I thought it would be beneficial to talk about something that I grew up with, but never really appreciated fully, or was very successful doing, until I met my friend Rol.
That something is discovering and catching creatures in streams, rivers, creeks, and the like—the like not excluding, but also not necessarily including in this discussion, oceans, seas, lakes, bays, gulfs, ponds, puddles, pools, buckets full of water, or water in the bottom of your boot after accidentally stepping into streams, rivers, creeks, oceans, lakes, etc.
(By the way, I like the abbreviation “etc.” It is short for “et cetera” and means “and so forth” or “and so on.” You probably already knew it stood for that and meant that, but I thought I would bring it up anyway since I wanted to.)
Where was I?
Oh, yes – creatures.
It is fun when you are a younger—and probably is the same when you are an elder, although I wouldn’t necessarily know about that, but could imagine that the situation is about the same, even though I’m not an elder and can’t presume to know what elders think or like doing, but I’m sure that any elder would have fun doing, or at least remembering having fun doing, and therefore recalling fond memories, which are sometimes like doing something without actually doing it now, even though you did it then—to look for creatures under rocks in streams.
Back to…hmmm…I forget what…oh, that’s right…
It must be done correctly if you want the full effect of fun, and doing-it-rightness. Here are a few tips:
1. Find a stream. That could be a creek or river, but you don’t want a fast-moving river, and it shouldn’t be deep. It could be an ocean, but here we are talking about a stream. I already mentioned that. Keep up, please.
2. You should have someone else with you. That really should be number one on the list. Here’s why:
a. You don’t want to get hurt. Being around slippery rocks and places where you could potentially fall into water or twist your ankle can be challenging, and even more so if you are alone. It’s not good to get hurt when you are alone.
b. If you find something interesting you will want to share it with someone right then and there. Otherwise you don’t have bragging rights, and the stories are not quite as exciting unless you can recall them later with a friend who was there.
c. If you want to make the experience more adventureful—my word—then have a contest and agree to the rules beforehand. For example, you can say that there will be winners in different categories—first creature found, biggest creature found, ugliest or most exotic creature found, that sort of thing. The prize can be that the one who wins the most categories will be served lunch or not be required to do a specific chore for the next two days, like weekly hog washing. Be creative.
3. Some creatures move backwards when confronted, such as crayfish—they are also known by other names, such as crawfish, crawdads, freshwater lobsters, mudbugs. Those mudbugs are best captured by coming at them with a curled-fingered hand (the way you hold your hand over your mouth when you sneeze, unless you sneeze into your arm—elbow area—which is more sanitary, by the way, if you don’t have a tissue or sneezecloth) from behind and letting them just move right into your hand. Easy peasy.
4. Don’t splash. Be patient. Turn rocks over slowly and look beneath, waiting for the disturbed muddy water to clear up.
5. Be careful with whatever you find. Don’t drop it, hold it firmly in your hands but not too tight, and if you found it in water, don’t keep it out of water too long. Also, return it back where you found it when you are done showing it off so that it can find its home again—imagine if a giant hand scooped you up and took you from your home and set you down in another town, far away. A little inconvenient, and somewhat mean, right? Don’t be mean.
6. Watch out for sharp or slippery rocks, snakes, and in some areas, piranhas. Ugh, gurgle!
7. Wear proper footwear.
8. Eat your vegetables.
I think that’s about it. Rarely is a stream creature catching outing a disappointment. As they (whoever they are) say, “Even a bad day catching creatures in streams is better than a good day wrestling a bear over a two-day-old jelly sandwich.”