Aug 29, 2009

Crawfishing in Louisiana

When I was a barefoot kid growing up in rural Louisiana, I spent a lot of time crawfishing. (Any good Southern boy knows only Yankees call them “crayfish.”) We had ditches that ran along the roadside (dirt road) and those ditches were full of large, dark red crawfish. We’d never eat the small, pale, almost grey crawfish, and frankly, there didn’t seem to be that many. The ones we sought were the size of a small lobster, were of a deep, black and red hue, and had some real claws that could draw some blood.
I’d take a galvanized bucket, throw in some chunks of raw bacon given to me by Granma, find a good size stick, tie a piece of string on the end (about3-4 feet long), then I’d head to the road. Sometimes, I’d go with my little brother, but often it was just myself.

When I found a spot where the water was clear and there was some good “hiding spots” for the crawfish, I’d tie a piece of bacon on the end of the line, slowly lower that bacon into the water, and wait. It wouldn’t take long before a big ole crawfish would come out of his hiding place and creep slowly towards the bait, his long antennae constantly moving around, as though he had an eye in each one. And, maybe he did, because it seemed that was how he located the bacon. He'd creep slowly towards the bait, and I’d watch in fascination as he grabbed it with a claw and drew it towards his funny looking mouth. And that’s when the fun began.

Very slowly, I’d take all the slack out of the string. Then, with a very slow movement, I’d begin bringing the bait upwards. By this time, he was tasting the bacon and liking it, so he didn’t notice that he was slowly moving to the surface. If you moved too quick, he'd let go the bait and with a quick flip of his tail, would scoot back into hiding. (This is why some use the term "crawfish" to describe someone who got scared and backed off from a fight.) Even when he was out of the water, he still held tightly to the bait. Once I had him over the bucket, I’d give a little shake, and startled, he’d let go the bait and drop into the bucket. Then, I’d go back in the water for his brother, aunt, uncle and even his kids.

Many a day, I’d come home with a bucket full of large crawfish, all caught from various spots in the ditch near our house. Sometimes, when there were several of us, we’d fill two or three buckets with crawfish. Granma would take them and put them in a large pot of water. She’d heat the water and boil them. That night, we’d feast.

I remember those times with fondness, but I also can relate, now, to the crawfish.

As a Christian, I’ve taken Satan’s bait a time or two and never felt the string go taut, and never saw the bucket waiting for me. But for the grace of God, I’d be feeling the heat and would have been on the menu.

So, the next time you take Satan’s bait, just remember there’s a bucket of hot water waiting somewhere.


Cindy said...

Enjoyed this, Voyle!

Gina Locke said...

That was a lot to wrap up in so few words! Childhood memories, great visuals, taste, and then you just slammed the moral in, short and sweet.
Awesome story, great presentation, and one that I'm gonna be sharing with hubby and kiddos!