Spiders Big Catch
When I was in college, Spider McGee, Charlie Fox, and I loved to fish off the log boom in the river near my house on summer afternoons. We'd sit and talk about life, drink hot chocolate, and occasionally catch a fish or two. But one day, Spider yelled, "Hey, I got something, and it feels big!"
Catching any fish-of any size-was always a surprise, but hooking something big was reason for genuine excitement. As Spider began to reel, his pole bent almost in half.
"This thing is a monster," he said, the drag on his reel screaming.
After twenty minutes or so, he'd gotten it close enough to the boom to get a glimpse of his catch. It was a snapping turtle.
"Ah, man, that's too bad," said Charlie. "I thought maybe you had Old Granddad there, for a second. Cut the line and let him go."
"Are you crazy?" said Spider. "That lure was given to my dad by his grandfather. It was hand-carved in Norway-and he doesn't even know I borrowed it! I gotta get it back."
"Well, how're you gonna do that?" I asked-and was soon sorry I had.
"I'll just bring him up to the edge of the boom, and you guys reach out and grab it," Spider said calmly.
Now, I'm dumb, but I'm not stupid.
I said, "No, no, no-you bring him to the edge of the boom, and then I'll try to pry the lure loose with a stick."
"OK, that'll work," said Spider.
As Spider struggled to bring the turtle close to the edge of the boom, Charlie handed me a long stick. I reached out, and the turtle's jaws instantly clamped down on the stick. I lifted him out of the water, and we headed toward the bank.
Once on shore, we set the angry turtle on the ground, but he refused to let go of the stick, the lure still dangling from the corner of his mouth. I reached out with my tennis shoe to nudge him in the back, and instantly learned several interesting things about snapping turtles. First, they're not as slow as you might think, second, they're very agile, and third, they're well-named.
In a heartbeat, the turtle's neck shot out, reached completely behind him, and bit through the end of my sneaker. Then, spitting out rubber and nylon, he turned and looked at us menacingly.
"OK, we need a new plan," said Spider.
"And a new pair of shoes," I added, looking down at my big toe, which was now plainly visible through the hole in my shoe.
"You hold his head down with the stick, and I'll reach out and grab the lure," Spider said.
It was an insane plan, but it was still a step in the right direction, I thought. At least, there wouldn't be any parts of my anatomy at risk this time. I took the stick and pinned the turtle's head to the ground while Spider got down on his belly and crept slowly toward the angry, struggling turtle.
It was then I learned even more lessons about snapping turtles. First, their front feet can be used a lot like a pair of hands, and second, snapping turtles are much stronger than you might think.
The turtle reached up and quickly pushed the stick away and quickly raised his head-now leaving him face-to-face with a very surprised Spider McGee.
The big guy screamed, which was probably the best thing to do at the time, since it caused the startled turtle to reach up with a front foot, pop the lure from its mouth, and then it whirl around and head back toward the river.
While all that was going on, the lure leapt through the air and finally came to rest-firmly lodged in Spider's left ear. He danced around in pain, but we finally managed to pin him down and cut the line from the lure. Then we packed up and loaded him into the car.
All the way home, Charlie and I would occasionally look back at poor Spider, sitting like a sad puppy in the back seat and wearing what looked like a giant hand-carved, bug-eyed earring. Then we'd look at each other-and laugh.
All that happened more than 30 years ago, and although Spider didn't know it at the time, he was a trendsetter. He was the first guy I ever knew to wear an earring, even if he'd had to get his ear pierced by a snapping turtle to do it.
I'm pretty sure they have easier ways of doing that nowadays.
From the book Spider's Big Catch
Gary E. Anderson
© Gary E. Anderson. All rights reserved.
About The Author
Gary Anderson is a freelance writer, editor, ghostwriter, and manuscript analyst, living on a small Iowa farm. He's published more than 500 articles and four books. He's also ghosted a dozen books, edited more than 30 full-length manuscripts, produced seven newsletters, and has done more than 800 manuscript reviews for various publishers around the nation. If you need writing or editing help, visit Gary's website at www.abciowa.com" target="_new">www.abciowa.com.
Cressida Cowell, author and illustrator of the How to Train Your Dragon and The Wizards of Once series, as well as author of the Emily Brown picture books, has been named the new Waterstones children's laureate. The Waterstones Children's Laureate is managed by BookTrust, as the UK's largest children's reading charity, and sponsored by Waterstones.
