Time off well received

Published 6:27 am Wednesday, July 26, 2006

By By Janet Little Cooper
The last column I wrote was in late June. It was about Swift Lumber's family fishing day at the mill and my earliest recollections of fishing.
A hectic schedule and time restraints have kept me from writing my weekly column since then, but today, my first week back from vacation, I am rested and ready to fill the space once more.
It seemed as if everything that could have happened in Atmore – happened while I was relaxing on the snow-white sandy beaches of Navarre Beach, Fla.
Since I wasn't in town to experience any of those happenings first hand, I am left with no choice but to share with you what I did experience while on vacation.
This was the first vacation that my boys and I had ever taken together. We rented a townhouse on the sound directly across the street from the main beach in Navarre.
We had a choice of swimming in the sound, the pool or the gulf. Needless to say, we hit all three on numerous occasions.
It was almost like playing musical chairs to see which body of water we could get to the fastest.
All three were perfect; except for the day my oldest son and one of his friends released two full-grown blue crabs and a fish in the swimming pool.
Even though it was after the fact, at least they told me. Someone else got to the sea creatures before the boys had a chance to retrieve them however.
We had one fisherman in our group who kept us occupied with his daily catches from the townhouse pier.
I wanted to join in, but as I told you in my last column, I can't fish with a rod and reel. I can only fish with a cane pole so I resorted to another type of fishing – catching blue crabs.
My enthusiasm over crabbing was in part to blame for the swimming pool incident. I had allowed and even participated in a crab race the night before in the living room, on an all tile floor, before cleaning the crab to eat.
On that particular night myself and my two sons and two friends waded into the bay waters, up to our knees at times, with a flashlight and a net in search of the fascinating little creatures.
I had done this on several occasions before, but no one else had. I am pretty confident that my children will never forget that night.
It is a wonder that we caught as many as we did with all the screaming and splashing that was going on.
We ended up with a little over a dozen crabs that night using $1 butterfly nets to scoop them up. Just imagine what we might have caught if we would have had real fishing nets.
We did have one genuine fishing net, but had to call on each other for back up when we went for a crab with the flimsy butterfly net.
At one point, we had five mature crabs cornered and everyone went in with their butterfly nets and all, and missed every last one of them. But the five crabs did not miss us; in their mad dash to get away they crawled over our feet sending us jumping through the still waters.
One of our friends said that was enough to make him walk on water just as Jesus did!
The boy's also learned that $1 Dollar General brand flashlights are waterproof! At least for short periods of time and I learned that cell phones are not – especially when it is salt water!
Thankfully, we were able to catch enough crab in our basket off the pier and our late night excursions in the bay to have two different crab boils.
We would have had one more crab to add to the bunch on our last night at the beach, had he not latched onto one of our friend's hand with his claws. I don't think he ever knew what hit him, the crab that is.
The fishing wasn't all that great, but the crabs were definitely running which gave my boys and me a unique experience to share.
They learned how to catch, clean, cook and eat the delicious treat. I also taught them how to put a crab to sleep or to at least temporarily paralyze him. They had fun with that one once they got the courage up and until their friend got his hand pinched. He obviously didn't rub the crab's belly long enough!
From attempting to walk our pet cat, Junior, on a dog lease down the beach, (that's another story for another day!) to three 14-year-old boys (my son included) attempting to cross the sound in an inflatable boat, we discovered that vacation is a wonderful thing and we are already booking the same spot for next summer only this time for 10 days instead of seven!
Janet Little Cooper is editor of the Atmore Advance. She can be reached at 368-2123.

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