Mostly Trapping

Here's wishing times were simple again
Jul 17, 2020 08:25 ET

[Reprinted from original]

Nothing stays so simple, though, does it? Whatever happened to those days when your dad went off to work in the morning, and your mother spent the days taking care of housework?

Of course, that included keeping track of us kids and whatever adventures we could think up. That’s something that is almost nonexistent today as both parents now work, then spend evenings catching up on errands and meetings, while the children lay around playing games or texting on phones.

I couldn’t even imagine being a youngster nowadays, wasting all that time laying around playing with electronic gizmos, ordering junk food and just being lazy. There was just so much outdoors that needed investigated in my youth, log forts to be built, streams to be dammed and trails leading through the forest that needed hiked.

Yep, there seemed to be a never-ending supply of adventures awaiting the kids in the neighborhood. But the main point of interest was the river that ran through my childhood town of Coudersport. The Allegheny River was only two blocks from our front porch on 7th Street. We spent countless hours along and in it during the ‘60s without even knowing its name, or having any idea where it started at or where it went.

But it was the perfect attraction for young kids to explore. To us, it was a place that seemed to be a world of its own. It’s a shallow river with an occasional deep hole bordered by banks lined with tall weeds and brush. It was where the bullfrogs lurked in shoreline weeds, the crawdads hid on the rocky bottom and the sculpins, suckers and a few trout called the deeper pools home. Those species all kept us entertained on one day or another.

It kept us enthralled until we aged in years and our mothers let us venture further away in our adventures. We would get out our large inner tubes and enter the flood control dike at 7th Street and float its length through town and exit near Costa’s Market.

As summer slipped by and late fall arrived, the river became our trapping grounds where many a muskrat was trapped. When winter rolled in, the river froze solid and became our ice skating rink where we spent many a winter day.

Boy, those were the days of my youth that I wish I could relive again. I remember wading the shallows in a pair of blue jean shorts mama had cut off, catching crawdads bare handed and enjoying all of God’s creations.

But I guess it’s faded into the past as lifestyles have changed. The ropes hanging from trees over swimming holes have rotted away; the trails have become overgrown, and the footprints that led to these places have vanished.

You may wonder what jogged my memory back to the past. At this moment I’m doing what I enjoyed way back then. I’m standing in a stream near my home attempting to grasp a crawdad by the shell, right behind the claws, quickly to avoid his bragging size claws.

Mission accomplished, I think while my mind drifts to thoughts of those blissful innocent days of my youth. Anyways, I feel young again for a brief few minutes in time before returning to the fishing that was occupying my time before the crawdad made its appearance.