She unveiled her new charter, stating that every child has the right to:
1. Read for the joy of it
2. Access NEW books in schools, libraries and bookshops
3. Have advice from a trained librarian or bookseller
4. Own their OWN book
5. See themselves reflected in a book
6. Be read aloud to
7. Have some choice in what they read
8. Be creative for at least 15 minutes a week
9. See an author event at least ONCE
10. Have a planet to read on
New library borrowing figures from the US show how far England is lagging behind other countries because of its facilities' falling book stocks, according to new analysis from library campaigner Tim Coates.
Using statistics from the Institute of Museums and Library Services, ex-Waterstones boss Tim Coates produced a chart showing English book loans have plummeted year-on-year since 2009/10 while American numbers remain relatively stable...
Lesley Nneka Arimah has won the 20th edition of the Caine Prize for African Writing for her short story 'Skinned'. The prize was launched in 2000, and is awarded annually to an African writer of a short story published in English. The winner receives UK£10,000 prize money, and each shortlisted writer also receives £500.
Arimah is also the author of the 2017 story collection What it Means When a Man Falls From the Sky
Publishers are holding their breath to see if President Trump's decision to postpone the imposition of 25% tariffs on $300 billion worth of goods imported from China will become permanent.
The new tariffs, which included books, were proposed this spring. But after meeting with China President Xi at the G20 conference this weekend, Trump agreed to delay any new tariffs as part of an effort to restart trade talks. In his speech, Trump said new tariffs have been delayed "for the time being."
After Angie Thomas requested that she not be tagged into negative reviews of her books on social media, she has received a torrent of abuse.
History has yet to find the book that is universally adored – or the author who enjoys reading bad reviews. While Angie Thomas has topped the charts and scooped up armloads of awards for her two young adult novels, The Hate U Give and On the Come Up, her recent request that book bloggers stop sending her their negative reviews saw her on the receiving end of a wave of vitriol....
At dozens of barbershops and laundromats across the United States, the sound of children reading aloud mingles with the buzz and snip from barbers' tools or the din of washers. Makeshift shelves and crates hold books featuring cartoon characters, stories about pigeons or the capers of superheroes.
This developing movement, supported by nonprofit groups, entrepreneurs, libraries and community fund-raising, is redefining the borders of traditional neighborhood public libraries by creating literary spaces in places where children find themselves with time on their hands.
It is bringing the book to the child, instead of the child to the book...
With concern in the library community continuing to grow over their ability to provide access to digital content, the Council of the American Library Association yesterday passed a resolution to ramp up its advocacy efforts—including taking the issue to Congress.
The "Resolution on E-Book Pricing for Libraries" was adopted and brought to the ALA Council by ASCGLA (the Association of Specialized, Government and Cooperative Library Agencies), a division of the ALA. The resolution references efforts in Canada to alert the public to the problems of licensing digital content from publishers, and proposes to create a new joint working group to more directly confront the issues in the U.S.
Amazon sells substantially more than half of the books in the United States, including new and used physical volumes as well as digital and audio formats. Amazon is also a platform for third-party sellers, a publisher, a printer, a self-publisher, a review hub, a textbook supplier and a distributor that now runs its own chain of brick-and-mortar stores.
But Amazon takes a hands-off approach to what goes on in its bookstore, never checking the authenticity, much less the quality, of what it sells. It does not oversee the sellers who have flocked to its site in any organized way.
That has resulted in a kind of lawlessness. Publishers, writers and groups such as the Authors Guild said counterfeiting of books on Amazon had surged. The company has been reactive rather than proactive in dealing with the issue, they said, often taking action only when a buyer complains. Many times, they added, there is nowhere to appeal and their only recourse is to integrate even more closely with Amazon...
Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden today announced the appointment of Joy Harjo as the nation's 23rd Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry for 2019-2020. Harjo will take up her duties in the fall, opening the Library's annual literary season on Sept. 19 with a reading of her work in the Coolidge Auditorium.
Alan Brinkley, "one of the pre-eminent historians of his generation, with a specialty in 20th-century American political history," died June 16. He was 70. Brinkley's work "spanned the full spectrum of the last century's seminal events and influential characters, including the Great Depression and World War II, Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy."