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Troubled Waters


This week the writing prompt for Two Shoes Tuesday is "water". 
Here is my story...


Caddo Lake stretches across the border shared by Texas and Louisiana.  It is an eerie, surreal place, dense with cypress and overhung with moss, that makes you think you've been transported back to prehistoric times.  One could easily get lost in the many waterways, and folks often do. In fact there are actually direction signs and path markers sticking out of the deep water to help fishermen find their way. It is amazingly beautiful, and at the same time disturbing.  The 1972 horror movie "The Legend of Boggy Creek" was actually filmed there.  

Papa Bear spent about five years near Caddo Lake while he was growing up, and has many fond memories of  fishing there with his Granddaddy.  He's returned several times as an adult to fish those waters, and has chosen Caddo Lake to be the final resting place for his ashes someday.

On one such fishing trip long before my time with him, Papa Bear was out on the lake in his boat with his wife Sandy (now deceased).  Sandy loved to fish as much as Papa Bear, and the day found them trolling slowly along one of the dense, shadowy back channels of the lake. 

At one point, Papa Bear called back to Sandy from the front of the boat, pointing to something ahead in the water. "There's an alligator," he said.

"Yeah, right" said Sandy, rolling her eyes. Papa Bear is well known for his playful sense of humor. 

"Really, it's alligator," Papa Bear insisted, turning so she could see over his shoulder.

"Bull@#*&," responded Sandy.  But when she glanced up ahead in the murky water she did indeed see an alligator moving ahead of the boat about 50 feet in the distance.  She let out a scream. 

Papa Bear couldn't contain his excitement and moved in closer for a good look, following the huge beast as it skimmed along the water toward Diablo's Den, rumored to be it's home.  It's head measured about a foot and a half  from snout to eyes... a big gator, maybe twelve feet long.

Sighting confirmed, Sandy screamed bloody murder, insisting that she'd had enough of fishing and wanted to go back to shore!  But Papa Bear isn't afraid of anything; he convinced her that the alligator wasn't going to climb into the boat with them, and he managed to persuade her to continue fishing in another part of the lake. 

Papa Bear and I got married at a little Bed & Breakfast in Jefferson, Texas near Caddo Lake, and we spent a wonderful few days honeymooning there.  One evening just before sunset we took a boat ride on Caddo Lake, piloted by a guide who filled us in on the scenery and local lore as we glided thru the silent, spooky waters.  It was incredibly beautiful, something I can't even begin to describe, but having heard this tale of the alligator sighting, I was VERY careful not to dangle my hands over the side of the boat!

I'm not so sure I want to go fishing with Papa Bear at Caddo Lake.  When I tell him that the possibility of one of us falling out of the boat or it capsizing is terrifying, he just laughs.  He points out that he always has a gun in his possession for emergencies.  None the less, if I saw something with a big head and bulging eyes swimming alongside the boat, a change of clothing would definitely be required!

20 comments:

  1. You include a range of elements and emotions here. You show the eerie & spooky, then you present relaxed and peaceful feelings. You take us to fear and uneasiness yet leave us with happiness and togetherness. I want to go fish there now! Thanks!

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    1. I thought of you when I wrote this Annie, knowing of your love for fishing. You would find this to be the most amazing place, like nowhere else you've ever been. Maybe someday the four of us can plan to meet up there for a few days! I don't think my ashes are going to join Papa Bear's though, it's terra firma for me! :-)

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  2. I'm not sure I would EVER go out on that lake knowing the possibility of that gator exists.... and who says they don't climb into boats????

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    1. It certainly isn't something one would forget while being out there on the water Brenda. I love a sense of adventure, but one gator sighting I'm certain would be quite enough for me. I happy to peacefully coexist, but I'd much rather not share the water with them, I'd make a much to appealing meal! :-)

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  3. Great story -- and I'm with you. I do not swim in alligator waters.

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    1. Papa Bear is truly fearless, Louise. While my mind conjures up horrific images of what could easily go very wrong, he just laughs and reminds me how many folks fish there all the time and don't become alligator snacks. Still, it's a little unnerving, but the place is soo beautiful in a very surreal way!

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  4. great tale of a really cool place...Since I live on the ocean, this is a treat for me....I love Spanish moss and the whole aura of mystery and danger that your watery post suggests...

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    1. I would love to live near any water, JoAnne, and this part of East Texas is indeed pretty. The Spanish moss overhanging everything lends a very mysterious feel, and one halfway expects monsters to rise up from waters. It would make a wonderful setting for a Halloween party afloat!

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  5. The alligator could have easily tipped the boat and had dinner all in one swoop of his tail. Having a gun doesn't help much when you're trashing in the water, suddenly screaming like the woman who just got dumped overboard with you.

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    1. So very true Lotta Joy! :-) Thankfully, an alligator is more likely to try to get away from you than to pursue you, but still it COULD happen, and it doesn't sound like a very pleasant way to meet one's demise!

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  6. This was a great story. I have heard of Caddo lake. I grew up in the Ark-La-Tex area (southern Arkansas). I love the picture. It looks eerie, scary, peaceful and serene all at the same time. I would be careful not to dangle hands over the side, for sure!

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    1. Caddo is indeed well known in those parts, Robin. It has much the same feel as we saw on "Swamp People." When you are out in the middle of the lake, much of which is thick with water lilies and hydrilla, you can't see solid land in any direction, just swamp and gnarled cypress roots, and Spanish moss overhanging everything like a thick veil. It is truly stunning, demanding a sort of reverence... and yes, I would go back to experience it again, but I assure you my fingers and toes would remain well inside the boat!

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  7. Great story and the picture and writing was super Josie but yep I couldn't do gators yikes!!

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    1. It is more than a little scary, Janice, but at the same time this place has an attraction that is hard to explain. Many have fished there and lived to tell the tale! :-)

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  8. Thank you for writing this, Josie. Mrs. Jim knows Caddo Lake to some extent but I've never been there. Have heard tales though. Yours added to what I have heard. No one talked about alligators before that I can remember.

    We were close to Cado Lake Sunday on our way home from Farmerville, La (north of Rustin). Except we went south instead of north. Mrs. Jim's sister lives in Farmerville.
    ..

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    1. It is a must see trip for the two of you sometime, Jim, take a sunset boatride, I promise it's a rare kind of beauty you will never forget!

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  9. I am not sure what I would do if I were to encounter an alligator. These days spiders send me flailing and panicking. Great story with a draw from the past and into the present connected to a place. Lovely!

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    1. I would definitely go back on the water there again, Carrie, the chances of encountering an alligator are small (I like to think), but if I should happen to see one, there will be vapor trails behind the boat as it heads to shore! :-)

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  10. Very well written. Gave the water a life of its own. I wouldn't be too keen on coming across an alligator either. YIKES!!

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    1. Thank you Selma, it's so very hard to find adequate words to describe this setting, surreal, hauntingly beautiful! I really don't want to visualize an alligator as part of that scenario though, not ever!!

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Your comments are always appreciated... they make me smile! :-)