By: Glynn Harris
Back in the day, I’m talking eight decades or so ago, kids raised out on the rural route did it differently. When it came to entertaining yourself, there was no high fi gadgets; no cell phone; no video games. Why? It takes electricity for these things to work and it was years before the wires were strung and lights came on in Goldonna.
I grew up in a four room house my daddy built – a living room, kitchen and two bedrooms. Bathroom? Forget about it; it took water piped into the house to make it work. Our bored well, bucket, pulley and rope in the back yard was the water supply. Indoor plumbing consisted of what some folks called a thunder mug or slop jar. The serious stuff took place down a path out back that led to the outhouse.
My brother, Tom, was two years younger than me and we, just the two of us, would no doubt have run out of outdoorsy things to do had it not been for our first cousins, Doug and Sambo who lived on the next hill over from us. Doug and Sambo were like brothers to Tom and me and we did virtually everything together. I was the oldest, Doug a year younger than me, Tom a year younger than Doug and Sambo bringing up the rear, a year younger than Tom.
What did kids do for entertainment way back then before electricity and such came to us? If youngsters growing up today had been deprived of all the gadgets and widgets available today, chaos would no doubt ensue. Not for the four Harris boys; none of the other kids growing up in the community had anything modern either so we didn’t miss what we never had.
What we did have was the tank pond lying adjacent to the L&A railroad track that furnished water for the steam engines that chugged and labored up Oshkosh hill after filling tanks. Just over the track was Molido (pronounced Molly-dough) creek that coursed through the woods half a mile in back of our house. We learned to swim in the tank pond and Molido with its resident red perch, goggle eye, bass, jackfish and mud cat population was the perfect training ground for boys just learning to fish.
The passage of time has a way of changing things. We all grew up, married, had kids and lived in homes with electricity and indoor plumbing and all the amenities these afforded. Tom and I moved away while Doug and Sambo remained in the little town where we grew up. It’s sad but it’s true; when the realities of life separate you from those who were once so important to you, you grow apart, not because of problems but that’s just the reality of life.
Several years ago, I got a call from Doug. He had retired from a successful career in the petroleum industry, had purchased land and constructed a nice pond near his home and he stocked it with bluegills and bass. Like me, he had missed the times the four Harris boys had growing up and he suggested that we meet on his pond, catch, clean and cook fish and relive some of the special times we had growing up.
On June 29, 2007, the four of us met up on the pond, did those things he suggested, had so much fun and enjoyment we decided we would meet together every year and do it all over again. The Cuz’n Fish Fest was born on that day fifteen years ago and has continued ever since.
Changes are inevitable with the passage of time and eight April’s ago, my brother Tom passed away. That left the three of us to continue what Doug started fifteen years ago. We continued to meet and it became obvious that Doug’s health was in a slow decline. On January 11, I drove to Goldonna to attend the funeral of Doug, the one who started it all. This leaves just
Sambo and me, the oldest and youngest of the four Harris boys to pick up the pieces of our childhood. Will we continue the tradition? I suppose time will tell.