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Stories that will make you laugh and cry- from Uncle George- an old hippie

I caught a very big fish- a 300 pounder- Me I caught myself with a fish hook

Yet another page, a story of life the way it is or the way it ought ta be, from the imagination of Uncle George of Whitlow Smoke school.

 

It all started on a blustery cold January night in 2007. The weatherman said it was 12 degrees outside. The house is dark and Angie, my fiancée was asleep on my side of the bed. It was a few hours before daylight and the house was dark except for the bathroom that was on the other side of the kitchen from the bedroom in this ancient old farm house where we live. The company office is in the living room, nothing but desks, papers, shelves, fax machines and such from wall to wall and more.

 

The whole house is crowded. It has two bedrooms with sometimes 2 kids. But this particular night, it was just Angie and me. The house is dark and I needed to pee. I guess I am doing fairly well with this diabetes, because I got it down to waking up only about twice a night.

 

So I wake up, think about it, decide yes- I got a go alright. But how am I going to get there. Angie was asleep on my side of the bed. Then there was the exercise machine taking up all the room from the foot of the bed to my grandmother’s old antique all wood ornamented dresser drawers.

 

I got a do it so I gets out on the wrong side of the bed for sure. So I stagger around the exercise machine up next to the window. I trip over the exercise machine and fall up against the wall in the back corner of the dark bedroom. I reach out for the wall to brace myself for the fall. Then it happens.

 

I love to collect almost anything. Old Case pocketknives that I inherited from my daddy, old china I inherited from my grandmother, old ceramic and porcelain figurines that I inherited from my momma, baseball caps, lapel pins like Ross Perot for President, and old wooden fishing baits. The old pins and fishing baits are on a 2 x 4 foot cloth display board that I have hanging on the wall just to the side of the dresser, between the exercise machine and the dresser. There they were 4 old wooden fishing baits with 3 large sets of treble hooks each. Three hooks were on each set of hooks.

 

Grandma was rocking in a rocking chair under the fishing baits. Grandma is like a pigmy from New Guinea. She is ceramic about 3 feet high and very life like. Momma had her for years and Grandma became one of my prize possessions after momma died. Grandma always has this fixed compassionate look. No matter neither what you do nor what you say, she gives you this look of compassion. She reminds me of my momma’s momma, Roe. Grandma always wears a long red flowered dress and a white embroidered apron. She has this little red flowered bonnet that matches the dress.

 

Well I start falling and all of a sudden, 2 sets of that old bomber fishing bait reaches out and grabs 2 of my fingers. I am screaming because it hurts like hell and I am aware that I am buck necked and in for a huge ordeal. It is dark- pitch dark and as I am falling, the fishing baits, the cloth display also falls off the wall. One of the other fishing baits reaches out and grabs grandma by the bonnet. So I am on my knees now and screaming uncontrollably. Angie finally wakes up and turns on the light. I must have scared the crap out of her- coming out of a sound sleep to hear a scream like a panther in your bedroom. And she does just like you would expect from a loving fiancé, she starts laughing. She couldn’t stop laughing.

 

It must have looked funny. A fat old buck necked man hooked with a fishhook a big cloth thing and a pigmy grandma. All I know is I am in agony and she is laughing.

 

Well Angie finally recovers and she comes help me get up form the floor. She picks up grandma and the display cloth and follows me into the bathroom. I still had to pee like a race horse- that was a priority. Then she follows me into the kitchen. Where we sit looking at the old wooden bomber bait, with about half of one of the treble hooks deep inside.

 

I sat there hooked in the kitchen chair thinking of all the times my momma used to say, “Always sleep with clean underwear on and not those underwear with the gap. Avoid the gap.”

 

Daddy always used to hear prowlers breaking into the house and get up with those gap underwear on and walk around with that Smith and Wesson 38 special. Daddy would say, “Don’t move or I will send you out to your maker.” The prowler would say, “Cover up that gap.”

