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IN A PICKLE, MARCH 19, 2015 #1375 by Eddie Trapp

For the record. As of this writing, Sunday, March 15, 2015, we have had no strong south winds. Very unusual for mid-March. Due to many soaking rains the ground is as wet as it can be. Only two days of sunshine in seems like a month. Mud, mud, mud. Makes it very hard for walking, or even riding four wheelers. Temperatures have been moderate though, allowing some snakes to come out. Recently, Ivan Iftink and Michael Woodring from Missouri hog hunted with us and came upon a large coach whip snake. Coach whips are related to the “blue racers” and “black racers.” Very fast and our longest snake, getting up to eight feet long. Aggressive. They will bite and in rare cases even chase a person. The coach whip is our only snake that changes colors from head to tail. On adults the head/neck is darker than the tail which is usually chalky white. Sometimes, as with the one we found, the head is red or pink.

Recently a conversation drifted to drinking milk while eating fish. Some old timers say it will kill you. When Jean’s grandmother went to Baylor Hospital they served her fish and milk. Jean don’t remember if she drank the milk or ate the fish but she definitely didn’t do both. Apparently this myth goes to prehistoric times in various forms since some sources say mixing milk and meat will harm you. How many of you have heard your parents or grandparents mention the milk/fish story?

Later in the discussion someone was said to be “in a pickle.” Most people have heard that and know it means being in a tight spot or in trouble. “Pickle” comes from the Dutch/German word, pikel, which means something favorable and good tasting. Originally pickle only referred to “a spicy, good tasting, vinegary sauce.” The word goes back as far at least to 1440 when it was mentioned in The Morte Arthure which tells of King Arthur’s gory diet. “He dines all season on seven rascal children, chopped, in a bowl of white silver, with pickle and precious spices.” Only in the 1600’s did “pickle” have anything to do with cucumbers.

As mentioned above, Ivan and Michael hunted hogs with us last week. Michael had to go back to Missouri but Saturday Ivan and I fished Cooper Lake in the north wind and rain. Swift water coming in the lake by South Sulphur was just too much to resist. Normally the current makes the fish bite better. Saturday we did not get too many bites and only caught a seven pound blue. Up near Lane 4 we met three guys that had a fifteen pound blue. Fishermen always need to have a list of excuses before they go fishing. Ours today included: Water still too cold. Fish not moved out of the main lake yet. North wind kept them from biting. Raining. Too windy.

From my ledger. March 28, 1987. Saturday. After spending last night by the river near Longridge I saw Houston Elmore going across the pasture to check and rebait his lines. I got in my boat and paddled up river to talk with him. For bait he had two dozen goldfish bought in Sulphur Springs south of the Co-op at Thompson’s Bait Shop. Houston and I talked about Poss Simpson passing away. Houston said the family came to Charleston from Sulphur Bluff about 1936. Houston talked of working on the farm for twelve hours a day for $1.50 a day. Got tired of it and went to Colorado working in a CC camp for fifty cents an hour. Decided then he would never go back to farming. As I left Houston to go roll up my trotlines he was tying three, gallon milk jugs on his belt in case his boat turned over. The river banks were too boggy to pull my boat out so I left it tied, planning to float to Red Branch at Kensing some time.

Got back to Charleston about noon and found a group gathered around the bed of Dean Houchins’ pickup. Lane George had killed a rattlesnake, left it by the road, told Dean where it was, and Dean fetched it to the store. Dean was going to throw it away and I asked for it to tan the skin. I told Dean a guy came to visit Steve Ingram the day before and hunted for rattlesnakes but found none. Dean had just seen a pickup at Steve’s and we figured it was same one. It was the same guy, Robert, from Sulphur Springs. Robert got excited when he saw the snake and offered Dean $20 for it. Dean forgot about already giving it to me and said, “Pay me.” I skinned it head and all for Robert. Dean later split the twenty dollars with me.
March 29, 1987. Sunday. Snowed and sleeted last night. Ground covered. In afternoon burned brush where I been piling tree work limbs east of Cooper. Robert and Ken Wright came by and visited. Talked about the weather. Robert said Finnell Johnson told one time of a late cold spell that killed cotton about a foot tall. Thought it was 1954. Later, Jean and I went to visit Ma and talked about the unusually cold weather. Ma did not remember the 1954 cold spell but said when Sue (my mama) was about five years old the peach trees had one inch diameter peaches on April 2. A norther hit, the peaches turned black, and fell off the tree. Said she remembered because it was her mama’s (Little Grandma) birthday. To be continued.
Bob Hope one liners: Culture is being able to describe Jane Russell without using your hands. I thought about running for the presidency but my wife said she didn’t want to move into a smaller house. Watergate gave dirty politics a bad name. When they asked Jack Benny to do something for the Actors Orphanage he killed his parents and moved in. Bigamy is where two “rites” make a wrong.
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