From the pages of

Life on the Mississippi in the blood

(February 2, 1998)

Some people buy a house because it's inexpensive, close to work or beautiful.

However, there is a special breed of people who choose homes because they're near the river. The water lovers and nature fanatics line the river banks for miles, from Rock Island to Savanna.

Dedicated riverfront dwellers vow never to move away from the Mississippi.

``We have everything that's great about the Quad-Cities -- eagles outsides, easy access to the river,'' Jan McKay of Hampton, said. ``People ask where we sail. When we say on the Mississippi, they just can't believe it.''

Ms. McKay and her husband, Sam, have lived in their riverfront home eight years. Self-proclaimed sailors, they said they wanted to be closer to the water.

Even during the winter, their boat, ``The Serendipity,'' sits alongside the house under a blue tarp.

The nautical theme is evident on the inside of the McKay home, too -- decorative pillows show lighthouses, a blanket is covered in shell prints.

David and Louise Lorimer live along the river just north of Hampton. The river ``laps'' into their home and recreational lives too. Both grew up along the river and moved back five years ago from a house in the woods.

``Once it's in your blood, it never leaves,'' Ms. Lorimer said. ``We enjoy being on the river. It offers an escape from the telephone.''

The Lorimers love to watch riverboat cruisers drift past in the summer, and often take their cruiser onto the river. From the stone terrace behind their home, they have a perfect view.

This view and love for the water pulls together families that live along the Mississippi, according to Sunny Moorhusen, who lives about three miles up the river from Cordova with her husband Jim.

When Ms. Moorhusen compiled a booklet naming people who live along the river in 1989, a neighborhood directory of sorts, the cover said, ``We are connected by the river.''

She asked each family why they chose to live along the river. ``There were wonderful answers, and I agreed with all of them,'' Ms. Moorhusen said. ``We're all the same kind of person. We all love the outdoors, the birds, the water, the fish, the animals. Someone asked me, `Are you a country person or a town person?' I said that I'm a river person.''

By Laura Oppenheimer

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