Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Catalpa Caper

Follow up to Catalpa

MARY GETS HER WORM
This is little Mary Ellis Young who now has some catalpa worms to take to her son in Pennsylvania to capture a fifty pound Yankee Blue catfish. Her son took up fishing after he nearly died from an abscessed molar. She is also making the trip for some graduating grandsons. Scott Griffin, who currently sports bad molar infections got these off his tree for her. See catalpa story at the Chumuckla Blog and at  me3tv.org. Mary's brother, Danny Ellis and I, once upon a time, used a rattlesnake for our school science project. Danny is battling cancer now in Ozark, Al. The snake story is in my book (out of print) Jct. 197. Found the story about me and Danny. HERE it is for you......

The Story With Danny Ellis and Uncle Vic a half century ago.

Junction: County Road 197
OFF TO THE RACES
In New Jersey, there is a large horse racing complex called "The Meadowlands." There are fancy restaurants inside and computer-controlled betting windows. From the track, you can see the skyline of New York City. It is a beautiful place to go for dinner and to invest in the horses. Of course, if you were to go there to bet on them, that would be sinful. Being a cautious man, I went there to "invest" in them. I had not attended a horse race since August 1965. I can remember the hot Saturday afternoon well. From that day forward, I believed myself banned from all race tracks forever.
Jesse Ellis and his family raised thoroughbred horses. Their farm was off Chumuckla Springs Road. Every Saturday in the summer, Jesse would have folks from all over come to his farm to race their stock against his. There was no betting, you understand, because a sinful nature was frowned upon in that part of the county.
One fall Saturday afterward, as I rode tall in the saddle on my gentle mare "Ripple," making tracks in the unpaved Chumuckla Springs Road, I crossed paths with a modest red diamondback rattlesnake. Following my usual inclination to collect snakes, I took Ripple to the side of the road and hitched her to a tree. I found a stick for snake catching and went about the business of capturing the venomous reptile. Danny Holt happened on the scene as he drove down the road. I asked for a lift to the Ellis Place, where I thought I might find a big jar or a sack. Danny was a year older than me and a good deal smarter. He offered a ride, but not inside the car. I could ride on the hood and I could pick Ripple up later.
Forgetting the sensitive nature of horses, I showed up at the races on the hood of Danny Holt's car with a live rattle snake in my hands. I never saw such a wild frenzy of horses. Records would have been broken—had there been time to keep any—and if the horses had remained inside the race track. It took weeks to get some of them out of the swamps.
Needless to say, I was never invited back to the races. The snake fared even worse. It was sacrificed for a science proj ect that Danny Ellis (Jesse's son) and I completed for biology class at school.
Fortunately for me, Jesse had not notified the Meadowlands of my previous behavior, and I was admitted to the New Jersey track without a search.
Up here they have what is called "harness racing." The horse pulls a little cart with a man in it. There is a special thrill to hear the bugle play, to watch the horses race, and to read the racing program as if you know what you are doing.
I invested two dollars in "Perry Noyd" in the first race, "Wide Load" and "Family Tree" in the third, and "Prince Lee Knight" in the fourth. Later, I threw away caution and began to bet.
After betting two dollars on "Vicarious Thrills" in the seventh, my wife stopped me. I had lost twenty dollars from my investments, and she did not approve of mortgaging the house to bet on "Little Lou Rain" in the eighth race.
"Little Lou Rain" won and paid ten to one. If I had bet on him, I could have retired to a life of idleness. (My wife questions that this is a "goal" since she believes me to be fairly idle already.) Anyway, idle hands lead to mischief. So maybe I would have become a broker and taken up betting on the stock market.

My wife will not allow me to carry more than a dollar fifty in my pocket. So I am considering selling my blood to get enough cash for my next investment. I have a hunch the horse named "Little Rattler" will be a big winner for me.
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