Being born and raised in the south, I was
subjected to a lot of sayings my folks,
and others, uttered to me that made about
as much sense as a side-saddle on a sow pig.
See, there's another one of those little
anecdotes. These same sayings may have been
used by northern parents, also. However, I
wouldn't know that since I've only visited
as far north as Ohio.
Okay, let us analyze the little phrase I just
mentioned. "A side-saddle on a sow pig."
Although it would be quite amusing to see a
saddle on a pig, no matter the gender, it
would be an event that I probably wouldn't
buy a ticket to watch.
As long as we are on the subject of sow pigs,
here's another that took me a long time to i
nterpret. "It's like makin' a silk purse from a
sow's ear." When an adult rattles off something
to a kid of five or six, it is taken very literal
in the child's mind…we have to be careful saying
things to a kid. I have seven grandkids and I
should know full-well, by now, these kids think
in pictures. What we say to them is taken exactly
as what we say. Am I makin' sense here? Okay,
think in picture form; forget about being an adult
for a few minutes. I know it's hard, but stay with
A pig with a brown, leather saddle being ridden
by an adult with the left ear missing from said
pig, and the rider has this nasty pig's ear hanging
over their shoulder, adorned with silk, gold beads,
and…I'm losin' it. Way too much caffeine this
The most all time favorite thing a southern adult
says to a child is; "Yer gonna put yer eye out!"
Now that's a statement that will conjure up images
in a kid's mind that can produce nightmares late
at night, or the rest of their life. I'm sure this
quote is spoken in all modern languages of the world,
and probably used back in the middle ages.
Of course, I know why parents say this now.
Heck, I whipped it out on one of my grandkids
as early as this weekend. He was runnin'
around the yard with a stick for Pete's sake!
(There's another...who's Pete, anyway?) What
else would I, or anyone else, have said? He
just looked at me with that "huh" look and
kept right on doin' what he was doin'.
Back when I was twelve, or so, we never
worried about anyone kidnapping kids, or
causing harm to us. My mom and dad pretty
much let me go anywhere as long as I was
back home before dark.
I set out on one of my fishing trips to
Lake Mattie that was not too far from home.
I loaded up my trusty bicycle with some bread,
a cane pole, hooks and split-shot. I arrived
at the lake, which at that time, was surrounded
by orange groves. The bread was supposed to
be used for dough balls to catch catfish or
bream; I probably ate the bread because I
remember quickly running out of bait.
It was the hottest part of summer, and I
was out of school. I started looking for
any type of bug or worm to be sacrificed
to the fish. I managed to find some poor
dragonfly, captured it and quickly impaled
it on my size eight hook.
I remember standing on an old cypress tree
that had fallen into the lake and flipping
the hook, line and sinker next to the stump
of the tree. My rig consisted of a twelve
foot cane pole, a length of eight pound test
mono line, a cork, a split shot and the hook.
Oh yeah, the dragonfly.
As soon as the cork settled, it shot under
the water and I reared back on the pole. A
mouth the size of Godzilla's came from under
the log and the bass relentlessly tried to
shake my arms from my body via the cane...for
about three seconds. The hook broke off, and
the split shot, sharply and instantly, nailed
me right between the eyes. I can still feel
that! It was like being shot with a pellet
rifle! After my eyes stopped watering, I figured
I had had enough of that bass, and I imagined
he was surely holdin' his sides and laughing
as he waited under the stump for the next
unsuspectin' idiot to go bear huntin' with
I returned home and my mom immediately freaked
out when she saw my goose egg and red whelt
between my still watering eyes. My dad pushed
my head back, took a look, gave me that famous
smirk, shook his head and said,"Yer gonna put
yer eye out." ~ Capt. Gary
Gary grew up in central Florida and spent much
of his youth fishing the lakes that dot the area.
After moving a little closer to the coast, his
interests changed from fresh to salt. Gary still
visits his "roots" in the "lake behind the house."
He obtained his captain's license in the early '90's
and fished the blue waters of the Atlantic for a little
over twelve years. His interests in the beautiful shallow
water flats in and around the famous Mosquito Lagoon came
around twenty-five years ago. Even though Captain Gary
doesn't professionally guide anymore, his respect of the
waters will ever be present.
Gary began fly fishing and tying mostly saltwater
patterns in the early '90's and has participated as
a demo fly tier for the Federation of Fly Fishers
on numerous occasions. He is a private fly casting
and tying instructor and stained glass artist,
creating mostly saltwater game fish in glass.