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:
In a decision handed down by the U.S. Trade Representative Tuesday morning, Bibles and other religious books were not included on the first list of products imported from China that would be subjected to 10% tariffs starting September 1. Bible publishers were especially worried about the possibility of tariffs on Bibles made in China, since few printers outside of China have the capability of manufacturing Bibles.

Little, Brown, in conjunction with the estate of J.D. Salinger, announced plans to release e-book editions of Salinger's four works of fiction, marking the first time his books have been available in a digital format.

The release of the four books—The Catcher in the Rye, Nine Stories, Franny and Zooey, and Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour—An Introduction—in e-book editions (with new cover designs) marks a continuing year-long centennial celebration of Salinger's acclaimed works of fiction.

A JRR Tolkien expert working on Amazon's forthcoming multi-series adaptation of Tolkien's work has claimed that Amazon has been refused permission by the estate to use the bulk of the plot from The Lord of the Rings in their $1bn adaptation (predicted to start production in 2020).

Tolkien scholar Tom Shippey, who is supervising the show's development, told German fansite Deutsche Tolkien that the estate has refused to allow the series to be set during any period other than the Second Age of Middle-earth. This means Amazon's adaptation will not cross over at all with events from the Third Age, which were dramatised in Peter Jackson's Oscar-winning trilogy in which the hobbit Frodo Baggins journeys to destroy the One Ring.

Spanning 3,441 years, the Second Age begins after the banishment of the dark lord Morgoth and ends with the first demise of Sauron, Morgoth's servant and the primary villain in The Lord of the Rings, at the hands of an alliance of elves and men.

In The Washington Post, eight black women share their thoughts on the life and work of Toni Morrison, including Michelle Obama:

"..For me and for so many others, Toni Morrison was that first crack in the levee — the one who freed the truth about black lives, sending it rushing out into the world. She showed us the beauty in being our full selves, the necessity of embracing our complications and contradictions. And she didn't just give us permission to share our own stories; she underlined our responsibility to do so. She showed how incomplete the world's narrative was without ours in it..."

Elliott Advisors has completed its purchase of Barnes & Noble. The acquisition was officially completed when more than 81% of B&N's shares were tendered by the August 6 deadline.

As a result of the deal, B&N becomes a private company controlled by the private equity firm Elliott Advisors, which also owns the U.K. bookstore chain Waterstones. As a result of the acquisition, for which Elliott paid $6.50 per share in a deal valued at $683 million, James Daunt, head of Waterstones, will run both the U.K. chain and B&N. B&N founder Len Riggio will have no formal role in company.

Toni Morrison, the 1993 Nobel laureate in literature, whose acclaimed, best-selling work explored black identity in America and in particular the experience of black women, died on Monday in the Bronx. She was 88.

Her death, at Montefiore Medical Center, was announced by her publisher, Alfred A. Knopf. A spokeswoman said the cause was complications of pneumonia. Ms. Morrison lived in Grand View-on-Hudson, N.Y.

President Trump announced yesterday afternoon that he is prepared to impose 10% tariffs on $300 billion worth of goods imported from China in retaliation for what he views as China's failure to follow through on promises to buy more agricultural products from the U.S. and to stop the flow of Fentanyl into the country. The tariffs would be imposed on September 1, and would cover a wide range of consumer products, including virtually all books.

The new tariff threat comes a little more than a month after Trump suspended plans to place 25% tariffs on the same group of products (referred to by the U.S. Trade Representative as List 4) after trade talks with China resumed...

The author of a bestselling Christian guide to relationships for young people has announced that his marriage is over and he has lost his faith.

Joshua Harris, whose biblical guide to relationships I Kissed Dating Goodbye sold nearly 1m copies around the world after it was published in 1997, has also apologized to LGBT+ people for contributing to a "culture of exclusion and bigotry".

Colin A. Palmer, a historian who broadened the understanding of the African diaspora, showing that the American slave trade was only one part of a phenomenon that spanned centuries and influenced cultures worldwide, died on June 20 in Kingston, Jamaica. He was 75.

More than a year after imposing a controversial four month "test" embargo on new release e-books in libraries from its Tor imprint, Macmillan announced today that it will now impose a two month embargo on library e-books across all of the company's imprints.

Under the publisher's new digital terms of sale for libraries, "library systems" will be now be allowed to purchase a single—that is, one—perpetual access e-book during the first eight weeks of publication for each new Macmillan release, at half price ($30). Additional copies will then be available at full price (generally $60 for new releases) after the eight-week window has passed. All other terms remain the same...

Macmillan is now the fourth Big Five publisher to change its terms for digital content in libraries in recent months—but its changes, and the views expressed by Macmillan CEO John Sargent, are by far the most unique and contentious of the group. In a July 25 memo (addressed to authors, illustrators, and agents), Sargent not only delivered the news of Macmillan's library e-book changes, he basically called out libraries for depressing author payments...

thatware.org ©