Monday, May 11, 2009

Memory Lane Mondays

I watched my girls play in the living room not too long ago. They were shrieking and jumping from couch to chair to window (not something we permit-- the jumping). I was about to tell them to cut it out, until I realized what they were playing: the floor was water-, filled with imaginary sharks and they had to leap from surface to surface to keep from being eaten by a shark. I decided to join in and play, helping them with shark-spotting and telling them how to make a raft to get to the chair further away.

Oh this brought back such memories for me! When we lived in southern Louisiana, the land of swamps and gators, my sister and I used to do the same thing, except we imagined the floor to be swamps, filled with hungry alligators! We played for what seemed like hours and we'd shriek and pull each other back from the snapping jaws of an alligator just in time.

My mom got bit by an alligator. We took our visiting uncle to an alligator farm and the "farmer" took us in his big flat-bottomed boat through the "farm", a huge swamp, and showed us the gators. He knew them all by name, the young ones and old ones and they would swim towards the boat when they saw us coming. Mr. Farmer brought out a 5-gallon bucket of chicken parts, stuck pieces on the end of a long pole, then passed it to people who wanted to feed a gator. You're supposed to keep all body parts, arms and legs, inside the boat, and when I went to take my turn to feed an alligator, both of my arms were sticking way out over the rails so I could feed one. When it was my sister's turn, her arms up to her elbows were over the rail. When it was Mom's turn, she only had her hands over the rail, but it was just enough for a sneaky little juvenile gator to come up from underneath the boat and lunge up to take a bite out of Mom!

When the gator grabbed Mom's hand, it's grip slipped when she let go of the pole and the teeth left a long gash on Mom's fingers. There happened to be a doctor or someone with a medical background (I can't remember now) on the boat and her hand got looked at and then the tour was quickly over, the boat turned around, so we could go to the Hospital. Mom was ok. We were told she was lucky it was only a juvenile alligator, because a full-grown one? Well, she could have either lost her hand or have been pulled overboard and being surrounded by hungry gators? That would have been very bad.

Not too many people can say they have been bitten by an alligator. For years afterwards, relatives would send alligator-related items to Mom, and she would shudder and get rid of it. My sister grew to love alligators and started collecting alligator items. It's faded now, but you can still see the long scar on her finger.


Keri said...

WOW. My mouth is just agape...what a story! You have so many good stories! I look forward to Mondays now! ;)

Teeeeeena said...

Heya.. what a hoot we had pretending we were in the bayou on our canoe with alligators all around when in reality we were on the sofa shrieking at the cats.The cats were alligators. We had several cats and they helped make it more exciting otherwise we d be just drifting along.LOL
Grinning... sis

JoeinVegas said...

Let's hope the sharks don't catch one of the girls by the foot.

Sparx said...

you know, even though it was years ago and I knew you and your sister didn't get bit, I just hated to read that you had your arms so far over the edge... makes me shudder!