 

My whole life flashed before me there hooked in that kitchen chair- buck necked. I can remember it well. We have old home 8 MM movies of it. I was in training pants, so I must have been 2 or 3 or something. We were camped out fishing on Clear Lake, near Monroe, Louisiana, where daddy was a cop.

 

We were sleeping in an old World War 2 army open floor tent. We had old army folding cots with mosquito nets. The tent was set up amonst some cypress trees on the bank of the lake. I was running around in training pants on a broom-stick horse. Daddy was fishing on the bank for blue gills or chinquapins about the size of our hand. I was watching him sail the popping bug with his fly rod. I loved the popping sound the fishing line made as it sped by his ear headed back behind him and then out towards the cypress trees in the lake, landing just under the lowest limbs. I love to fly-fish today; it is my favorite way to fish other then dynamite.

 

I watched daddy fish. He was pulling in these huge chinquapins as fast as he could cast the line. Then I put down the horse and picked up a cane pole. Momma put on a cricket and I wanted to make that line pop like daddy did. I held the fish hook and cricket in my right hand and cast out the cane pole with my left hand. The same left hand that was now firmly attached to the treble hook on bomber bait that was firmly hooked to a cloth display and a pigmy grandma both laying here on my kitchen table.

Back in 1951, when I cast the cane pole and forgot to let go of the fishing hook- well the hook went down deep into my tiny finger all the way down to the bone. There we were on the bank of Clear Lake and me screaming louder than a panther. Daddy tried to get the hook out but it would not budge. So we loaded up the Chevy with momma, daddy, my baby brother Ricky, and our black maid, the head of the household, Suzie. Oh- what a wonderful person Suzie was.

 

It was 35 miles of panther screams from Clear Lake to Wright Bendal Hospital on the banks of the beautiful Ouachita River in Monroe. In the same hospital where I was born 3 years earlier in 1948, there on the second floor. It took 9 nurses to hold me down while Doctor Bendal took out that fishing hook. I remember he took some wire pliers and snapped off the hook and shoved the sharp end of the hook through my finger and out.

 

So Da Ja Vue all over again, here I sit some 53 years later with yet another fishing hook in my finger sitting at the kitchen table hooked to a display board and granny.   I remember the wire pliers from the Bendal Clinic. My wire pliers were somewhere in the garage. There are no lights in the garage. I can’t remember where my flashlight is. If I stand up then I am dragging the display board and the granny and they seem to weight a ton. It hurt every time I moved my finger. I don’t think I can explain to Angie where the wire pliers are located in the garage. I am buck necked.

 

So I asks Angie to go into the office and get some scissors and she cuts the fishhook out of the display board and then cuts the hook out of granny’s bonnet. So now I am down to the 6 inch bomber bait hanging though my fingers. Miraculously one of the treble hooks just falls out of one finger, but the other hook is down to the bone.

 

I look around and see some electric tape on the hot water heater. I get Angie to carefully tape the other treble hooks up with electric tape. Then I prop the bomber bait in a position on my finger that is the least painful, and ask Angie to tape it there. It sill hurts like hell, but is at least bearable.

 

So I stand up and Angie puts on my hippie blue jeans with the flowered material sewed into the inseams. I tried to close the gap between the buttons, but I could not. Dam I am getting fat. Size 44 and rising. I wonder how a one-armed man gets dressed. Angie gets my pants on and now is the dreaded part, getting on a shirt. I asked her to find one of my sleeveless shirts in the closet. She finds one and she puts it on. The bomber bait barely makes it through the sleeve hole. I decide to forget about a coat. It would never make it over the fishing bait. It is 12 degrees outside.

 

So I ask Angie to go out and unplug the Dodge truck diesel engine heater from the power cord, turn on the engine and the heater and worm up the truck. Unlike the first fishhook 50 years before, this time it is only 5 miles to the hospital emergency room. I am already dreading the wait.

