Friday, November 28, 2008

Clay Banks and Frog Ponds

John just published a blog from back in the HOL days so I thought I would put one of my old ones on as well for those who didn't follow HOL.  It describes the "good old days" from the perspective of a "west side" boy.  

I lived on the Independence Road across the street from Crook and Ruth Duncan (Hartwell and Susie) next door to Owen and Deborah Davis (Jack and Jim) and the Whisenants (Clyde and Pearl).  The next house up the hill from the Davis house was the Hubert Adams (Sue) house.  Between the two houses the road had a high clay bank on the north side across from Holland and Agnes Wright’s (Tommy, Ann, and Butch) home.  Jim Davis and I often played there as children.  We would dig holes in the bank to make prisons for various hapless small creatures we captured.

One day when I was about five we were playing on the clay banks and caught a small snake about 18 inches long.  After playing with it for a while we took it back to the Davis house and hung it on a barbed wire fence.  We went into the house and proudly announced to Owen that we had caught a large worm and wanted to go fishing.  When Owen looked at it he almost had conniptions—our worm was a young rattlesnake.  The Lord protects fools and innocents.

On another occasion I was returning from the clay banks after my mother called me for dinner (remember, dinner was the mid-day meal).  As I ran down the overgrown path a snake struck at me and tangled in my pants leg.  Fortunately he did not reach my skin.  As I redoubled my speed down the path he came loose and slithered away, probably as scared as I was.  I don’t know what kind of snake he was but, to my young eyes, he seemed to be ten feet long.

The clay banks were also a player in the only spanking I ever received from my father.  It seems I was a little too slow in responding to his call for me to come home.  So he picked me up by the galluses (Fie on Bill Gates and Word—they keep telling me that there is no such word as galluses.) on my overalls (I was about five) and swatted me on the rear. I doubled up my legs so that when he released me I fell to the ground.  We went through this several times.  Later I went around telling people that every time I got up he knocked me down again.

The Frog Pond was the pond area about a half mile south of town where the road builders had taken fill dirt to work on Highway 59.  When I was a kid there were two separate ponds—a large one and a small one.  Now only a part of one of them is left since the highway was rerouted across the hill instead of around it.   (The Spanglers had a house and tavern at the foot of the hill on the old road.)  When I was about ten I often walked down the “old lane” by the “lower cemetery” towards Petros and went fishing in both the ponds.  The Liles family (Charles and Bing) lived down that lane.  I think I caught only one fish for all the times I went down there with my rod and reel using artificial lures.  The times I used live bait I was more successful and I caught and released a lot of what seemed to be big fish (but were probably no more than six or eight inches long).  One day while I was there at the smaller of the two ponds I saw a surface wave about three inches high race from one end to the other at a speed I estimated to be more than ten miles per hour.  It looked like something just under the surface was speeding rapidly along the length of the pond.  I don’t know what caused that wave to this day but always speculated that it was that “big ole catfish” that we all knew lived in the pond.  Years later I took my then ten year old son to fish in that pond and he caught a whole slew of perch.

Those were good times.


At November 28, 2008 at 9:18 PM , Blogger John Inman said...

Nice memories, Glen. I remember almost everyone of the people you mentioned. Don't forget, I, too, was a 'west side' kid. I used to go swimming out at the old strip pits off Independence Road.

At November 29, 2008 at 8:09 AM , Blogger Bill Hinds said...

Thanks for the memories Glen. I remember most of the names you mentioned. I remember when the Whisenants had that little store over there near where you lived. When we lived up on the hill west of the grade school mom would send me over to that store for things.
Isn't it incredible that we grew up with rattlesnakes, cottonmouths and many other poisonous snakes and insects too, and I don't remember anyone being seriously hurt by them.

At December 6, 2008 at 9:54 PM , Blogger Pat Burroughs said...

I'm so glad your guardian angel was watching over you. I think I told you our Jim, after over 40 years of walking over snakes, was bitten by a copperhead last July 4th. He still has two toes he can't move and the ball of his foot still feels swollen, but he says it doesn't prevent his doing anything he needs or wants to do.


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