Saturday, August 30, 2014

This is Home, Part 40 - Dead Man's Hollow, fishing in the creek, bread on the water

This is part 40 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.

Dead Man's Hollow

There was a friend or relative visiting Daddy and Uncle Doc one night. All four men were sitting around the kitchen stove talking and laughing. They were talking about things that had happened a long time ago.

Some of the stories were ghost ones -- at least scary ones. Mom wanted me to go to bed so I wouldn't have bad dreams. Of course, I didn't. It was interesting.

They mentioned Dead Man's Hollow and that it was called that because a dead man had been found there. I found out that it was at the back of our woods, beside Irvin's property. The man was a stranger.

Fishing in the creek

There was a creek that crossed the road a short distance past the hay field with the snakes. There was an old-fashioned bridge made of heavy boards that were bolted down. The boards weren't tight and they rumbled as the bridge was driven over. It had decorative iron sides. There was a little shack setting on the right side just past the bridge. The road turned sharply left right after the bridge.

Uncle Doc used to go fishing there and he got really large fish sometimes. The coal company had bought quite a bit of land toward Jacksonville, but they hadn't come near the road.

They were stripping the land for coal. Someone found out the creek would no longer be good for fishing, as the sulfur would kill them. So, the whole neighborhood turned out to catch fish one night. There were people all over the banks.

I don't remember if or how many fish they caught. All I remember is that Jean, Mom, and I were being eaten alive by mosquitoes. There were a lot of trees around, so the ground was probably damp. And, of course, there was the creek. Everyone was slapping at the mosquitoes, except Uncle Doc. They didn't bite him. Mom said it was probably because of the medicine he was taking.

Mom, Daddy, Jean and I started walking toward home. Jean was too little to walk. Daddy tried to carry her, but she only wanted Mom. So, we walked home through the pastures. I held Daddy's hand all the way and walked. It was one of Missouri's beautiful moonlight nights.

The fish did all die in the creek.

Bread on the water

I used to help Uncle Doc feed the fish bread in our pond by the garden with the apple tree. He kept pointing out how big some of them were getting and what good eating they would make. However, he never tried to catch them, even though they got quite large. He just fed them.

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