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Fishing Trip

I’ve been on many fishing trips and I may have acted quite stupidly, but I’ve never been given a beer by the President because of my actions. As you probably know, President Obama did that for someone whom he said acted stupidly. Anyway, the following is a column written by my granddaddy that was published on November 2, 1944. I can’t ask my granddaddy, but I can assure you that he and his friends weren’t given a beer by President Roosevelt – even though some of their actions may be classified as somewhat stupid.

“If I keep writing about fishing, some of my readers, (if there are any), may get the idea that I’ve spent most of my life fishing….however, I am going to tell you about one more fishing trip…..It started on a Monday, about noon, when my fishing friend, John, and I packed our stuff into a two horse wagon and started to the Ohoopee White Bluff — where we expected to stay until Saturday.

It was a 30 mile trip, and we were joined along the way by three others — two teenage boys and an old man who was one of John’s friends. We stopped in Reidsville, where two more of his friends promised to come down the next morning. We arrived at the Bluff after dark, unloaded our stuff into the old warehouse, ate supper and then spread our beds on the floor.

The two fellows from Reidsville came the next morning and brought several quarts of whiskey and were drunk by noon. John and I caught some bait perch in a nearby lake and set out four trot lines for catfish that afternoon. We checked the lines about dark and had plenty of fish for supper and some to leave in the fish box we brought. The supper that night was good

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and we were tired enough to sleep — in spite of the two drunks.

Next morning we got up early, left the two boys to cook breakfast and went to check our lines. When we returned to the camp about 10:00 a.m. with plenty of fish to last several days — everyone was gone. One of the boys had shot himself through the foot with a rifle and the old man and the other boy loaded him in the wagon and started home. They left a note saying the wagon would be back Friday night to take us home Saturday. The two drunks had finished their liquor and went along too.

Since we had plenty of fish, we decided to set a line for soft shell turtles that afternoon. This was new fishing to me, but John knew how it was done. Leaving me to prepare the line, he took his gun, went off into the swamp, killed three squirrels, butchered them and took the liver and lights out for bait. We set the turtle line across the river on a sand bar about 3:00 p.m. and went down the river to bait our catfish lines. After we finished baiting, we decided to check our turtle line and, as soon as we got in sight of that sand bar, we could tell something was on that line. The water was working like a school of mullet had taken over. We had eight turtles about the size of the bottom of a wash tub. John hauled them up out of the water, flipped them into the boat on their backs and cut the lines.

As we crossed the river, one of them turned over and jumped out of the boat — I was hoping several more would get away, but they didn’t and we landed with seven. John carried them, one by one, up to the old warehouse, slit a place in their shells and tied them to nails in the wall. After I lay down to sleep, I began to imagine that they would probably get loose and maybe hunt some human liver and lights. Every time I went to sleep, I dreamed of being devoured by reptiles that looked like turtles, but had necks as long as plow lines.”

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