I grew up on the Colorado River…also the Pecan Bayou. It was a long ways to either, but my daddy loved to fish. And he loved to run trot lines. So I was his Number 1 right hand man/kid to go with him.
I loved to go out with him at night best tho…that’s when he’d run the trot lines, usually along the Colorado. To think that I could be out at midnight in the dark..in a boat, pulling in fish or baiting lines was just too cool!! I felt like I was living on the edge…only I had no idea what living on the edge meant.
It was the sounds of the night that intrigued me the most…and sometimes scared the bejeepers out of me. The frogs hollering at the top of their lungs…something hitting the water from the banks and swimming off into the blackness…hearing the catfish hit the top of the water…or worse, a coyote…or something, howl and send shivers up my spine. But all the while, my dad was pleading with me to “Keep quiet!” Talking would scare the fish away and I did NOT want to be the responsible party for scaring fish.
The talking really wasn’t a problem. It was the part about not getting within an arm’s reach of my dad that I strived for. Which was a problem for him because it was pretty hard to pull in catfish with a kid up underneath his armpit. But I always felt sure that nothing or nobody could EVER hurt me as long as I was with my dad. At 6’6″ and 250 lbs., I felt completely safe. Even from bears.
We were still going down to the river when I was preggers with our first son. My uncle was with us. His job was biscuits. He was an expert biscuit baker/cook/guy. As long as I had known him, Uncle Dub could make biscuits that would make grown men cry and small children beg for more. And he made them in a cast iron Dutch oven that he buried under hot coals from our campfire. That year, we also had watermelon…which I discovered made me swell up like a toad. I thought Uncle Dub was going to have a heart attack when he saw me the next morning after our watermelon feast! Lesson learned tho..no more watermelon until #1 was delivered!!
The love of fishing and The River was quickly passed along to all three of our sons. They lived for the week they would get out of school and we’d pack up and head for Texas! Oh the plans they had because they knew Pawpaw would have a river trip in the making. There would be camping and fishing and swimming and weiner roasts and best of all…star gazing. We could track satellites as we were stretched out on our cots looking up the heavens.
My mom and I went along until The Year of the Ticks. It had been a great trip. We had caught several good messes of catfish and swam until we were waterlogged and red as beets. One night, my mom kept itching…we were bedding down in the shack on cots and the guys were outside. I grabbed a flashlight and told her to let me see her back.
OH my gosh. There were kazillions of little, teensy seed ticks crawling all over her. I spent most of the night trying to pick them off…and scratching myself at the same time. We couldn’t get home fast enough the next morning, EARLY! Neither one of us had slept and we could hardly wait to get to a shower and some Avon Skin So Soft to help disinfect us from the ticks!!
And now…I’m itching! 😀
That was our last River Trip. We decided our job was to stay at home and leave the guys to deal with the ticks. I hate ticks. Creeps me out just typing this.
I thought about all of river trips when a ChristyFest guest commented at the Christy blog today. He mentioned how he always tried to leave the outdoors uncluttered as he traipsed through the Great Outdoors. I told him Daddy used to tell the boys as we were preparing to leave, “Boys, don’t leave nothing but your footprints. Just footprints.”
And we didn’t. We took the memories with us and left the footprints!!