here in 1968 because his job brought us here,” Dot said. “He worked on the railroad, and he’ll have been retired 12 years ago this October. Since International Paper closed, there’s nothing going on with the railroads right now.”

And with the job came the opportunity to raise two sons in a small town, which Dot said she preferred.

“This is a good place to raise kids,” she said. “Any small town is better than a big town. When they started school it was at Thomas Jefferson, and then when it closed they moved to ACCS.

“The older son, Dennis, became a doctor and lives in Cincinnati, and the other one, David, became a pharmacist who lives in Baton Rouge.”

And the McGraws have no intention of ever leaving Natchez, she said.

“I don’t know where we’d go. It’s too cold in Cincinnati, and there’s too much traffic in Baton Rouge. Here, everything you need is just 15 minutes away.”

The McGraws recently celebrated their 50th anniversary.

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