This time of year often triggers memories of my childhood days, especially when I'm driving around the countryside and come upon a farm pond that looks "fishy".
Now, any ol' country boy will readily know what I mean by "looks fishy". However, if you were underprivileged and didn't grow up in the country as I did, let me explain that it doesn't mean there's something wrong with the pond. It means the pond looks as if it would be loaded with fish. And there's nothing better than a mess of fish fried right after being caught and cleaned. The fish may not be too fond of the idea, but I sure like it!
Add some fresh cut french fries, homemade hushpuppies, coleslaw, and your favorite cold beverage...., man-oh-man! I just gained three pounds thinkin' about it!
To this ol' country boy, however, there's more to a pond than just fish. For example, my Uncle Lonnie's pond was a source of never ending adventure. Why, at eight years of age, it was my private African lagoon.
Filled with man-eating hippenopotumusses...., hipotenewses...., uh... filled with killer crockodials...., er... croaka...., filled with man-eating hippos and crocs, it was part of Tarzan's domain. And I, of course, having a body chiseled from granite and possessing muscles of steel, skin darkened by the equatorial sun, and having eyes that penetrated the heart every wild beast known to man, ruled the jungle.
Yes, I was the Ape-man himself, ruling over man and beast alike while..., 'scuse me? What's that you say? It's difficult understanding you when you are snickerin' like that!
Okay, okay. So I wasn't chiseled, nor darkened by an equatorial sun, nor possessing muscles of steel, nor did I have penetrating eyes, etc. etc. But this is my daydream so butt out! Johnny Weissemuller may have been the actor who received payment for playing the role, but I'll bet I had more fun at it! With faithful Cheetah (Dixie, my dog) at my side, I rid the area of tree climbing leopards and all the feathery killers that inhabited the surrounding area.
When a native uprising became too much for me to handle, a good belt of the Ape man's yell would bring all the jungle animals to my rescue. Of course, in reality my yell may have had a slightly different effect on the surrounding wildlife.
I'm sure that being scared half to death by the high-pitched, screaming/breaking voice of an 8-year-old wasn't in the best interest of the birds and squirrels around the pond. The birds abandoned their nests and more than a few normally surefooted squirrels lost their grip and fell out of the tree.
Even the snakes that inhabited the area jumped out of their skin. How do I know? Because I found more than one or two snake skins layin' around the banks of the pond...., er, lagoon.
You know, I just thought of somethin'. In all my days of growin' up in the country and findin' snake skins, I've yet to see a nekkid snake. Ain't that odd!
Hey! I just remembered somethin' else, too! There was one wildlife group that actually came when I gave my Tarzan yell. Buzzards would come sailing in and light in the nearby trees. Of course, they probably thought someone with such a sick yell was fixin' to die and they wanted to be around when it happened!
Anyway, today I'm certain they all thought I was nuts and needed some kind of therapy! But at that time and by my reckonin', this particular area of the jungle was better off without tree climbing leopards and eyeball peckin' parrots, not to mention nekkid snakes.
Galen White lives in Homer. His column runs weekly in the Minden Press-Herald.