Pa Woody

By Brenda S. Brown

 

Benjamin Woody was an unforgettable individual, a person who cherished outdoor activities and shared his enthusiasm with his eclectic collection of acquaintances. To some he was known as a crotchety old fellow, curious in his ways, and stubborn as a mule, but to the numerous grandchildren, to include my husband Otto, Pa Woody was hero, champion, and all-around best buddy.
 
Summer afternoons, in his estimation, were intended to be spent lounging on the banks of the nearby Kinchafoonee Creek.  With homemade cane poles protruding from the side window of his dilapidate vehicle, and an accumulation of assorted youngsters, he negotiated slowly toward what was considered his private portion of the creek, known as the Big Hole, and unloaded the assorted paraphernalia.
 
Settling on a grassy area of the bank, he baited the rusty hook, dangled a well-worn pole over the murky water, and watched patiently for the nibble of a passing fish.
 
It was thought, in the deep south of those long-ago years that fishing was an important element of life, something pleasurable that also provided victuals for the next meal.   For Pa Woody fishing was his great escape, his way of living out his retirement from farming and harvesting pine trees from the shady woods surrounding Webster County.
 
The local anglers used various varieties of fish-bait; Catawba worms, crickets, and even dough balls, but one of Pa's chosen favorite was the seemingly worthless blue jay.  Years before he carefully studied the Sears and Roebuck catalog and then placed an order for the .22 caliber rifle that he employed to procure bait for his fishing expeditions.  Frequently he utilized portions of the despicable species of bird to acquire a sizable string of fresh fish.
 
When the weather became so unbearable humid that the gnats stuck to exposed skin, Pa Woody jumped into the cool water of the creek, and proceeded to pursue his preferred form of catching fish.
 
Stay tuned, next time I'll discuss a nearly forgotten manner of fishing called hand grabbling or noodling.

 

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