Sunday, August 28, 2011

Gators

Yesterday's hurricane post brought back lots of memories of life in the low country of South Carolina.  I was reminded of a misadventure with an alligator. Yes! We had alligators in the coastal area of SC. Having lived in New York most of my life, it was truly exciting to see the gators sunning themselves on the banks of lagoons (so... when does a pond get renamed a lagoon? Does it have to do with latitude or attitude?)! Living with gators is a novel experience for this transplanted yankee. (You do know the difference between a yankee and a 'damn yankee', do you not? A yankee is a person who comes to the south to visit, and then returns home. A damn yankee is a person who comes to the south to visit.... and stays!)


Jeannie was also from NY. She and I began our teaching careers together and formed a quick bond, having much in common. Jeannie's parents came for a visit and of course, whenever yankees came down to visit the sultry south, it was customary to take them out to see an alligator. Jeannie knew of the perfect spot to catch sight of one of these prehistoric-looking beasts. They walked to the bank of a small outlet for a lagoon pond and sure enough, there was the beast they were stalking, probably within 10 feet of where they were standing. He was a magnificent speciman. Easily 5' in length, from the tip of his knobby nose to the last little spike on his powerful tail. As they watched, the alligator flung his tail to the left. He ground his tail to the right. He opened his large mouth, filled with razor-sharp teeth, and he closed his mouth. Jeannie's parents were duly impressed. The alligator swung his tail to the left. He swished his tail to the right. He opened his large mouth, as wide as could be, and he closed his mouth. Jeannie's parents were in awe. Imagine living in a place where alligators sunned themselves beside the water just as red-earred turtles sun themselves on logs. The alligator pitched his tail to the left. He rolled his tail to the right. He opened his large mouth, you could actually see down his throat, and he closed his mouth. Jeannie's father began to smell a rat. This just couldn't be. Alligators are things you see in zoos, or in movies, not living in the wild. Not like this. Not just....there, in front of you! The alligator wagged his tail to the left. He scraped his tail to the right. He opened his large mouth, you could almost hear a hissing sound, and he closed his mouth. Jeannie's father continued to puzzle over this enigma. Then.... he noticed the smallest wire coming out of the corner of the alligator's mouth. The alligator cranked his tail to the left. He shoved his tail to the right. He opened his large mouth, so very wide, and he closed his mouth. Jeannie's father exclaimed, "Ah hah! This isn't a real alligator, this is a Disney creation." As he took a step forward he continued, "See, there's a wire coming from his mouth." Her dad grabbed the wire. Jeannie stared in horror. The alligator lunged. Her dad ran. This, dear readers, was not a Disney creation. This was, in fact, a real, live, honest-to-goodness, stinking mad alligator who had swallowed a fish...hook, line and sinker! And Jeannie's dad had just tugged on a line that was attached to that fish, hook and all, some place waaayyyy down in the Alligator's craw. Alligators, despite their bulky, ungainly appearance, can run very fast for short distances on land. Jeanie's father could run faster! He escaped the mighty jaws of the beast, but will be forever memorialized in the tale that both Jeanie and I love to tell. I hope you enjoyed my story as well!

5 comments:

  1. I wonder how fast I could run....I hope fast enough!

    Linda
    http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

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  2. Oh my!
    Terry at Moondance

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  3. Hilarious! I bet he doesn't pull any more "wires"

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  4. Oh yeah, that is a great story. Now I'm going to have nightmares.

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