A wonderful thing about summer in the south was the river, ponds, branches and creeks. In the branches there were an over abundance of crawdads to catch. We spent hours at Aunt Mae and Uncle Luke Davis' catching them. Catching anything that moved was something we found great fun. It was a very short distance to Edgar Hammonds muddy pond. It had bunches of those yellow bellied catfish in it. Those fish would bite anything we put on a hook. When we ran out of worm or chicken livers, we would just catch any bug we could find and put it on our hooks. Mud Cat is what some of the adults called these fish. I just know they had yellow bellys. They were small; anyone knows that small catfish taste better than big ones. My brother and I always went to this pond just the two of us. this was something I could get him to do on the days that the boy cousins weren't staying with us, at grandmother's. Down at the branch; That is what we said when we went to Aunt Mae's. The water was only knee deep, in the deepest spots. I really never knew a kid that did not want to be where the water was during summer. Really didn't matter how deep or even snaky it was to us, it was a place to jump in. I learned very soon after moving from the north, that the water at the branch was not deep enough to do a canon ball into. That was the worst pain ever next to jumping off the moving tractor on to the paved road. My little brother and I were riding on the turning plow when he dared me to jump. The tractor was not going that fast so I thought it would not hurt me. I was wrong.I had to do that because my little brother dared me to. My knees were skint for days. The same as my tail bone when I canonballed into waist deep water. We walked that branch so much we knew where every rock and rapid was. The water was at least knee deep at the places the water fell off the rocks. We could follow the branch to Sis and Ural Garner's. There was a deeper hole there, but it was under a tree root and was very hard to get under. Maybe it was not as hard as it was a bit scary. It seemed that snakes loved that part of the branch as much as we did.There were swimming holes that the boys went to that they would not let me go. The Phillips hole behind where the Lexington Dump once was a place I never went. From the stories they told it was really over their heads there. They traveled there on dirt bikes and I did not have one of my own. Even going to Sam Corums Creek Bottom was sometimes a place they would try to run off without me to. For some reason they did not want a girl tagging along.The creek was a tad farther than the branch, but that trip was made fairly often. The water there was not quite over our heads, but plenty deep enough to swim and jump. A canon ball was possible with out busting your butt bone. The river was great, but that was a bit far ride our bikes. We have been known to ride to the park at first creek. Aunt Faye would take all six of us every once in a while for the whole day and have a picnic. That was a adventure we didn't make too many times on our bikes. This was before Joe Wheeler Lodge was built. The swimming area was just off 72 after you passed the First Creek bridge, before Rogersville. That was uptown swimming for the four of us. There was even a dock to jump off of. We were used to jumping from vines into the creek down in Sam Corum's Creek bottom. The story goes that this area closed, because there had been alligators seen in the water near were the public swam. That may just be a tall tale, I really don't know. I never saw one.
Skinny Dipping: An elderly man in Florida had owned a large farm for several years. He had a large pond in the back.
It was properly shaped for swimming, so he fixed it up nice with picnic tables, horseshoe courts, and some orange, and lime trees.One evening the old farmer decided to go down to the pond, as he hadn't been there for a while, and look it over. He grabbed a five-gallon bucket to bring back some fruit. As he neared the pond, he heard voices shouting and laughing with glee. As he came closer, he saw it was a bunch of young women skinny-dipping in his pond. He made the women aware of his presence and they all went to the deep end. One of the women shouted to him, 'we're not coming out until you leave!' The old man frowned, 'I didn't come down here to watch you ladies swim naked or make you get out of the pond naked.. '
Holding the bucket up he said, 'I'm here to feed the alligator.'Some old men can still think fast.