First Alligator Friday!
Once in a while I have the great opportunity of fishing with my friend, Jackie. We take her boat, she lets me drive this beauty, and I get to play “Fishing Guide”! No matter what, we always have a blast–even if we don’t catch fish.
We headed to Lake Decade to see if we might find some stray trout that had not left with the spring migration southward or maybe we could troll the banks for those hard-fighting redfish. As we reached the lake and saw the white caps, it was obvious Mother Nature had other plans for us. In my middle age, I have grown to love a “change of plans” because you never know what exciting twist awaits.
Because of the brutal winds (which were not predicted to pick up until hours later—every good guide checks the conditions before departure), we relocated and found an inlet with a tree-lined shore to buffer the breezes so we could cast a little.
My fishing buddy decided since she hadn’t been fishing in a while, she would just relax a bit, enjoy the scenery and watch me fish. Truth is, when I start catching fish, THEN she grabs her rod and gets after it!!
I positioned the boat so the wind would push us along and occasionally used the trolling motor to keep us away from the banks. It wasn’t long before I hauled in one of those straggler speckled trout.
As we drifted nonchalantly around a curve, our reverie was rudely interrupted by a loud SWOOSH! SLAM! SPLASH! By the volume of the splash, we figured it was a big one–the first alligator of the spring season. You can see the above “gator slide”, which obviously belongs to a nice-sized gator.
The gators hibernate all winter, and the warmer temps here have caused them to wake up. And they are aggressive and quite hungry. I respect gators, though I am not unnecessarily afraid of them. We fish with them around us quite often, and today was no different, or so we thought.
Once she emerged, we could see her off in the distance, which is typical behavior. We don’t bother them. They don’t bother us.
We continued drifting and fishing, but I wasn’t really paying attention to or thinking about the gator until Jackie suggested maybe I use the trolling motor to move us away. Okay, sure, right after I take another photo.
I’m not sure if this gator shared a mutual respect for us, but I can sure as heck guarantee you, she was NOT unnecessarily afraid of us, either. When I sit behind my lens, Reality takes a hiatus and the other part of my brain rules supreme with no consideration for what might not be the greatest idea.
Jackie: “Oh my gosh! Look at that! Get that picture and get us outta here! Hurry!”
Me: “Okay, just one more photo.”
Jackie: “Okay, now, don’t you play with that gator. I’m sure it could jump right up in this boat with us if it took a mind to.”
Me: “The wind’s got us. I can’t troll us away. We’re headed straight for it.”
At which point, I let go of the trolling motor, my foolish brain took over and I just HAD to snap a few more photos for y’all.
Not waiting for my brain to switch back, Jackie cranked up the main engine and quickly backed us away from Allie.
Thank you, Jackie, for getting us away safely. I apologize for my other brain takeover. Will you ever let me guide you again?
Me: “See ya later, alligator!”
Allie: “After while crocodile.”
I heard her say it, but Jackie swears she didn’t!
Safe but not completely sorry,
Allie looks like she could be 7ft. long! You got some nice shots of her. Glad you girls had a good time.
Ok, that does it! You’re going to have to guide my boat someday soon. Hubby is too (dare I say it) scared to really explore the Decade area. I’d like to see it all. Wouldn’t mind fishing a little either while I’m sightseeing! I hope you don’t use a cork with Jackie on board. You might lose a fishing friend. For those unaware, “Alli’s” love chasing popping corks.
That close up of Allie was beautiful, striking, and made me jump back a bit!! Looks like a insert to a bayou book or at least on this site somewheres!! Wished I would have been there…I could use a break involving fresh air, beautiful scenery and someone else to do the driving!!!
Yes, Katy Bug, we did have a good time. It was short-lived, but nice.
Steffi – I’m sure y’all have a GPS on board that awesome boat, right? That’s just the best tool for exploring. I’d much rather teach you where to fish from the south launch, so y’all can do some summer fishing other than Decade.
Corks? We were not using corks this time, and this is very near the canal where that other young gator kept chasing my cork until it just totally ruined the fishing trip that one day last fall.
And Dear Deb, I would love to have you on the boat with me. I truly would!
Okay, BW…I’m going to stay on your case! This is another winner for a short story! You’ve got the raw material, and it’s a sure bet!
Dear Editor Vance,
Thank you for the encouragement, but I know nothing about writing short stories.
BW, What do you think “Before The Saltwater Came” is? I’ll tell ya, it’s a SHORT STORY for children. (Adults get something from it too) Think ADVENTURE and Humor when writing. Oh yeah, Speaking of childrens stories…Think about …The Little Engine… You can!
Steffi – I’m just playing with Vance. She’s one of the best “casual” writers I know and I’m not even so sure she might have published some magazine articles and short stories herself!!! I just want her to take the bait, play editor, and rewrite one of my blog posts and make it into a short story. I’m lazy like that!
