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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Walking With Jackie the Ripper

Thursday, October 2, 2003

Did you hear the one about the fisherman who had two small sons, Toward and Away?

One morning he took both boys out in the boat with him and when he returned home in the late afternoon he excitedly told his wife, "Lucy, you should have seen the monster of a fish we pulled up today. It was five feet long, had little legs like a caterpillar and crawled around just like a lizard. Before I could do a thing it grabbed Toward and swallowed him in one awful gulp."

"Oh, that's terrible," Lucy sobbed. "What an unbelievable tragedy."

"That's only part of it," he said, holding his head and groaning. "You should have seen the one that got Away!"

I don't like to fish (I love to eat them!), but I do enjoy fish stories. Jackie and I have recently moved to a part of the world which abounds with both fish and fish stories. Often we walk to the beautiful Spring River, which is not far from our new home, and watch the fisher people pull in the trout which seem to be plentiful there.

Jackie, like most small dogs, just absolutely loves to find anything dead and play around in it. One day she came upon the smelly remains of a trout and before I could stop her she had ripped it open and was examining the stomach contents, which were unusual to say the least.

Do you by chance remember the childhood tale called "The Steadfast Tin Soldier"? The main character was a little one-legged metal man who fell in love with a beautiful stuck-up ballerina who lived on top of a mirror and stood all day long on one leg. The soldier, not understanding the ways of ballet, thought since they were both handicapped he might stand a chance with the lovely creature, but alas, such was not the case. She scorned him mightily.

The tragedy ended when she got burned up, accidentally, in the stove, and he fell out the window into a rain gutter. The run-off carried him to a nearby river, whereupon he was swallowed up by a great fish, caught by a professional fisherman, purchased by the cook of the household we have been talking about, and she proceeded to cut it up for supper.

Just imagine if you can, the astonishment of the cook who had wondered all afternoon what in the world happened to the little tin soldier, when she cut the stomach open and there he was, little, if any, the worse for his experience.

Well, I sorta know she felt. Jackie's fish had indeed been feeding upon unusual food, which included but was not limited to, a hummingbird's beak, what appeared to be a small portion of a coyote ear and 69 cents in change.

We kept the change.