The Artist Is A Superhero?: a fish story

Hubby wanted to show me a place where he and one of our sons went fishing last month, so we went to this place today. It’s a wildlife refuge down by the beach. Nice! It’s quiet. We were sitting on a little fishing pier eating our lunch and I was thinking about how all I could hear were birds, the wind blowing through the grasses and the waves of the lake lapping against the rocks at the shore. No ghetto sounds, no traffic sounds. Nice. Quiet. Relaxing.

As we were leaving, we drove over a narrow wooden bridge where a couple of guys were fishing, and one, Fisherman #1, had hung something big. Hubby slowed down to see what he had on his line, but he couldn’t pull it in. He was hollering at us asking if we had a gaff hook. His buddy, Fisherman #2,  was headed over to him with a crab net. We didn’t have a gaff hook or anything that would be helpful, but out of curiosity, we got out of the truck and went over to see what he had going on there.

He had hung a good-sized gar on half a mullet. We watched for several minutes as he reeled it in and then let it run a bit, trying to tire it out so he could try to drag it up on the shore. During the battle, there was some discussion about what a fish tale this would be, hung a big gar on half a mullet with a 10-pound test line and a old ragged-out fishing rod. While all this was going on, hubby walked a few feet away just looking at the water, while I stayed there watching and asking how the fish would be cooked when he finally caught it. The two fishermen (possibly taking advantage of hubby being out of earshot?) decided to talk a bit rough about the fish and use the word “ghetto” two or three times. I wanted to laugh, but I know sometimes I shouldn’t do that, so I didn’t. I just thought that they must be trying to horrify me or something, which is what I thought was so funny since I live in the ghetto myself.

Then hubby came back over and they started talking about how if they had something to hit it with, they could konk it in the head and drag it on out of the water.  Fisherman #2 said if he had a pistol he could just pop it with that. I told him I was thinking the same thing. They looked kind of surprised and Fisherman #1 said he left his pistol at home. I said I did, too. Then we probably both wondered if the other one had a gun with them or not.

Finally, Fisherman #1 told his buddy to use the crab net to push the gar. He would get it close to the bank and his buddy could get the tail in the net and it would keep the fish from being able to thrash about, and with one of them pushing with the net and the other one pulling on the line, maybe they could get him out of the water. It worked! They got the fish out of the water, but he was on the bank and it was sloped and he was still close to the water and if he started flipping and flopping, he might go right back down the bank and back into the water and they’d have to start all over.

So, there was a big discussion about what to do between the two of them. That’s when my Jones kicked in. At some point, I become all action. I’m done with talking when I see what to do and I’m ready to do it. I forgot it wasn’t my fish and before Fisherman #1 could say, “Lady, what are you doing with my fish?!” I had moved over to where the fish was and told Fisherman #1 to keep the line tight. I stooped down and grabbed a fin behind one of the gills. Boy, that was slippery! I was surprised by how heavy this fish was, and said so, then I grabbed his gill, then his other gill and pulled. That’s how the fish got to the top of the bank.

So, now what? I just jumped in and did that and what would they think? Uh, I wasn’t sure. As I stood up, I said, “Y’all don’t tell nobody I did that!” That’s my ghetto talk. I didn’t think they would want to tell their friends that a 102 pound white lady just grabbed their gar by the gills and pulled him up a hill. They said, “What? Don’t tell nobody you did that?” Fisherman #2 said, “She wasn’t even scared!” and Fisherman #1 said again, “Don’t tell?” In the middle of all their surprise and discussion about not telling, and about getting this posted on some board someplace, I noticed the pretty pattern on the gar’s head and scales and so I told them, “Look at the pretty pattern, isn’t that pretty?” and I told them I’m an artist.  I’m sure it was all pretty surreal to them at that point!

Fisherman #1 was still not wanting to not tell, and along with a “God bless you” and a handshake, he said, “I’m tagging you on Facebook! What is your name?” I just laughed and told him I’m an artist. So, he said “The Artist” is what he would call me on there, and hubby and I left. Just like a Superhero, do the deed and skeedadle while everybody is still happy.

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Memories and Reality

This evening, I watched an episode of The Twilight Zone. The main character, Horace, had idealized memories of his childhood and he wanted to go back to his old neighborhood.  He did, and his experience was like quantum physics where time goes all warpy. Everything looked the same, the same people were there, and they were all the ages that he was when he lived there. Of course, his wife thought he was cracking up, even though she was a bit freaked out by the kid from the neighborhood who kept showing up at their apartment every time Horace went there.

Have you ever felt like you could, in your mind, go back in time? We know the memories are in there, complete with smells and sounds and emotions.  What if we could access them? We could smell our grandma’s perfume (mine used Avon, one of her favorites was Cotillion), and a favorite meal (one of mine was her fried chicken, corn on the cob and green beans with potatoes).

Maybe it has something to do with living in the 50th decade of my life, but there are times that I almost feel like I could just dig these places out of my brain and experience them all over again. I can almost smell the Pine O Pine that my mom mopped the floors with, along with the Pledge that she used to polish the furniture. If you just add in the cookies and the pine tree in the living room, it’s Christmas in 1966.

I know the memories of conversations that I heard have to be in my mind somewhere. If I could pull this stuff up from the memory files, I’d see myself on the floor playing with dominoes, lining them up and making them all fall while I listened to the adults talk, and I’d actually hear the whole conversation.

I don’t have an idealized concept of my childhood like Horace had in The Twilight Zone, and I wouldn’t want to go back and be a kid again. I’m happy with my life in the here and now. But do you ever wonder what it would be like to pull those memories up to the level of feeling like you are there again?

Well, it’s after midnight and I need to hit the sack. I wonder what I might dream about tonight?

Ya’ Reckon These Eggs Belong To Our Rat Snake?

A few months ago, I was getting the concrete blocks around the garden all in order, and preparing to put up a fence. We had expanded the garden and I needed to fill in some space with blocks, and also there were weeds to pull. We have some of those concrete block with holes in them laying on their sides, with the holes up, but with some concrete scallop edging laying on top of them. It covers the holes and I like the little scalloped edges.

Why keep the concrete when we’re putting up a fence? Because an armadillo won’t dig under it if there’s concrete there. Well, maybe not just one armadillo. Sometimes in the morning, my yard looks like there was a whole group of drunken golfers out there all night.

Anyway, the edging wasn’t all lined up perfectly, and a snake found a way into the hole. “What a nice protected place to lay my eggs,” she thought. I’m sure she thought that, and also, thanked me.

 

Snake Eggs

Snake Eggs

 

Since finding the eggs, we’ve seen a huge rat snake at least three times in our garden. (I don’t know where the babies went; haven’t seen a single young one.) She’s (I just know it’s a she and she’s the momma of those eggs) almost as long as my broom handle. I figured that out by seeing where her head was and where her tail was at the same time and putting the broom on the ground where she had been. I speak to her every time I see her. I’ve tried to work along side of her. She’s just not friendly. She runs from me. Which is why I tell folks not to run from snakes. Why run from something that’s already running from you?