“Wake up Boy & put on the Paw Paw”!…


I had the hardest time tryin’ to take a nap. I tossed & turned until I finally wore myself out. Billy, I felt my mothers gentle touch shakin’ me & sayin’ “wake up it supper time.” Yes Ma’am…I finally came around to realize I wasn’t dreamin’, sprang out of bed and headed to wash my hands. Everyone else was around the table waitin’ for me, I took my chair, we bowed our heads & Papa said the blessin’. “Cleo, after supper we’re goin’ to need two lunches (our midnight snacks) packed, Mama cut him off sayin’ they’re already done John, he scowled at ht her for cuttin’ him off. Good! Boy!, you ready? Yes sir Papa! Eat your supper, & eat all of it, you’ll need it. Yes sir! The time came. Some where around 7:00 p.m. the front screen door opened, Uncle Porter walks in “Y’all ready”? Yes sir Uncle Porter! “Let’s go Porter, Boy, tell your Mother & your Mama  by” Papa said. Uncle Porter & Papa took our gear to the car, loaded it all up & got in. I caught up, as Mother walked me down the steps to the car & told me to catch’er some, Uncle Porter told me to get in the back seat Billy, yes sir (as if I could’ve squeezed in the front). Off we pulled, me lookin’ back & wavin’ at Mother standin’ at the curb. It was about an hour & a half drive. Somewhere a few miles down the road I fell asleep. I felt a jar of the ole car trunk closin’, then I heard Papa hollerin’ @ me “Boy you gonna sleep all night”? I sprang up, movin’ as fast as I could tellin’ him I wasn’t asleep (Uncle Porter just a laughin’). I had no clue where I was, but in latter years traveled many many times to Yellow Leaf Creek on Mitchel Lake just a short distance below Lay Dam on the Coosa River. It was now 10:00 p.m. & I mean DARK! We loaded up, Papa made me put on my life vest, headed down that dark twistin’ narrow creek with flash lights swingin’ from side to side so we didn’t hit fallen trees or run aground. Then we reached the mouth of the river. Wow! I looked to my left , up river about a mile and there it was! Lay Dam! Uncle Porter said “That’s where we’re goin’ Billy, you ready for this”? Yes sir! That little ole 3 hp Scott-at-Water motor just a hummin’ along, & suddenly Uncle Porter shut’er down, we’re here. Lets catch us some Big Bass! We didn’t have a trollin’ motor in those days. Papa & Uncle Porter would skull that ole boat around never makin’ a sound, never hittin’ a rock & weavin’ in & out of those rocks until we got to “The Spot”. “Boy (Papa said), we gotta be quiet so we don’t spook the fish”. Yes sir. Here, I rigged you up a worm, cast out past those rocks you see there. Well I couldn’t see anythin’ in that dark! Then slowly my eyes started to adjust to the dark and the dimly lit Dam & finally saw the rocks. It wasn’t long before both Papa & Uncle Porter were sayin’ “Hold’em Hook Hold’em, Hold’em Hook Hold’em! They both put one in the boat. Several fish later I heard “Whatcha waitin’ on Boy”?, someone said. I had no clue what I was doin’. A couple of hours went by. I was diggin’ out back lash by flash light in the dark. The silence of the night, the rockin’ of the boat, well I dozed off. All of a sudden I felt my rod jerk in my hand & loose grip. Uncle Porter slapped me on the back & said hook’em Boy! I jerked back & set the hook & the fight was on! “Hold’em Hook Hold’em” I called out over & over all the way to the dip net Papa was holdin’! “Good Job Boy” he said. To me it looked like a 10 lb’er. It probably wasn’t over 2 lbs in reality. But I was thrilled! I didn’t catch another one all night, but I think I did miss several. I fell asleep again. “Wake up Boy & put on the Paw Paw”! Fish were bustin’ the surface everywhere, the Bass were in a feedin’ frenzy. The men caught several more, I caught 2 more then they just shut down! Well, it was over. It was now 7:00 a.m. Papa said, Porter crank’er up the Wheels’ll (meanin’ the turbines) be kickin’ on afore long. Sure enough, about 1/2 back toward the creek the water got swift and rough. “Hold on Boy” Papa said. A short time later we were in the creek & back up to the car. The Ole Man that owned the Boat Rental/Fishin’ Camp met us, commented on our catch, loaded up our car for us & looked at me & said “Boy you’ll learn a lot Fishin’ with Ole Big John there”! We loaded up & headed home, yeah, I slept all the back…”Hold’em Hook”!…..BG>

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