By Amanda Finch
My cousin, Kevin, and I were (once upon a time) quite young; perhaps four years old at the time this tale took place.
We loved to loiter on our granny’s boat dock down on Lake LBJ. It may still have been called Lake Granite Shoals back then, but I was too young to know or care. Just as I was too young to know what it was we pulled out of the minnow net that day.
Our job was to catch minnows for the family’s fishing excursions. The job consisted of placing some sort of bait (a weighted down and short-lived cracker, for example) into the center of a square net, then hanging the net off the side of the dock. Whenever a school of minnows would swarm the net, we’d yank it up and–voila! Minnows galore. We’d pour the minnows into a cylindrical perforated minnow bucket made of galvanized metal, firmly shut the lid, and hang the bucket over the other side of the dock. A dad, uncle, aunt or cousin would find bait minnows at the ready.
On this particular day, we caught more than we bargained for. In our innocence, we believed that the very large and sinuous creature lying in the center of our net was the largest fishing worm we had ever seen. Quite well acquainted with fishing worms, my cousin and I could thread a worm onto a hook in seconds flat. But this one–well, this one would bait a larger hook than we could imagine.
Grinning with pride (imagine how thrilled our dads and uncles would be!), my cousin and I held and inspected our giant worm. Satisfied that it would catch even the craftiest giant fish, we shoved it into the minnow bucket and latched the lid tightly. Then we ran up the hill to granny’s house, forgetting all about our grand catch as we moved onto other games, other mischief.
Surprised indeed was my uncle, who opened the minnow bucket later that day only to be soundly bitten on the hand by an angry water moccasin. Why the snake did not bite either me or my cousin, I cannot say. Someone was watching over us that day. And apparently that someone stayed long enough to ensure that my uncle was treated, and suffered no tragic effect from the snakebite.
It was quite some time before anyone figured out just how that snake got into the bucket. None could imagine the truth, and perhaps they didn’t actually believe Kevin and me when we ‘fessed up to it much later. Perhaps they still don’t believe it.
This post was submitted by Amanda Finch.