I adored my big brother, George, whom we all called “Gee.”  He was red-haired, brown-eyed and quite handsome.  He was also very athletic. 

When we lived in Perry on the bayou, our house was about 300 yards from the bridge that spanned the bayou.  “Gee” and the other young men in the town were all good swimmers, and my brother was the best of all.  They liked climbing to the top of the bridge and diving into the water below, and “Gee” was the best diver, too.

The second best was a fellow we called “Pomp” Nunez.  My older sister, “Dee,” dated him occasionally.  One night after they got home from a dance at Mr. Gilliam Sorbet’s dance hall, “Dee” and “Pomp” were sitting on the porch swing.  (My little bed was near the window and I could hear very well everything that was being said.)  Mr. Nunez had evidently had too much to drink and he kept asking “Dee” to marry him - she kept telling him to go home and sober up and propose to her in the morning.  Finally the young man declared, “If you won’t say you’ll marry me, I’m going down and jump in the bayou and drown myself.”  “Dee” told him, “That’s silly.  You are one of the best swimmers I know!  But if you really want to jump in the bayou, come on - I’ll go hold your coat for you.”  The inebriated suitor went home and we didn’t see him again for ten days.  In the meantime, “Dee” started dating his best friend.

Another pastime the young men in town enjoyed was snake-hunting.  They didn’t carry guns to shoot the snakes, but instead waltzed around the snake until they could grab it by the tail, then they popped it as if it were a bullwhip, and snapped the head off.  When they found a large snake, they skinned it and made the skin into a very pretty belt.  “Gee” had a belt made from the skin of a copperhead. 

Once a twelve-foot alligator was spotted swimming near the bridge.  Several of the young men dove into the water, and it took most of them to subdue the beast.  They got him ashore, put an end to his misery, and eventually he was stuffed and displayed at the entrance of a restaurant in Abbeville, where it remained until about 1960.


Copyright © 2001 Aline T. Meaux, Abbeville, LA

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