Saturday, July 19, 2008

Uncle Cran's Diabolical Tale...

Lightning Strikes . . .
. . . and fishy tales.
"I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven."
(Image from Wikipedia)

Uncle Cran has a diabolical tale to tell, a close encounter of the brimstone kind, utterly unlike the numinous encounter of my more venerable Uncle Isam:
Since my many {or mini} fans are waiting with 'baited' breath for my latest fishy tale (do I have a fishy tail also?), here is another true even if fantastic tale of yesteryear:

Fishing, A Lightning Strike, (What Is That Strange Odor)?

A lifetime ago, at the tender age of 12, Cran (sometimes called Cranford, CB {by Aunt Cora}, or You Little Brat, stop bugging me {by brother Bradley}, called 'me' or 'I' by myself) decided to go fishing.

With a cane pole, can of worms, my sure-enough imitation Barlow knife, and a string attached to a twig for a stringer, I blithely walked the trail down to Big Creek, at a bend in the creek next to the 'crooked bottom' hayfield, where there was a deep hole that I was sure had some catfish. Recent rains had muddied the creek, which is the best time to find catfish feeding.

Pretty soon I had a stringer of foot long catfish . . . then in the distance there was a rumble of thunder. Hating to quit, I kept fishing until it began to rain, the thunderstorm getting nearer. Lightning and thunder was getting closer and more ominous, so I gathered up my gear and fish, and started home.

Just then there was a brilliant flash, and a deafening boom, as lightning struck [a tree] just a short distance away, not more than 100 feet from me! The hair on my neck was standing up from static electricity, and a strange odor assailed my nostrils.

Terrified, I ran all the way home through the rain and lightning, a distance of slightly more that a quarter of a mile [Editor: All uphill, too!].

After I got home safely, drenched and shivering (from fear as well as being chilled), we had fish for supper, and all was well with the world again, but the question lingered in my mind . . . What was that strange odor when the lightning hit the tree?

Innocently, I told this to big brother Bradley. He (as his son Jeffery does presently [Editor: Blood will tell.]) laughed at me, and said, "I'll tell you what you smelled. That was you when you . . . (let us say 'pooped' [Editor: Nah, let us say "shat."]) your pants. I was hurt, even as at present when being 'dissed.' But I stubbornly insisted there was a strong, acrid odor just as the lightning bolt hit the tree.

Years later, I read a book by John Morris II, In Search for Noah's Ark [Editor: Noah's Ark and the Ararat Adventure?]. There he described being caught in a lightning storm on Mount Ararat, where he and his fellow explorers had a similar experience, except they were nearly killed. He spoke of a "strong odor of sulphur" at the time.

So now I know it wasn't a figment of my imagination. I had noticed the same odor. In fact, on my farm I had an electric fence to keep my cows from breaking out of the pasture. I had noticed that the cows would smell the fence, and if it was active, they would leave it alone, but if the fence charger wasn't working, they would stick their heads through the fence. I couldn't detect anything, as I am cursed (or blessed) with a poor sense of smell because of my sinuses. I told my wife Gay, who can detect an offensive odor at amazing distances. She sniffed the fence, and said, "It smells like sulphur."

Now I am vindicated! It wasn't me, it wasn't my imagination, it was actually a reality, just as all my stories are true, trustworthy, perhaps dull and uniterestering, but are honest facts, not the strange, fantastic ramblings of certain unnamed individuals, whose initials are HJH and JK [Editor: Unidentifiable.].
Vindicated indeed! Confirmed by some fellow who fruitlessly sought Noah's Ark in 'Turkey' and calls himself John Morris the Tooth! However, we all know the true source of sulphurous fumes, none other than the darkest prince himself (who sometimes visits the Ozarks). Morris and company were nowhere near the divine sanctity of Noah's Ark but closing in on the very gates of Hell! Uncle Cran, lacking that proverbial sense to get in out of the rain, was himself dangerously close to that foul precipice.

Learn from Uncle Cran's lesson: Don't go fishing in troubled waters.

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At 4:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just as I suspected......the unidentifiable HJH has struck again! Next will be the anonymous and dreaded JK, with his 'polite sarcasm.'
And all this after bravely relating my own "near death" experience.
Oh Jeanie, with the light brown hair, where art thou when I need thee!.

At 4:41 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I said this was my laughin' place, Uncle Cran.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 5:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Would Uncle Cran be upset to learn that what he smelled was more likely ozone than sulfur?

Oh, and would Uncle Cran like an alligator? A couple of days ago,I found an alligator hanging out at the edge of the swimming hole in the river behind my house. I've been living on and swimming in this river for over 20 years, and there have never been any gators 'round here. This river is spring fed; it's too cold for any right thinking alligator.

Anyhow, all that Uncle Cran has to do is come down to Louisiana to get it, because the state gator hunters sure are taking their time.

The way I figure it is this: If Uncle Cran wrassles the gator, we can see if he gets that same smell again, and then we'll know if his big brother was right.