I’m not fond of kayak fishing around gators …
something about being uncertain where I fit on the food chain …
Freth, did you get your book???? I don’t feed the gators on my wetland tours (or otherwise) for that very reason. My philosophy is that they should fear us and we should fear them.
If I were you, I’d break Vance’s Red Pencil if she tried to “Edit” Termite’s duck hunt. I’ve got a smile right now thinking about him “quacking”!
Ya see Cuz? I told you ages ago you needed to start that book of short stories. It’s already a sold out first printing.
Katy, you say that because you love me so much!! LOL!!
Ha! BW, the jury is in! I’m NOT the only one who has taken notice of your story-telling skills! Now, there will be others to help me prod you to do this…
Can you even begin to imagine how many people would love to read tales of life in the Bayou?
Lawsy, Wendy, you can do this!!!! 🙂
I tell you what, Vance, you find me a big publisher in New York that will take the pitch and I’ll lose sleep to write the book of short stories! Along with that comes the need for a really good and inspiring editor like Rawlings had back in the day. I learned from reading her biography that behind every successful writer is a VERY GOOD EDITOR.
Until then, I’ll just keep sharing stories here for free!!!
I appreciate y’all more than you know!
Now you know bayou ppl don’t do fancy dancy New York types of ppl…!!!! bayou ppl are grassroots kinda folks, LOL. Perhaps BW would consider just writting down some humorous bayou takes, Captain Wendy stories, adventures of Termite & assorted siblings……We are loosing that fabulous rich heritage almost as fast as our coastlines…so for the love of bayou ppl along the gulf coast,, your wonderful family, your future grandchildren…(don’t faint, I said future) and all your pesky readers….just jot a story ot two every once in awhile………hehehehe…just a nudge…but a good one!
Sweet Magnolia’s got the crux of the matter, BW. It’s not about signing a huge NY book deal, or even a small one! 🙂 It’s all about recording, in story form, the life you are telling us about in your blogs. A little story in a magazine or even the newspaper to start with would be so great. Why, you may ask? Because you are capturing a way of life that is quickly disappearing, and also is a way of life so many people do not realize even exists today!
We all see the stories being published, and so many, many of them are sheer twaddle! The same old same old; yet you, my dear friend, are doing a magnificent job of story-telling of a place and a culture that is rich in sights, smells, experiences, and people!
Truly, there’s no pressure intended; but I do believe it would be a loss of the creativity within you not to share these tales with a wider audience. Can you imagine, for instance, how many people would not know about the Bayou’s woes if your book had not been written and published? The tale of this gator encounter and Termite’s duck hunt are already so well written, you’d only need a few tweaks here and there!
You really are a raw, natural, writing talent, BW – you write from your heart with the colours and the emotions that stir the senses and engage the imagination of your readers…as you did in Termite’s tale, and now with this gator.
So, that’s my two cents for the morning. Happy St Pat’s Day, by the way! 🙂
DITTO! There I go again….showing my age. LOL BUT… “scan “and/or “copy” just doesn’t have the same impact as”Ditto”.
Okay, y’all, here’s the deal. Last night I typed a long comment explaining how I came to be where I am today, including doing this blog. When I pressed “submit reply” it vanished. Just now, it happened again. In that reply, I said some of the same things you all said today. The whole reason I started this blog was for awareness, education, fun, exposure, call it preserving the culture, whatever you want to call it.
I won’t retype my whole comment but I will tell you this much. Before I published the book, I had submitted several stories to publishers and they just weren’t interested. Most of you don’t know, but I’ve been doing some journalistic writing over the past 3 years for magazines and newspapers, but that’s not the same as short stories. Back in 1996 when I was PG with Termite, I found (rather late in life) some old books by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. I immediately felt a connection to her and her life in the Florida scrub and Hammock and the stories she told of her life there. She was an import, just like me, who adapted well and it was exactly as Vance said. Folks around the country, especially city folks, LOVED reading her tales of life there. Granted, they were not all about her escapades, but she went around visiting with her notebook for the sole purpose of gathering writing material. It was indeed a full time job for her.
The reason I said what I said to you, Vance, about a NY editor, was when I read her biography, I envied the relationship she had with her editor. He made her the excellent writer that she became. He knew what the people wanted, and he knew she could deliver it with the right guidance. Thinking it was time to refresh that inspiration, last year I ordered some of her books for my own library and have read them all again. And again, we are all on the same track, I think.
For now, I will continue to preserve the heritage and way of life here and hope the audience will spread and one day, people around the WWW will tune in to Bayou Tales.
Uh, I think I probably wouldn’t have gotten that close! I’m sure you get use to ’em but……..Kinda like Copperheads around MO.
You asked me earlier if I wanted you to send me some samples of your photos. I would love to see some. I have looked through your blog but it takes a really long time and I catch myself readin’ all your older posts that are new to me so THAT makes it take a really long time. LOL I’ve been kinda waintin’ because you had so much goin’ on so just send me some anytime you’ve got the time. Thanks