Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Catfish

I suppose not too many folks ever saw the many ponds scattered all over the Osage but one of the most interesting things I loved to see was each year when all the millions of baby catfish would be on top of the water making it look black.  Now I know for the most part those were what we called mud-cats which meant that about half of their body was the giant head and there was very little meat unless you got lucky and caught a good sized one.  Just for clarity, what a person in town and especially a land development expert call a lake is really a pond.

In particular we had a pond straight east of the  house half way up the hill.  That pond never went dry and kept the cattle watered year round but it was also useful for a lot more fun.  Of course we fished there a lot, Larry and me.  I don't know why but Debbie never seemed to like to fish as much.  There was not a single tree around that pond for shade but we would sit there for hours fishing and for the most part CATCHING which is what I liked most.  Luckily Dad and Mom did not mind that Larry and I would take a package of liver out of the freezer and use it for bait.  They just did not like liver so if you were in a hurry to go fishing it was an easy choice.  The bad thing about that liver was it got messy on your hands and was very sticky but the good thing was it was frozen when we started and thawed out nicely as the day wore on.  I suppose we fished there hundreds of times.

The most important thing about that pond is that it watered the cattle but fishing was number two.  Believe it or not we also used it for swimming.  That pond was always muddy looking and when you swam in it your suit was going to get stained brown.  The best part was about one foot below the surface the water was cold compared to the hot air and the top one foot of water was warm and I am going to guess close to body temperature.  During those hot summers in the Osage it was refreshing.  Another thing you might not know and you had to have a little courage or just not know the risk but the bottom of that pond was at least a foot think of silt and mud.  Your feet would feel refreshed in that the mud was very cool but it created a suction when you tried to lift your feet.  We would get in mud fights by grabbing mud from the bottom of the pond and chucking it at each other.  I remember one time the Shumates came out and went  swimming in the pond with us.  Of course we had mud fights until someone got hurt or just screamed so much that Mom shut us down.  Great times.

Now the other incredible thing I liked but also complained about the most was the pond during winter.  You see during the winter we would have to chop ice every day for the cows to drink.  As winter wore on the ice got thicker and the ice that was piled on top of the ice made it worse so you better pay attention to where you put the large chunks of ice when you opened up the water for the cattle.  It was always interesting to watch the cows wade thought the frozen mud and get to the fresh water during the winter.  I never saw a cow get stuck or even seem to be cold from the frozen mud and ice.  In fact you could see ice hanging on their hair all over their backs and it did not seem to bother them.

The part I did like about the frozen pond was playing hockey on the ice.  Larry and I would make hockey sticks shaped like a T upside down.  We would take a chunk of ice for a puck and go after it.  Generally it went pretty well as Larry most often beat me and of course he was four years older so he had an advantage.  But one time we got a little too close to each other and I swung at the puck and hit Larry in the mouth.  He was bleeding like a stuck hog.  Not Good!  But those were great times in the Osage.

What do you learn in the Osage?

  • One little muddy pond can offer a plethora of enjoyment
  • Sometimes when things seem rough in life you have to look for the cool water below to feel refreshed
  • Take your time and enjoy life as you go, make memories with those you love.
  • Don't regret what you should have done.
Thanks for your time,
gary@thepioneerman.com












1 comment:

Linda said...

You have a lovely blog and your header is beautiful!

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