Friday, May 30, 2014

How To Grow Minnows

A shorter version of this story is in my book "A TIME AND PLACE A TIME AND PLACEThe Making of an Immigrant." I have expanded the story and it will be published as part of an e-book in the near future.

How To Grow Minnows

In the branch below the dam we caught minnows. On occasion, one could snatch one barehanded by running it into a shallow corner, but most of the time we used a large white handkerchief. We hollowed out a low spot in the stream then stretched out the cloth and pinned it to the stream’s bottom with a few rocks on the corners. We then squatted on each side of the branch. With hands ready at the water’s edge we watched and waited quietly, motionless, until several minnows came to rest in the hollow of the kerchief. In unison and a sudden snap of the corners we pulled up the cloth. Most of the minnows darted out, but often one or two were caught. We quickly added the prized catch to a canning jar filled with water. It took quite a spell for the creek’s water to settle again, but, we had all day.

When the day’s catch reached a half dozen or more, we carried our cache uptown to my friend’s house and to their family bathtub. We filled the tub half full of water then dumped in our catch.

Now the time came, for all participating men, to hunt for food for the obviously underfed fish. If we were to see them grow to any edible size, in the tub? . . . we had to feed them. Well, down to the branch we returned to catch some morsels of food out of the fish’s natural habitat.

Worms, snails, bugs, flies, grasshoppers, and leeches were a good start. The leeches we realized were hard to find. They stuck on slippery algae under the sheet of water running over the pond’s dam. Those critters, kind of orange-red with a jagged sucking cup on one end, would rather stick themselves to our bodies than be shoved into a jar.

Well, we gathered enough food, what we considered, for the minnows in the tub to grow to some good sized fish. It included all the food groups, worms, flies, grasshoppers, bugs, and snails, all stuffed into the glass jar. Uptown we jaunted, and simply dumped the jar full of creepy things into the bathtub.

While the project still dwelled on our minds we’d check on the minnows before the day was done. However, after a few days we found most of the fish food had died in the tub or had merely crawled out to greener pastures. A week or so later, it was reported that the minnows also had croaked.

This gets me wondering, with my now Americanized brain, why did that family have a tub when no one used it for over a week?

As to the extent of our own washing, most days Mom just wiped and rubbed me down with a coarse, damp rag. She swiftly hit a lick around the face and behind the ears, and checked for black-looking sweat rings on the neck. We washed our own feet, followed by a cursory inspection by Mom to make sure the rust was off before we crawled into bed.

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Friday, May 23, 2014

The Washington Butterflies

The Washington Butterflies. What a beautiful, politically correct name for a football team.

You must admit that nobody will be offended by the name. Just think there are enough attributes to the butterfly so every player on the team would be able to emulate at least one.

I can see the football team's players want to flutter like butterflies. Happily dance like them. Butterflies float in the breeze. They are endowed with beautiful colors. They tenderly land on flowers as not to hurt them. Butterflies are not aggressive. They don't need protective gear for they all love each other.

Wouldn't you want to pay $75 to see a football team with an attitude that matches their politically correct name? THE BUTTERFLIES––gentle, soft, all loving.

What fun to sit with people all dressed in pinks and purples, slathered with sunscreen and sipping only 8 oz size drinks.

Because it is an honor to be called a Redskin.

The American Indian is fearless. He has proven to withstand whatever nature throws at him. The American Indian is a warrior. He is strong, cunning and aggressive. He is tough, rugged and resilient.

A football team named The Indians is a refection of their prowess. It is a man thing––after all, we are talking about a man's game.