Sunday, October 11, 2009

To Get To The Other Side...??

Very early one morning back in the 1950s, I drove out north of Beaumont to Pine Island Bayou. The sun was not yet up but I could see the rim of dawn preparing to make her grand entrance.

I rented an old row boat and tied up to a bridge piling. That bridge crossed over a slough just off the bayou on Cooks’ Lake Road.

As the sun began to ascend, the mist covering the waters seemd to linger, not willing to let go. However, as light became more distinct, the reluctant mist began to lift, eventually fading into nothingness. The old-timers explained that the mist “burned off” as the sun became warmer.

Anyway I sat there in my boat preparing to fish. Underneath that bridge was ideal for catching sun perch and an occasional white perch. The “Suns” liked worms while the “Whites” seemed to prefer yellow-feather lures. Don’t ask me why. I just knew that different fish went for different baits. Maybe that is where I learned a meaning of the phrase, “If it works, go for it.”

But while the foregoing was taking place, something happened that still lingers in my mind. In fact it prompted this column.

A water moccasin some three feet in length slithered to the bayou bank not far from my boat. I watched him for several minutes. He was just sitting there or I should say lying there. Snakes can’t sit I suppose. After a bit, the moccasin eased into the water and swam across the bayou.

This presented a question to my 16-year-old mind. Why did that snake cross the bayou? Reminded me of the chicken that crossed the road. But this new question of the snake crossing the bayou was a new challenge.

You see, there were plenty of frogs and lizards. The snake could have had full-course meals anytime on my side of the bayou.

This started me to thinking. Why do living creatures always have to go places? Even people have to go places. We go to work. We go home. We go to church and/or to the golf course. We go shopping. At least my wife does and oh, does she ever go shopping. I think that is her mental therapy. When she gets into a shopping mall, she grows very calm. It seems to reduce her stress levels. When I go with her it seems to increase my stress levels. But I digress.

I know for a fact that every day in Houston, more than one million cars travel on Highway 59. That’s not counting the million or so that travel on I-45 and I-10. Everyone has to be someplace other than where they are.

We go to bed and hopefully go to sleep. Rarely do I get to go on a vacation but when I do get to go, I go. Numerous pages could be filled with places where everyone must go.

I am just thankful that we have the word “go” in our English vocabulary. We would have many problems expressing ourselves otherwise.

Then while mulling over all of this I saw a snake in the water heading over to my side of the bayou from the other side. It turned out to be a water moccasin about three feet in length. He slithered right back to where he had been before. Maybe he went out to eat. Or perhaps he visited with a snake friend. Could he have gone shopping? I’ll never know.

I only know that I caught a nice batch of perch then realized that it was time to go home.

I really didn’t go to write this much about an old snake swimming across the bayou.

But I did.

Winston Hamby


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