Location: marengo, il, United States

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Fresh Catch of the Day

“Stand off to the other side.” My father told me. He leaned out of a second-story window to keep a closer watch.

I waded back to the tiny island, and then ran to the farthest edge to squat and wait while he and his pal Tony reloaded each of their rifles. The soft sand beneath my bottom, heated up by the Georgia sun, felt wonderfully warm against the pair of wet shorts I wore. I wriggled my toes to drive them all deeper into the snuggly sandbar and hugged both bare knees, and then shivered once while waiting for the sound of the next shot.

The black lake on the other side of the dam was home to bass and catfish and trout. It also supported sunfish as well as several kinds of turtles. Tales of a large alligator, killed when we first moved to the millpond, were retold many times, but here in the shallows of the raceway there was nothing to fear but an occasional water moccasin. My eyes darted around the perimeter of the race, looking for any unusual movements.

In one of the other windows high above, I saw Tony taking careful aim.

My father coughed quietly. Steady, Tony; steady.

Then I heard the slightest ping. The small caliber shot made no real impression on me as it left the rifle, but the sound that bullet made hitting water sure did.


I watched as Tony withdrew his weapon. My dad beamed down at me as he pointed to a familiar shape floating out in the shallows.

“Run get it, son.”

I heard Tony laughing as I splashed forward.

A .22 rifle was a different way to fish, I though, and lots more fun than using a cane pole.


Blogger James said...

I know we are discussing way different times in this world.

I've done lots of fishing, but have never shot fish with a gun or have heard of such. Very interesting!!

The pencil drawing is very familar to my memory. I never realized it was of the old mill...well maybe?

I think I would love to have one of those sketches....hint hint

comment to my blog...I tried talking to one of the many hummers this am....they thought I was truely crazy. Why do I not remember you doing that? selective memory????

I'll try to catch a photo of all the birds if I am fast enough

7:56 PM  
Blogger Harry said...

I have yet to mention his hand-cranked battery device, James.

You want a pencil drawing, come up here and get it. But do not forget to bring along a Whataburger or two.

I must blog about talking to birds, now? Lemme think some...

10:01 PM  
Blogger Gone Away said...

I love the drawing, Harry - is it one of yours? And so perfectly matched to this piece, atmospheric, nostalgic and innocent as it is. How come you always make me want to swap childhoods?

7:17 PM  
Anonymous Ned said...

We have a pond called "The Mill Pond". For many years, there stood a mill there, but it had already been gone for many more years before I was even born. But you could catch a fish or two there, inedible things but the kind of small fish that small children fish for.

I knew someone with an air rifle, but we never fished with it. She had an unfortunately dim brother who told her she couldn't hit him with a shot and she felt duty-bound to prove him wrong. He was fine, but they had a time explaining it to their mom.

Very nice drawing, Harry. Your talents are seemingly endless.

7:36 PM  
Blogger Harry said...

It can be enlarged by clicking on it, Gone. You can then barely make out a signature with the year, '70. This is done with carbon pencil, manufactured in the UK by Wolff.

Now who would want to swap lives when gators lived close by?

7:55 PM  
Blogger Harry said...

New England has many such sites, Ned; some are even still operating. This one in south Georgia (part of which was built pre-civil war) burnt years after I left. The lake, from the last time I saw pictures, is now a lovely grassy meadow.

Say, I smell a full-blown story coming from the dim brother and his sister who dared.

8:02 PM  
Blogger Gone Away said...

Enlarged, the drawing is even better. I'm impressed, Harry.

8:27 PM  
Blogger Harry said...

Thanks for your kindness, mate.

10:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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8:29 PM  

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