Saturday, August 08, 2009

Ozark Vacation: En-Uk Catches a 'Cat' . . . and Other Tales

Another email with clickably enlargeable photos from my lovely wife has arrived, this one telling of a visit to Uncle Woodrow's farm for fishing:
"Now it's morning, and we have just had our breakfast. Somehow, I was tired today and so slept longer than usual. Yesterday's visit to Uncle Woodrow's farm was nice."
Aunt Pauline was also there, of course:

You see her here on her lawn, smiling good-naturedly and posing with some of her flowers. And here's Uncle Woodrow, helping En-Uk prepare for fishing:

Not only En-Uk, but also Sa-Rah went along with the fishing party:

En-Uk, however, experienced some more beginner's luck:
"En-Uk was so lucky, that he caught . . . a bass."
No, not the heavy musical instrument that rhymes with "face." Rather, the fish that rhymes with . . . uh . . . some lower part of the human anatomy, call it "butt." Anyway, here's that big bass:

As you see, he required help from his big sister . . . though the 'big' bass appears to be shrinking:

Nevertheless, En-Uk remains proud:

Here's a foreshortened close-up of that gaping, fish-eyed, low-down bass:

Maybe it ain't so small . . . but En-Uk gave it to Sa-Rah anyway:

Sa-Rah looks her gift fish in the mouth. My way of putting that sounds oddly familiar don't you think . . . almost proverbial. Meanwhile, a smiling En-Uk has pulled in a monstrous catfish worthy of starring as a young, larval-stage gwoemul (괴물), the monster from that Korean film The Host:

That's quite a big fish for such a little boy, as Sun-Ae remarks:
"I had to help En-Uk when he got the catfish which was quite heavy. Uncle Woodrow thought that it might weigh 5-6 pounds."
En-Uk thus had luck and help, but he then grew proud, haughty, and overbearing:
"He bragged later saying, 'Only I caught fish, and a catfish as big as Charlie (the dog)'."
Sorry, Charlie. And sorry, Sa-Rah:
"Sa-Rah had no luck, so she drove the ATV instead after trying a while."

But like En-Uk, she eventually caught a 'cat' and, as Sun-Ae put it, "played with . . . [the] kitten a lot":

Actually, that 'kitten' is a small Ozark panther, as you can plainly tell . . . and you here see it threatening a young Ozark wolf:

Next, En-Uk takes his turn with the panther:

Then comes Animal Face-Off. Which will prevail? The 'Ozark Panther' . . . or the 'Ozark Wolf'?

The slightly older, and therefore larger Ozark wolf has an initial advantage, but keep in mind that the Ozark panther not only has larger 'canine' teeth but is also more flexible, and with sharp claws rather than dull nails. But wait! There's a new, surprise entry as En-Uk brings forward a captured Ozark chicken hawk!

Observe its terrible talons:

Aggressive by nature, the chicken hawk threatens all opponents! But the animal face-off will have to wait, for other folks are beginning to show up, bringing tales of an encounter between a human and an ATV:
"In the afternoon, Cousin Cheyenne and her mother came to see us. Cheyenne had an accident a week ago. She was driving an ATV with a friend, fell from it, and got her face and arm badly skinned. Velna, her grandma, who came later for supper with her husband, showed a picture of Cheyenne when it happened, and she looked really bad. But she is now much better. Cheyenne has grown, too, and changed a lot. She and Sa-Rah didn't talk much. Sa-Rah was sleeping when she came. Waking up, she was still tired, but as you know, they are not the little 'innocent' girls any more..."
Eh? Not 'innocent' anymore. I don't like the sound of that! Let's get away from ATVs and back to more truly innocent pleasures . . . like cleaning fish, a chore that En-Uk takes seriously, if literally, as he assists Uncle Woodrow in 'cleaning' the catfish:

Note that the Ozark panther is nowhere near. It knows that "there's more than one cat to skin away" -- as the old saying goes.

There's a whole lot of meat on that fish! Look at the result:

As Sun-Ae next tells us, "Uncle Woodrow fried . . . catfish and bass." He began by rolling it in cornmeal:

After that, he started frying it:

That must have smelled great! But the entire meal must have had a great odor:
"Aunt Pauline . . . [made] the 'big meal' as she always cooks. Roasted meat, baked vegetables, pickles, tomatoes, macaroni salad, and chocolate cake and others."
We can at least see the result on Sa-Rah's half of the table:

What? No beer? Despite their beerless condition, Cousin Velna and her husband Vernon look happy anyway. And En-Uk (also beerless!) seems to have a hearty appetite, as the following photo indicates:

