[dropcap]I[/dropcap]f you’ve been to my house, then you’ve seen the cattails by my front door. And you’ve probably asked about them, too. A big bouquet of them sit on our porch. They’ve been there for years now.
Anyone who has ever fished in a little pond knows all about cattails. Because that’s where they often grow.
The cattails on my porch come from Keego, Alabama. A place my wife’s family has lived for ten billion generations, dating all the way back to the Creek Indian tribes. Though Jamie swears she has no Creek blood in her, when the sun comes out to play she sure browns like one.
Keego is not a town. It’s not a city either. It’s a minuscule community in the woods with railroad tracks and a church. The pond there isn’t big enough to hold more than a few small mouth bass and a couple bullfrogs. And whenever you pile into the little fishing skiff, the pond level rises a whole foot.
My father-in-law fished this small water all his life. He fished it with his own father, mother, brothers, sisters, preacher, wife, children, and even his freeloading son-in-law.
He’d spend an entire afternoon in that little skiff, only seventy feet from shore. Sometimes, he wouldn’t catch anything but a sunburn and a pissy attitude. He’d float in those cattails like he was angry at the fish, spitting out cuss words. Like a Creek Indian with a quick temper and a sailor’s mouth. But he wasn’t mad, not at all. He was content. Because Brother Jim was an Alabamian.
And cattails did that to him.