Frog Gigging


I cannot remember the complete details of how daddy accomplished the deed, but I vividly recall the debacle created when he encouraged mamma to go on the late summer exploration.  Frog gigging, just the name sounded frightening enough to keep me far away from the action, and when I saw the sharp-ended apparatus, I knew I wasn't going to participate in this family adventure.   


But, first we have to go back to the beginning of this chronicle.  Life in Stewart County was decidedly slower during our summer breaks from school; families went on vacation, visited relatives, and hosted family reunions.  The days were so lazy that the businesses downtown closed on Thursday afternoon, and people peacefully perused the once-a-week edition of the community newspaper, The Stewart-Webster Journal. 

Mr. Douglas Sears, a customer of our family owned propane business; still resides near Richland, and is a personality I'll never forget.  Late one afternoon he stopped by the company to pay his account and during the ensuing conversation, he issued an interesting invitation; the fishpond on the family property was generally deserted, and he encouraged daddy to bring the family for an afternoon of recreation.   Before long we were visiting Sears' pond on Thursday and occasionally on Sunday afternoon.  Accordingly, when Mr. Douglas stopped by the fishing-hole, we shared our refreshments while he and daddy exchanged fish tales. 


The picnic and surrounding areas were well tended but down on the narrow end, near where the stream fed into the pond, there was a thicket.  Various aquatic creatures, to include colossal bullfrogs, inhabited the dense undergrowth.  Daddy and my brother David ventured down there several times on foot so when a casual conversation turned to the joys of frog gigging; Mr. Douglas offered the use of his watercraft.  Why in the world mamma agreed to accompany them will forever remain unknown.   


Imagine them rowing near the edge of the water in an aluminum fishing-boat, searching for those loud croaking bullfrogs.  The confusion began when they became entangled in some limbs that were hanging out over the edge, and thump, something heavy landed in the bottom of the boat. 


No one had to communicate the words water moccasin; for some reason it was the first thing that leaped into her mind, and suddenly, in the dark of the evening, mamma shrieked, and over the side of the boat she soared. It has long been questioned how she managed to alight on the shore without soiling her pretty white Keds, but that's the legend that will enduringly be unaltered.     


Brenda S. Brown 


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