 

I remember my uncle Guy Sievers, who fell of a ladder at my brother’s, Crazy Ricky’s house in Walker Louisiana about 20 year earlier. When Uncle Guy fell, he hit his head on my brother’s tractor farm disk blade. He had a huge gash on the back of his head.  My brother’s wife Debbie wrapped Guys head in a white towel. When they arrived at the emergency room the towel was blood red.

They waited for an hour when Debbie said I bet if you fell on the floor in convulsions, I bet they would wait on you. So Uncle Guy did just that. He fell on the floor and did a break dance on the floor.  He was in the triage room in 4 minutes.

 

Angie and I waltz into the emergency room. Me with a 6 inch bomber fishing bait hooked to my bleeding finger. The receptionist looks at me and asks, “What is wrong with you this fine morning?”

I hold up my fishhook and answer, “What do it look like; I got a fishhook in my finger.”

 

An hour of pain later I get into the room with a doctor. I am sitting in there with this black doctor. Like I said earlier, I was more or less raised by a black woman who led the household. He name was Susie and she would take me fishing on the Ouachita River where we caught fish that were as long as your finger. We threw nothing back. We did not catch and release. Susie cooked every fish whole. I was raised in Dixie and I suspect that most of the white males form my generation in the South had similar upbringing- no matter what rumors you have heard. There is not a prejudice bone in my body. Yet I dearly love Dixie. I have a Dixie horn on my new Dodge truck. In the emergency room I wore a baseball cap with Hank Williams logo and a rebel flag. In my left shoulder I have a tattoo exposed with Hank Williams Jr.  logo, the Phoenix. On the other shoulder is a rebel flag.

 

I notice a southern accent coming form this black doctor. “Where are you from?” I ask.

 

The doctor takes a look at my Rebel Flag tattoo and states that he is from Birmingham Alabama. I know that I am in trouble.

 

“What is your problem this fine night?” He asks. I hold out the bomber bait and just looked at him.

“Did you try to take it out?” he asked.

“Yes sir.” I say, “Could not get it out.”

 

The doctor looks closely at the hook and says, “I can’t get it out either.”

 

I am in big trouble, I think.

 

Then the doctor says that he is going to cut off the hook with wire pliers, push the hook through the finger, and then pull it out.

 

“Are you going to deaden the finger first?” I ask, “It hurts like hell.”

 

“You look like a strong southern lad; can’t you take a little pain?”

 

“Well give me a bullet to bite on.”

 

The pain was excruciating when he maneuvered my left hand with the fish bait onto the metal table beside the emergency room bed where I lay with both eyes shut. He stuck a needle in my finger and it hurt worse than you can imagine. It hurt worse than the fishhook. After a few minutes the finger felt like it was squeezed into a vice, and then became dead.

 

“When will the feelings come back? I asked.

“About 4 hours.” He answered.

 

I herd but did not feel the wire pliers snap off the fish hook form the bomber bait. Then he held the bait up for me to examine.

Then he pushed the hook through my finger and out. I did not feel it. He held up the hook for me to examine. It was large and bloody.

 

I thanked him and told him that he was the best da-gone doctor I ever met.

 

Before I left the emergency room, I picked up the bomber bait and took it home with me. I removed all of the fishing baits form the display cloth and put them in my original Case Knife display cabinet that Daddy purchased from a hardware store when they went out of business 20 years ago, there on the Ouachita River in Columbia Louisiana. The antique fishing baits are hanging form fishing lines above Daddy’s case pocket knife collection. I pass by them everyday now, just a reminder of times long ago when we camped on clear lake, fought mosquitoes as big as bluebirds and caught fish larger than your hands. Me, my daddy, my baby brother, my momma, and the head of the household. Suzie. So many years ago- when life was so much simpler. And that is the way it is.

If you loved this story maybe you should read my novel of similar family stories.


Blue Bayou Days, the Summer of 61

You should read my other smoke school stories. smoke school stories and family stories

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