When I was 12 years old my family moved to Missouri. Oak Grove Missouri to be exact. This small town just east of Kansas City is where my maternal Grandpa and Uncle lived. Grandpa lived in town and my Uncle Gene lived on a farm a few miles outside of the city limits. I was so excited the first time we visited them. Growing up in the desert, I had not experienced all the wonders of farm life. I got to milk the cow, help my Aunt Mae make butter, and homemade strawberry ice cream! I got to help my cousin Janice, who was 2 years older than me, collect eggs and she let me drive the tractor down the road to deliver them to a neighbor. I loved everything about the farm.
During one visit Janice asked me and my sister if we wanted to go fishing. There was a good size pond close by and we were told there was plenty of fish. She did not have to ask me twice. The three of us headed out with some poles, a net, and a bucket. When we got to the pond Janice had to show us, city girls, how to put the worm on the hook. I thought it was cool, but my sister cried because it was gross. We spent what seemed like all day fishing and between us we caught quite a few fish. I threw the line in one last time and I immediately got a big tug. It took me and Janice 10 minutes to reel it in. When it got to the shoreline, we saw it was a big snapping turtle. I was surprised when Janice suggested we take it back with us. She said my dad would never believe I caught it if we did not. The turtle kept snapping at her, so she turned around and grabbed a big rock and bashed its head in. I was shocked! She then had us help her put it in the bucket and off we went.
My dad, Uncle Gene, and Aunt Mae were excited by the fish. My dad was really proud of me for catching the turtle and thanked me for bringing it back to show him. We three girls went to Janice’s room to clean up and rest after such a busy day. When it was time for dinner we ran downstairs and there was a feast waiting for us. Mashed potatoes, corn, salad, blackberry pie, and a big platter of fried fish. My mother was a horrible cook. She had made fish once that made me sick so at first, I was apprehensive, but then it smelled so good how could I resist? It was delicious! Suddenly Aunt Mae jumped up from the table and said, “I can’t believe I forgot the fish with my special batter that I made.” She brought in a plate with what looked like chicken nuggets all nice and golden brown. We passed the plate around, everyone taking some and we ate them all. After the plate was clean my Aunt said, “Valerie, how did you like those?” I told her they were the best thing I had ever eaten. That is when she told us that we had just had the turtle I had caught! My mother and sister, immediately got sick, running to the bathroom. The rest of us just laughed because that turtle sure did taste good.
I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.