A little while ago I asked my good friend Fuzz if he would do a post for me.
I wasn’t sure what he would send back but left the door wide open for anything.
This short memoir piece is a glimpse into the heart and mind of a young Texas boy and his love of “The Pond”.
Thanks again, Fuzz.
I’m truly honored you sent this to me.
We have to sit down and throw back some crawdads someday.
I’ve never had one.
I was raised in the country twenty miles from the nearest town.
Besides my grandparents that lived next door, our closest neighbor lived about five miles down a twisting, turning, sandy, county road.
It was a quiet life far from what is construed as civilization.
I started working early in my life.
Being raised on a farm fosters that ethic, yet there was time to relax and enjoy the simple comforts of life. When I was not much older than my son is now, (I was around twelve or thirteen), my favorite summer pastime was to spend time at the spring fed pond.
I would take up a sleeve of crackers or a half a loaf of bread and make the trek about a mile down the road over to the pasture on the river to the spring fed pond.
There sitting on the bank was a battered and rusted canoe.
I would climb aboard with my oar, the bait, a patched up dip net, a bucket, and an old Folger’s can for bailing out the leaky vessel.
Pushing out through the cat-tails, I calmly rowed to the back end of the still waters of the pond. Wedging the canoe amongst the cat-tails, I readied the net and cast it down the dark calm water. After but a few short moments, the net was brought up filled with that most odd of crustaceans, Crawdads. In but a short time, I would have my bucket filled with these crawling, pinching, prehistoric looking delicacies.
I would calmly row back and pull the boat back ashore, unload, and trek back to the house.
My mother would not allow me to cook the crawdads in the house. The smell and steam were a little more than she could bare. So I would build a cooking fire out behind the garden a good bit from the house and boil up a pot of water in a big cast iron pot that was once used for butchering hogs back when my grandparents butchered their own meat.
As afternoon slid into evening and the hot West Texas sun was replaced by a cool clear starlit night, the crawdads once done to a radiant red were iced down in an Igloo cooler.
My mother would make me up a nice red sauce. My parents, my younger brother, and myself would sit in the yard talking and eating.
My father would share a sip or two of beer with me when my mothers back was turned.
All in all everything seemed right in the world.
My grandfather sold the old home place a short time before he passed away a few years ago. I have not seen the old spring fed pond in ages yet I can still picture those cool, dark, still waters and know that somewhere all in all everything is right in the world.