CHARLES KIRBY

 

Blog 170 for July 4, 2020

JULY 4TH...75 POUND CATFISH

 

July 4th at Clover Creek, near Toone, Tennessee, was a tradition for my family, my uncles, aunts, and my cousins. It was our yearly catfish feast day. July 4, 1950, was unlike all the other years. Without a doubt, it was the year to remember!

 

You could not pay me to do today what we did back then. Don’t forget, all of us were Tennessee country “hillbillies.” We did not fish with fishing poles and hooks, but with our hands. My dad and uncles would run the fish out of the creek banks to where my cousins and I would trap them in nets and throw them on the bank to a waiting uncle and a friend. They would prepare the fish to eat by dressing and frying them on an open fire. After they were cooked my mother and aunts would place them on a long table for “Cox’s” army to eat. Catfish have never tasted that good since those of my childhood. Back then Clover Creek was very clean with no pollution. I am sure that is not so today since that was 70 years ago at this time.

 

You are probably by now wondering about the 75-pound catfish. My dad discovered it in a big hole in the bank of the creek. When he put a long tree limb in the hole something attacked it. It turned out to be a huge catfish that had made a den in the hole created by an old bridge beam. My dad and two of my uncles pulled the huge fish out of the water, throwing it on the bank of the creek. All my cousins and I had surrounded the hole with a big net in case the fish tried to get away. If it had, I am sure it would have been a big challenge for us. When the fish hit the ground everyone watched it leap over bushes and small trees until it was totally worn out and had no energy to try to defend itself. When the men put the fish in the bed of a pick-up truck that was four feet wide, it was a perfect fit. At that point, we had no idea what it weighed until we got to our home that was not far away. By now we were beginning to get excited about the possibility of a giant fish fry.

 

When we arrived at our home my dad had a large scale with a pulley that we used to hang the fish for everyone to see. All we knew at this point was the fact that we really did have a giant catfish. Family members took a picture of one of my cousins and me, standing by the fish. Everyone was amazed when the scale reached 75 pounds. Now it was time to build a fire to prepare for a big feast. At that point, we had no idea what we were going to experience. We knew it would take a huge fire to cook such a large fish. We also knew it would take time.

 

I can’t remember how long it did take to prepare the fish to eat. The big disappointment came when the cooks felt it had cooked long enough and it was time to enjoy the feast. It only took one bite to discover that the old fish was as tough as leather. We never did figure out just how old that yellow catfish really was. There was only one thing to do and that was to have a burial. We dug a big deep hole at the back of our property and had a funeral for a big fish to end an amazing 4th of July celebration in 1950 as darkness began to appear to the west.

 

God bless America at this 4th of July season in 2020!

 

Charles Kirby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dr. Kirby

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BESS KIRBY

 

Blog 170 for July 4, 2020

 

God and Country

 

Happy Birthday, America! Get out the fireworks! Blow the bugles! Hang the red, white, and blue! Put on the BBQ! And let’s celebrate!

 

Early in the 17th century, settlers from countries across the sea claimed land and formed colonies along the eastern coast of North America.  Control of this land continued for well over 100 years.  By the time the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, there were 13 American colonies with independent governments and constitutions.  Evidence indicates that the Bible was used as the rule of life in the colonies. It certainly had a profound effect on their lives.

 

Let me tell you about Mitchell Paige, recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, the nation’s most prestigious military honor, for his actions at the Battle of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands.  On October 26, 1942, after all the other Marines in his platoon were killed or wounded, for hours Paige operated 4 machine guns, single-handedly, stopping an entire Japanese regiment.  Had that position fallen and the Japanese regained the airfield the Marines had taken, it is possible that the outcome of World War II may have been significantly changed.

 

In years to come, Paige was repeatedly asked why he would be willing to put his life on the line for his country.  His answer was basically two-fold; first, the three-room country school where he was taught the Pledge of Allegiance, memorized the great American documents such as the Gettysburg Address, and heard the Bible read each day; second, God’s Word. When Paige left home to walk the 200 miles to the nearest Marine recruiting station in 1936, his mother packed him a lunch and included a note ("Trust in the Lord, son, and He will guide you always.") Paige said these words remained forever in his mind.

 

Paige said, “I will never forget sitting in a foxhole, alone, bloody, burned, and injured on Guadalcanal, except for hundreds of dead bodies of the enemy surrounding me.  I emptied my pack looking for something to stop the bleeding from a bayonet wound and out fell my small Bible.  Picking it up, I could scarcely believe it opened to Proverbs 3, and there were Mother’s words. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to thine own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.”

 

Mitchell Paige was a true servant and patriot of America.  And, America is proud to have hundreds of thousands of valiant soldiers cut from the same mold.

 

So my prayer is,

“God bless America, Land that I love. Stand beside her and guide her, through the night with the light from above.  From the mountains to the prairies, to the oceans bright with foam. God bless America, my home, sweet home.”   

 

Please enjoy Lee Greenwood sing his song, “God Bless the USA,” on Huckabee’s show one year ago. 

 

P.S. Several of my family have July birthdays...so Happy Birthday to one and all.  To Chuck, our son, July 3; to Mildred, my sister in Heaven, July 4; to Angie, my niece, July 4; and to Fred, my brother, July 15.


 

 

Bess Kirby

       

                                                                                                                          

           

Click HERE to send a private email to Bess
To call her:  800-519-3342

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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