Friday, November 03, 2006

The World Of Jackson Creek [CCR]

Recently I completed a business trip to Delaware. I was surprised at seeing that Delaware was actually much more rural than I ever imagined. As I traveled through the small towns on my journey I looked at the older buildings and could only imagine what these people were doing through the years prior to my visit. I guess I never really gave much consideration to the world outside of Northwest Alabama, at least until I traveled to college. Our family did take vacations and I knew the world was much larger than our area. But our little corner of the world, the hills and rural areas around Colbert County, provided everything I needed.

Behind Granddaddy Daily’s house runs Jackson Creek, a small stream of water that feeds into the beginnings of Buzzard Roost Creek which slowly runs through the hills down to Bear Creek near the Riverton Rose Trail. My cousins and I spent many hours running down the hill behind Granddaddy’s house and playing in the cool spring fed water. It was fun to start at the top of a small hill along the creek and slide down slowly through the water, our own home version of a water slide. But you had to watch along the way as the creek had several deeper holes. None you could actually swim in, but big enough you could catch minnows, or more importantly crawdads. City folk may correct me with the term "crayfish", but we knew these miniature lobster looking critters as crawdads or maybe someone called them crawfish. Either way, they had many uses for us.

Grandmother made fresh homemade biscuits every morning. Us grandkids often coaxed her into saving some of the dough. Biscuit dough was excellent, in our opinion, for catching crawdads. Grandmother would provide us some thread and straight pins or maybe a regular pin. We had the perfect setup for hooks, line, and bait. We often waited for a crawdad to grab the hook, but when impatience overtook the wait we reached into the water and grabbed one. Unless you were the one involved, it was often quite funny to watch the poor fisherman who received the pinch of the unhappy crawdad. A more experienced fisherman watched what end they were grabbing.

I don’t exactly remember what we did with the crawdads. I suspect if Dad or one of my uncles were planning on fishing we might save some. But more often I believe we dropped them on the rocks and watched them crawl backwards into the hole of water from whence they came. Of course the ones lucky enough to grab enough flesh of the right person might be rewarded with freedom quicker than his comrades.

The creek still slowly mingles through the woods behind Granddaddy’s old house. I suspect it misses us children just about as much as we miss it. The path from the top of the hill is probably overtaken with weeds and well populated with wildlife not as friendly to children. But nature hasn’t had time to wash away that solid rock bottom and those two holes of water that became a large part of our childhood. Jackson Creek is waiting quietly until another generation discovers the fun that can be found in a small spring fed stream rolling quietly along a solid rock bed, bubbling and gurgling its calls for playtime.