The first weekend of June, 2004, Bill Booth, Thomas Crawford and Ranger Bob went fishing on the Green River in Rutherford County. We had a good time with clear, warm weather and fish that were biting. I used my first live bait minnows and caught my first catfish, besides some beautiful red and yellow sunfish perch. Thomas kept the larger fish for his family’s supper. [You’re welcome…]
Later that afternoon, Bill and Bob joined Mike and Tom Hair on a tributary of Cathey’s Creek, that runs behind Tom’s house. There I caught my first knobbyhead fish. I wrongly identified it as a “knucklehead,” to which Mike replied, “No, that’s the name of the fisherman.”
The next day, Bill and Bob joined Cindy and Katy Booth [I know, this is a tough job…but somebody has to do it!] and Jimmy and Becky Petranko fishing again on another section of the Green River, where we caught more catfish and sunfish perch.
In and around the creeks, the country side and Bill’s house, the variety and quantity of wildlife was enthralling. While wading in the Green I spotted a baby snapping turtle paddling around, so I caught it with my bare hand. After a brief inspection and release, it swam down and rested on the bottom. At Bill and Cindy’s house, their bird feeders were swarmed by - Bill counted at one time - 17 hummingbirds! They were such a large society that we saw several making their long, swooping mating dance in the air. We could hear their bills clacking in the air as they constantly fought for dominance.
At the Cathey’s Creek tributary, Mike’s dog Bear (more on that later), a tiny female feist, ran up the steep bank and got into a turkey hen’s nest. The hen chased Bear straight back down a 12 foot bank, squawking and flapping. Later Tom went up to investigate, and came crashing back down the same, hard, way. We also saw brilliant blue indigo buntings and bright gold finches. There were plenty of raccoon tracks around all the water ways.
But (drum roll…) the coolest wildlife sighting was on Sunday afternoon at the Green River. Katy saw a black bear on the bank, just across the river from us, about 20 yards away! As we peered through the foliage, it ambled back up the bank and out of sight. I had in my pocket a Freedom Arms .22 revolver, which we concluded was not sufficient defense if Mr. Bruin chose to pay another visit. So I scrambled up the opposite bank and retrieved my Ruger .357 magnum revolver from my Bronco. He never returned.
My conclusion? These kinds of wonderful things can not be planned. The only way to experience them is to get outdoors and stay there. You will enjoy serendipitous things!