Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Gator Moments

I bet the lady who strolled into her kitchen just the other day to
get a fresh cup of coffee will entertain her family and friends for a
a long time as she recounts the 6 foot, 230 pound gator lounging on
the floor. I guess it was just hungry and decided the smell was just
right for breakfast. I wonder how he got in? It's not like they can
slide under the door. If I was that lady, I'd be sure to gator proof
the doors. Can you imagine the shock and horror, not to mention the
FEAR, when she saw that huge ancient reptilian animal in her
kitchen? What does one say in that situation? "Hey, wanna cup of
joe?" or "If I had known you were coming, I would have gotten you
some chicken?"

What I found really side splitting is the question by the 911
operator. "Are you sure it's not a big lizard?" Big lizard, indeed.
Most people who live in gator country don't have a problem telling a
lizard from a gator. I know I never had any problems with that when
I was down in gator country or at Georgia's Swampland in the south
part of the state.

I've got two personal gator encounters on the tip of my tongue. One
was down in south GA at the Okeefeenokee Swamp about 30 years ago.
We had gone to visit the swamp and learn more of nature. Well, you
know they've got these big gators down there that just kind of roam
around on their own. Roaming around with those beady eyes staring
intently on you. We watched some brain dead parents allow their two
young gator sized meal youngins taunt a big boy. And by big boy, I
don't mean one with two feet. No sir, it was about a 12 or 13 ft
menacing looking gator who was intent on watching the kids. Watching
and slowly stalking the kids. The kids were taunting, the gator was
slowing stalking, and the park rangers were standing there with their
guns on their hips. Well, daddy and my brother's wife were watching
this free show while the rest of us were in the snake house learning
about how dangerous those slithery critters can be.

Meanwhile, the park rangers were trying to get the gator's attention
off of the youngins. Daddy decided it might be best if he and sister-
by-marriage crossed over the bridge to the side where the gator
wasn't. He thought it might be a little safer over there. After
they crossed the bridge, the mightily relieved sweating sister-by-
marriage said she was glad to put some distance between them and the
gator. Daddy, of course, said, "I already did that." When she
looked confused, he continued, "Didn't you notice that I put you
between the gator and me?"

What happened to that gator on that particular day? The park finally
convinced the brain dead parents that the ignoramus youngins had to
leave the area and then the rangers successfully got the gator back
to where they wanted him. We did hear later that the big boy had to
be put down since he was becoming too aggressive with the paying
customers to the swamp. Guess, that would be bad for business and all.

Another gator story that happened a little further north in
Georgia--- still about 30 years ago. There was a state park where
we used to go camping. That was in the days when daddy could
actually get away from the phone. No cell phones, doncha know. We
were camping and had our canoe with us. Daddy and I had taken our
poodle, the one named Killer, on the canoe for a ride and. later, a
swim. The park rangers came upon us on the water. They suggested we
leave the water immediately. Why? Clear blue skies. We weren't
breaking any laws.

It seems as if the original owner of the lake had gone down to
Florida and bought some baby gators back. He stocked his lake with
gators as an effort to keep the locals from trespassing on his land
and fishing in the lake. Now, I don't know when the state acquired
the lake and surrounding area for a state park, however, i do know
the state couldn't touch those gators. Something about endangered
species and all. So, there were these gators between 8-14 feet just
patrolling the lake. Since small dogs are known to be gator bait,
the rangers had us leave the lake. They just didn't want us to
attract the gators and have us end up being their dinner.

We did leave the water, and we did see the gators on shore as we were
heading back to land. I was so upset that we ended up leaving the
waterfront campsite we had. Something about gators visiting us for
dinner, guests or otherwise, made us all a little nervous. The
rangers came by later to tell us they had herded the gators back up
to the north end of the lake.

Now, I wonder HOW did they do that? How does one herd a gator? How
does one get a gator's attention off his intended meal?

I still think they look their best when I'm carrying them on my arm
stuffed with my personal stuff. I think that's a better stuffing for

Enjoy this beautiful weather! I haven't heard of gator hunting
around these parts, have you?

Till later,
Miss Etta

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