Wednesday, March 13

Sitting here this morning, and after being on my Facebook page, my thoughts drifted off to places in my past…stopping at the Juniata River, near Granville. This river is a place where I spent a large part of my life as I grew from a ten year old, through my adolescent life and on into adulthood. I camped there for better than forty-four years, off and on. I experienced many things in nature there and learned a lot of things about wildlife, just by being there and observing things around me. I boated, fished, drifted on an inner tube, and rafts on a stretch of that river extending some twelve miles or so. I swam…both on top and on the bottom of that river with fins and a scuba mask…so much, that I knew every shallow spot and deep hole and the fish that inhabited them.
We would fish and swim at will...the entire day...everyday...
Sometimes I would wade out into the depths to cast deep diving plugs, catching fifteen to twenty inch largemouth bass. Many times I anchored our boat in one of the holes to lazily fish for carp that measured twenty-four to thirty inches…just for fun…knowing that they would sometimes take twenty minutes to land. I almost always turned them loose to be caught again, for I had nothing better to do but fish and exist.
I say nothing better, because there WAS nothing better! I was young, free and adventurous and the river was the best place for a person like me to be. I spent a lot of time at that river with family and friends…sometimes going there at night, just to build a campfire along the bank and fish all night long. If we got tired, we simply lay down on the bank and drifted off to sleep. There was nothing to fear…oh, there were the usual nocturnal animals that roam everywhere in the darkness and maybe a river rat or two, but they never bothered anyone and we slept comfortably without fear. Many times my young friends and I would camp overnight at our site or a good fishing spot further up or down the river, with each person bringing something to eat and beer a plenty! Many times before we were twenty-one, we had beer parties along the river…not wild parties, just a few friends to fish, drink beer and shoot the bull all night long, or until we fell asleep.
A train trestle two miles down the road from our campsite...
We had many family reunions there before my Mom died, but none after that, for my Mom was the catalyst of the family and when she passed away, our family slowly deteriorated and fell apart, as so many do.
My Aunt Pearl, who is reading this, was one of my favorite Aunts to spend time with…She loved to fish and had such fun doing so. I used to get her to sit upon a lawn chair at the edge of the river, and I would don my diving mask, take her baited hook and line and swim out to the far side of the river, (approximately 200 yards) and dive under, swimming to the bottom and placing her baited hook into a catfish’s mouth for her to catch. This catfish was almost two feet long and gave her quite a battle as she reeled it in. Once she had it to shore, I would release it, re-bait her line and we would do it all over again…time and time again…all day long.That ol’ blue channel cat lived under that big old flat rock for years and we could catch him at will, anytime! That is one of my fondest memories…as I’m sure it is her’s too. (I recounted this just for YOU Aunt Pearl…love ya)  
I endured two divorces there…spent time with my kids there…spent many hours alone there and time with my Mom and Dad that will never be forgotten. Aside from visiting my Dad, son, daughter, grandchildren and my Mom’s grave occasionally, there is nothing else in Pennsylvania that even comes close to holding my attention anymore. I have become a stranger and a vagrant to the area and don’t care to linger there beyond visiting a day or so. Everything and everyone (except for those previously mentioned) has become so distant and uncaring anymore…
From the time I left my parents house in 1971, until I came to this farm in 2006, I had no home…never feeling comfortable, appreciated or loved, (except for a diluted parental love that naturally happens after you leave home) until I met Vick and came here. Here, I have blossomed into a writer and found who I really am since being with Vick. I write poetry and books…expressing myself freely without fear of condemnation any longer. I have many true friends here that help and ask for nothing in return…as do I. Life is good…and my wish would be for all my past friends and enemies to find the same, to live well and prosper.

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053801 Cluckin' "A" Critter Farm, LLC

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