Spiders Big Catch


When I was in college, Spider McGee, Charlie Fox, and I loved to fish off the log boom in the river near my house on summer afternoons. We'd sit and talk about life, drink hot chocolate, and occasionally catch a fish or two. But one day, Spider yelled, "Hey, I got something, and it feels big!"

Catching any fish-of any size-was always a surprise, but hooking something big was reason for genuine excitement. As Spider began to reel, his pole bent almost in half.

"This thing is a monster," he said, the drag on his reel screaming.

After twenty minutes or so, he'd gotten it close enough to the boom to get a glimpse of his catch. It was a snapping turtle.

"Ah, man, that's too bad," said Charlie. "I thought maybe you had Old Granddad there, for a second. Cut the line and let him go."

"Are you crazy?" said Spider. "That lure was given to my dad by his grandfather. It was hand-carved in Norway-and he doesn't even know I borrowed it! I gotta get it back."

"Well, how're you gonna do that?" I asked-and was soon sorry I had.

"I'll just bring him up to the edge of the boom, and you guys reach out and grab it," Spider said calmly.

Now, I'm dumb, but I'm not stupid.

I said, "No, no, no-you bring him to the edge of the boom, and then I'll try to pry the lure loose with a stick."

"OK, that'll work," said Spider.

As Spider struggled to bring the turtle close to the edge of the boom, Charlie handed me a long stick. I reached out, and the turtle's jaws instantly clamped down on the stick. I lifted him out of the water, and we headed toward the bank.

Once on shore, we set the angry turtle on the ground, but he refused to let go of the stick, the lure still dangling from the corner of his mouth. I reached out with my tennis shoe to nudge him in the back, and instantly learned several interesting things about snapping turtles. First, they're not as slow as you might think, second, they're very agile, and third, they're well-named.

In a heartbeat, the turtle's neck shot out, reached completely behind him, and bit through the end of my sneaker. Then, spitting out rubber and nylon, he turned and looked at us menacingly.

"OK, we need a new plan," said Spider.

"And a new pair of shoes," I added, looking down at my big toe, which was now plainly visible through the hole in my shoe.

"You hold his head down with the stick, and I'll reach out and grab the lure," Spider said.

It was an insane plan, but it was still a step in the right direction, I thought. At least, there wouldn't be any parts of my anatomy at risk this time. I took the stick and pinned the turtle's head to the ground while Spider got down on his belly and crept slowly toward the angry, struggling turtle.

It was then I learned even more lessons about snapping turtles. First, their front feet can be used a lot like a pair of hands, and second, snapping turtles are much stronger than you might think.

The turtle reached up and quickly pushed the stick away and quickly raised his head-now leaving him face-to-face with a very surprised Spider McGee.

The big guy screamed, which was probably the best thing to do at the time, since it caused the startled turtle to reach up with a front foot, pop the lure from its mouth, and then it whirl around and head back toward the river.

While all that was going on, the lure leapt through the air and finally came to rest-firmly lodged in Spider's left ear. He danced around in pain, but we finally managed to pin him down and cut the line from the lure. Then we packed up and loaded him into the car.

All the way home, Charlie and I would occasionally look back at poor Spider, sitting like a sad puppy in the back seat and wearing what looked like a giant hand-carved, bug-eyed earring. Then we'd look at each other-and laugh.

All that happened more than 30 years ago, and although Spider didn't know it at the time, he was a trendsetter. He was the first guy I ever knew to wear an earring, even if he'd had to get his ear pierced by a snapping turtle to do it.

I'm pretty sure they have easier ways of doing that nowadays.

From the book Spider's Big Catch
Gary E. Anderson
www.abciowa.com" target="_new">www.abciowa.com

© Gary E. Anderson. All rights reserved.

About The Author

Gary Anderson is a freelance writer, editor, ghostwriter, and manuscript analyst, living on a small Iowa farm. He's published more than 500 articles and four books. He's also ghosted a dozen books, edited more than 30 full-length manuscripts, produced seven newsletters, and has done more than 800 manuscript reviews for various publishers around the nation. If you need writing or editing help, visit Gary's website at www.abciowa.com" target="_new">www.abciowa.com.

abciowa@alpinecom.net


MORE RESOURCES:
David Lagercrantz, who continued Stieg Larsson's Milllennium series after the latter's death in 2004, has stated that he will write just one more book in the series, to be released in 2019. This would bring the series to six books - three by Larsson and three by Lagercrantz.