Next time, En-Uk, don't pose with your mouth full! You look like you've got the mumps! Or the mother of all toothaches! You're embarrassing Uncle Woodrow and Aunt Pauline. But that doesn't put a total damper on things, and after the meal, everyone sits around talking. Sun-Ae tells me that:
"Later, Cousin Martha came, too. They all wished that you were here. En-Uk was again the talkative person and had good time playing with 'adults' like Velna's husband and Uncle Woodrow. They were always nice, responding to him in a playful and fun way. Uncle Woodrow has a very special smile which reflects a young spirit of a boy. He and Aunt Pauline are 81 but they're very fit, still doing a lot of things. However, Uncle has some problem with hearing and Aunt cannot see as well, so they match as Aunt said. Aunt showed some photos around their area and gave them to me to take with me. She also gave some yo-yo patterns that we could put on a cushion. She also showed a quilt blanket that she had let you and your brothers paint on, a lady pattern. Do you remember that?"
No, I don't remember that sort of sissy activity at all. Here's the so-called 'evidence':

This photo confirms that such a quilt exists but doesn't prove that I had anything to do with it. It could just as well be like something in a fictional scene out of a novel by Jane Austen! My Aunt Pauline could well be a writer of fiction like Austen. Maybe we're all just lost in Austen:
"Aunt can tell a lot of stories from the time when she had you and your brothers on the farm, and about the ancestors as she is a genealogist. She has really good memory and is a good storyteller."
I miss her stories . . . accompanied by treats like those that Sa-Rah and En-Uk were allowed to eat:
"They had some American popsicles, and they enjoyed being there."
You see below the special effect of such psychedelic popsicles:

Or psycho-delicious popsicles? Popsilicious? I just can't spell! Anyway, all good things must end:
"Aunt Pauline said that we can stay overnight, and the kids wanted to stay . . . but we didn't take our stuff, so we came back home."
In fact, there was a rather broader invitation extended to En-Uk . . . in his imagination:
"En-Uk wanted to live on the farm with Uncle Woodrow and Aunt Pauline for a year after he learned . . . that you had lived there for a year. So he wanted me to call you immediately to ask. He really took it seriously."
I don't recall living there for an entire year . . . though my younger brother Tim did, back when he was in the first grade. I'm told that I stayed with them for several months when I was a baby, but I wouldn't remember that, of course. I do recall going nearly every summer for a couple of weeks. Anyway, En-Uk and I did eventually speak on the phone, and he made his request. I told him "No, I need you with me." He accepted that, and so ended another beautiful day.

But still without the main attraction, for Sun-Ae has taken all the photos . . . and thus has none of herself.

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At 8:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neat pictures, and the commentary was so pleasant and complimentary regarding Uncle Woodrow and Aunt Pauline.

Jeffery's heart, like that of the grinch that stole Christmas, must have grown three sizes as he blogged the photos and commentary.
Perhaps the years at their home while he was a boy influenced him.

Yes, even a reptilian, three chambered heart sometimes beats with kindness welling up in it.

It must be nice!


At 8:29 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Think of it this way, Uncle Cran -- I reserve the best of my razor-sharp wit for the one who truly deserves it.

You should feel honored.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 8:35 AM, Blogger Hathor said...

White bread! hot sauce?

At 8:46 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

And it's homemade bread, too, Hathor!

You're right about the hot sauce -- it seems to be missing, a real oversight on somebody's part.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 9:41 AM, OpenID sonagi92 said...

Pan-fried catfish. Mmmm.

At 10:04 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Pan-fried? Deep-fried, isn't it?

Jeffery Hodges

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At 6:02 PM, Blogger Happuch said...

I think you are a great storyteller. :)
& your children are cute too.
I didn't enjoy that kind of
vacation of my own, but I felt
I did, while seeing your post.
Thank you~

Happy summer

Min Young Hahn from summer semester

At 6:37 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Ms. Min Young Hahn, so you are here, too? I'm glad that you liked this vacation entry. You must have seen the other vacation entries as well.

My wife contributes to the storytelling, and also provides the wonderful photos, so she deserves much praise.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 8:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I endure the pain of Jeffery's razor-sharp wit, I can only say that my own has been honed by our exchanges, at least somewhat.
I can now say with confidence that I have reached to halfway his level of witticism.
And that would make me........


At 9:04 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Uh . . . half-witty?

Jeffery Hodges

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At 8:00 AM, OpenID sonagi92 said...

I just clicked on the photo, and that catfish was deep-fried in what looks like a very heavy cast-iron pan. Hope the pan contained peanut oil, not hydrogenated Crisco. Lard or tallow would be even better, but few people fry in misunderstood, maligned animal fats anymore.

At 8:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Every time we ate catfish at brother Woodrow's place, he fried fish in peanut oil.


At 8:11 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Sonagi, I'm afraid to ask them. When I was a kid, a lot of the oil was still animal fat, often bacon drippings . . . but I remember my maternal grandmother using Crisco as well.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 8:12 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Well, Sonagi, there's your answer, straight from Uncle Cran.

Jeffery Hodges

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