Crabbing and Fishing, The Coulee, Neighborhood Dogs
Ann (Garber) Hallam
My love of seafood and of fishing comes from growing up in Margaret’s Place, just a mere block from the lake. We would spend many summer hours crabbing on “Aunt” Mary and “Uncle” George McNess’s wharf overlooking the lake. It was the perfect place to catch blue crabs and cast a line! The Paret’s wharf was also a great place for catching those wonderful crabs and fish. My Dad, the engineer, taught us oh so carefully, how to properly get the net under the crab as you slowly lift the string out of the water to get the crab (devouring the chicken neck) without losing it! I can remember him saying when I flubbed up, “Geez Ann, how did we lose that BIG one!!” We caught lots of bushels of crabs over the years. Those family crab boils were awesome. I really liked to peel all the meat first and let it soak in lots of butter and lemon juice and then enjoy the crabmeat at one sitting. The crab claws always had the sweetest meat! The Coulee
For as long as I can remember, all the neighborhood kids loved to play at the end of our street at the coulee much to our parent’s dismay. The Freeman’s didn’t mind us hopping their fence and playing in all along their back yard that lined part of the coulee, just as long as we were careful. (This was way before liability lawsuits). We loved to catch minnows but got really scared when we saw those awful looking gar fish. Back then we thought catfish were trash fish and inedible! As we got older, some lucky teens built rafts so you would see them tethered to the trees as you rounded the curve from Harrison to Pithon Street. I’ll never forget Catherine’s friend, Debbie Bellaire, had a big, bright yellow raft that all the teenagers went on in the lake to get their tans! Of course when the rafts were not being used we sneaked over to play and battle each other like we were Trojans fighting over our territory!
We all grew up with dogs. The Shearman’s had Dugout which you’ve already read about, a mix breed collie type dog who loved Doug and all the kids. We had Ginger, a sweet golden retriever, and the Baggett’s had 3 dogs, Judy had Alberta, a gigantic brindle Great Dane and a tiny sweet Yorkshire Terrier but my favorite was a beautiful, overly friendly, “Loved Everybody” Basset Hound, named Sam. If the Baggett’s could not find him they knew where to find him at our house or any house on the block, as he loved to visit all the neighbors for handout. He should have been in a dog show his white and fawn coloring was gorgeous and his personality was just too cute!