I cannot remember the
complete details of how daddy accomplished the deed, but I vividly recall the
debacle created when he encouraged mamma to go on the late summer exploration.
Frog gigging, just the name sounded frightening enough to keep me far away from
the action, and when I saw the sharp-ended apparatus, I knew I wasn't going to
participate in this family adventure.
But, first we have to
go back to the beginning of this chronicle. Life in Stewart County was
decidedly slower during our summer breaks from school; families went on
vacation, visited relatives, and hosted family reunions. The days were so lazy
that the businesses downtown closed on Thursday afternoon, and people peacefully
perused the once-a-week edition of the community newspaper, The Stewart-Webster
Mr. Douglas Sears, a customer of our family owned propane business; still
resides near Richland, and is a personality I'll never forget. Late one
afternoon he stopped by the company to pay his account and during the ensuing
conversation, he issued an interesting invitation; the fishpond on the family
property was generally deserted, and he encouraged daddy to bring the family for
an afternoon of recreation. Before long we were visiting Sears' pond on
Thursday and occasionally on Sunday afternoon. Accordingly, when Mr. Douglas
stopped by the fishing-hole, we shared our refreshments while he and daddy
exchanged fish tales.
picnic and surrounding areas were well tended but down on the narrow end, near
where the stream fed into the pond, there was a thicket. Various aquatic
creatures, to include colossal bullfrogs, inhabited the dense undergrowth.
Daddy and my brother David ventured down there several times on foot so when a
casual conversation turned to the joys of frog gigging; Mr. Douglas offered the
use of his watercraft. Why in the world mamma agreed to accompany them will
forever remain unknown.
Imagine them rowing
near the edge of the water in an aluminum fishing-boat, searching for those loud
croaking bullfrogs. The confusion began when they became entangled in some
limbs that were hanging out over the edge, and thump, something heavy landed in
the bottom of the boat.
No one had to
communicate the words water moccasin; for some reason it was the first thing
that leaped into her mind, and suddenly, in the dark of the evening, mamma
shrieked, and over the side of the boat she soared. It has long been questioned
how she managed to alight on the shore without soiling her pretty white Keds,
but that's the legend that will enduringly be unaltered.
Brenda S. Brown