In an op ed for the New York Times, Matt A.V. Chaban, policy director for the Center for an Urban Future, discusses how libraries in New York City, and potentially, in cities across the country, could find much needed funds to modernize and stay relevant for the long term through partnerships with housing and office developments:

"In 2014, the city selected the Fifth Avenue Committee to undertake the novel task of redeveloping the Sunset Park branch. There, an eight-story building will rise, with the first two floors dedicated to a library 75 percent larger than the one there now. The floors above will have 49 apartments, all of which will be rented to low- and middle-income families in perpetuity.

Imagine if the city did the same at the branch in Corona, Queens, where cramped quarters force study groups to huddle on the floor; or Red Hook, Brooklyn, where families from the nearby housing projects are eager for more job training; or Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, where rising sea levels and storms like Sandy threaten its very operations."

Two TV series based on books scooped the top honors at last night's Emmy Awards:

The Handmaid's Tale won five awards including best drama series, best actress for Elisabeth Moss and best supporting actress for Ann Dowd.

Big Little Lies took five prizes in the limited series categories, including wins for Nicole Kidman and Laura Dern.

James Hohmann, national political correspondent for The Washington Post and author of The Daily 202, leads Monday's issue with a look at the many books Hillary Clinton turned to after her election loss:

"What Happened was quickly strip-mined for political nuggets after its publication last Tuesday. As I went through it over the weekend, though, what struck me most was how the wounded Democrat coped after her crushing defeat last November.

In short, Clinton has read voraciously and eclectically — for escape, for solace and for answers.

The collection of works that she cites across 494 pages showcases a top-flight intellect and would make for a compelling graduate school seminar..."

The widow and the biographer of the beloved British children's writer Roald Dahl told the BBC in an interview this week that Charlie Bucket, the young boy whose life is changed by a golden ticket in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, was originally supposed to be black.

Mrs. Dahl made the remark during a conversation with Donald Sturrock, her husband's biographer, on BBC Radio 4's "Today" program. "It was his agent who thought it was a bad idea when the book was first published to have a black hero," Mr. Sturrock said. "She said people would ask why."

After a nine month dispute, Manhattan's Federal District Court has ruled that Matthew Lombardo's theatrical parody, Who's Holiday! — a dark and decidedly adult sequel of sorts to Dr Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas — does not violate the copyright of the original story.

Politico reports on how America's high school English teachers are adapting curriculum to the current political climate:

After watching the tumult of the 2016 presidential election play out inside their classrooms last year, and after a summer of hate-filled violence, many are retooling the reading lists and assignments they typically give their students. They worry that the classic high school canon doesn't sufficiently cover today's most pressing themes—questions about alienation and empathy and power—and that the usual writing prompts aren't enough to get students thinking deeper than an average cable news segment...

Stephen King's record-breaking horror film "It" may already be a hit with audiences, but one group is not celebrating the success of the latest adaptation of Stephen King's novel: clowns.

For a community already struggling to combat perceptions of clowns as scary rather than fun, the emergence of Pennywise, the movie's child-killing clown villain, played by Swedish actor Bill Skarsgard is truly the stuff of nightmares. Even before the film's release the World Clown Association was warning that the film could cause its members to lose work, even going as far as publishing a press kit to prepare clowns for the damaging effects It might have on their reputations.

The many sides of one of the UK's most beloved fantasy authors are reflected in an exhibition called Terry Pratchett: HisWorld, which opened this weekend at Salisbury Museum, not far from Terry Pratchett's Wiltshire (UK) "manorette" where he died in March 2015.

The memorabilia is as eclectic as the author's writing, from his first typewriter – a manual Imperial 58 bought secondhand for £14 – to his trademark leather jacket and Louisiana fedora.

The $1.2 trillion FY2018 budget bill (H.R. 3354), which passed by a 211-198 margin, includes full funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), including all programs administered under the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), as well as the Department of Education's Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program.

The vote comes after the House Appropriations Committee in July approved a Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) funding bill which proposed roughly $231 million for the IMLS, including $183.6 million for LSTA, programs, and $27 million for IAL—essentially level with 2017 funding. In addition, the bill passed yesterday also increased funding for the National Library of Medicine by $6 million.

In addition to voting to preserve federal library funding, the House bill also would save the National Endowments for the Arts, and Humanities, which are funded as part of the FY2018 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill.

The House vote caps an intense lobbying effort, and comes after President Trump in May doubled down on his call to eliminate the IMLS and virtually all federal funding for libraries, as well as a host of other vital programs and agencies.....

thatware.org ©