Monday, March 21, 2011

Mud Puppies

“When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.” Luke 5:6-7

Ok, so I read The Frugal Girl’s blog, because I too am a tightwad and us tightwads need to stick together. Her son, Joshua, is following in her footsteps and has started a 365 project, which is where you post a picture every day for a year with maybe a little explanation of it or whatever. Just something short. I think her son is 12 or so. He’s encouraged by comments, as any blogger is.

Anyway, yesterday he had this post.


I don’t even know how to say that.


I don’t know.

I know them as Mud Puppies.

You see, I was once quite the river rat with my stepdad. Just another facet of my life you had no idea about, huh?

We used to hop in the flat bottom boat and run up and down the Neosho River and run trot lines and fish for drum. I remember how the “shad” used to flip up out of the water. I remember the drum fish making those little rocks in their head vibrate near dusk and they were really loud. How do I know they have rocks in their heads? Because I used to dig them out! And KEEP them!

Gross, I know.

I caught a 17 pound catfish on my trot line one year. And I had to clean it! They put my picture in the local paper. I had a bad perm and a giant fish. I think I was in fifth grade.

I once won “Smallest Fish” at a fishing derby. The fish on the trophy was bigger than the fish I caught. Made the paper again. Same bad perm. Might have been the same year.

We also used to go “camping” out on the sand bars of the river and I used to like to hunt for shells. I don’t know what kind of mollusks lived in the Neosho River, but I can tell you that some of the shells had beautiful pink and purple mother-of-pearl on the inside.

One year we even found a piece of petrified wood. Although I’m not sure whatever happened to it.

We also used to go grasshopper hunting to find the biggest grasshoppers we could find, stick them in a 2-liter plastic pop bottle, and then stick them in the refrigerator. I think the fridge kept them from dying or hopping around too much. Then we would use them for bait on our nightly check of the trot lines. I still remember the black stuff they would spit on me right before I stuck a hook in them. Yikes!

The catfish loved them, or so I was told.

After months and months of catching and cleaning catfish and whatever else we caught, we’d have my stepdad’s whole family over for a fish fry. I remember we filleted my big fish and cut him into “steaks.”

So what does this all have to do with axolotls?

Well, once when I was about 8 years old, my stepdad brought me one home in a bucket, right out of the river. I’d never seen one before (and hadn’t seen one since).

I probably asked to keep it.

I didn’t get to keep it and I remember letting it go back into the river.

And here I am, 34 years old, and I find out that they sell Mud Puppies in some pet stores!

So, thanks to Joshua today for bringing up lots of river and fish memories with his simple picture from the pet store.

I, on the other hand, will not be rushing out to buy an aquarium to get an axolotls myself. I think I’ll just live with the memory of the Mud Puppy in the bucket. That’s enough for me!

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” – Chinese Proverb


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