At 6:13 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I was wondering about that myself, for I've often smelled ozone after lightning strikes.

However, in poking about for confirmation of Uncle Cran's report of sulfur, I did find some mention of sulfur smells associated with lightning . . . but I didn't investigate closely.

Besides, Michael, you've proposed an excellent empirical test for Uncle Cran.

Uncle Cran? Ball's in your court.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 6:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nephew Jeffery, the unknown JK, and now Michael S. Pearl also!
Is there no end to my suffering?
Whether ozone or sulfur, I can attest it had no connection to my posterior.
I suspected that fis{h}sing would attract dissing. My only response is that of a man named Job: "Hear diligently my speech, and let this be your consolations.Suffer me that I may speak; and after that I have spoken, mock on". (Job 21:2,3) As if you need any encouragement.
I have another tale having do do with a dog, a bear, some fish, and some fire, but do I have the foreBEARance to stand more mockery? Would that be a fish tale, a bear tale and a dog tale?
And M.S.P., do you recall last year's football between the mighty LSU Tigers and the lowly Arkansas Razorbacks? This is no time for cajun should still be in mourning.

At 6:58 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Uncle Cran, we can hardly BEAR to endure the wait for your amBIGuous stories...

Jeffery Hodges

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At 6:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uncle Cran,

First of all, if that smell had nothing to do with your posterior, then take up the challenge!

Tell you what -- I'll meet you halfway. I'm going up to Ruston for the weekend; you meet me there. Then I'll bring you down here to deal with the gator. I'll video the whole thing for Jeffery's benefit or entertainment, or whatever the case may be.

As to those lowly Razorbacks, isn't it obvious that the Tigers were just resting up so that they could win the NATIONAL championship? -- not that they really needed to rest up for those yankee boys from Ohio.


At 7:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I'm BARE-ly able to BEAR my reproaches, so you must wait until my wounds heal.
As to Michael S., I will concede that the Tigers did {yawn} win the national championship, but lost the prestigious BOOT trophy. However, the Hogs may be down for a few years, after booting their coach.
I'm not into gator wrasslin, especially at my age.
Since JK is not correcting my typos, I did notice that I mis-spelled uninteresting, instead wrote initerestering, which, as best I can tell, would mean not worth repeating.
Strangely, I do enjoy these verbal sparring matches, in spite of being overwhelmed by sheer numbers, illogical arguments, and ad hominem verbosity. But the truth must prevail, even as my man Job did - eventually

At 8:15 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Uncle Cran, I noticed "initerestering" but said nothing because I thought it an interesting way to spell "interesting."

Now, however, I see that it is an uninteresting way to spell "uninteresting," and that is something up with which I shall not put!

Interesting expressions alone are acceptable on this blog.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 8:22 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Michael, I see that Uncle Cran has already declined your invitation once and put it off with an excuse a second time, comparing his virtue with the longsuffering virtue of Job.

In my own reading of Mr. Job's story, however, I found that he had less patience than self-pity.

I'm just sayin'...

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 1:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Sorry I've been remiss, had to change out harddrives in order to access another network. Homework you know.

I do hope you get back here (I realize the chickens are asleep in your timezone) I've got a question, maybe just a need for clarification. But an observation on my experience first.

Admittedly I've never been that close to a ground strike (lightning-not human produced explosives which incidentally did have unusual accompanying odors and once was indeed accompanied by a necessity to change drawers but owing to circumstances beyond my control, the drawer change had to be delayed)-I know Professor, long parenthetical but "stream of consciousness typing you realize."

For easier reading I'll just add a paragraph I didn't intend. When I (even to this day gonna espouse upon any degree of "actual maturity" but I've got to have something) doubting-except to say I seem to read a sort of BS in your relating, and tend to agree with your brother:likely extreme flatulence, any particulate matter could have been vaporized-matured a bit the US Navy sent me to electronics school.

I did electronics for a time, then in purely civilian life I went on to become a construction electician. I know of course lightning carries a tremendous amount of power (voltage) current (amperage) I'm not certain, having never seen figures, so I can only write accurately that I've only been in the immediate vicinity of usually three phase six hundred with an amperage listed at ten thousand for extended periods. I did once happen to be in fairly close proximity to a pretty big ground fault, and was even "blessed" with a couple of arc fault explosions-but I never noticed a sulfurey sort of scent, much less brimstone.

But that has nothing to do with my question. I "copied and shall paste" so as to ensure I have your words accurately notated. I didn't anticipate the need for that extra paragraph, and so am glad I "copied."

You write, "Pretty soon I had a stringer of foot long catfish..."

My question is: just how long were these catfishes feet?


At 1:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Adding paragraphs is problematic when doing "stream of consciousness" typing, as my parentheticals and the word omission of "I ain't"(...)"doubting..." indicate.

Erasures on blogs don't work too goodly. (Paragraph four-but I kept thinking about those long-legged catfish.)


At 1:15 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

JK, are you suggesting that Uncle Cran meant "long-footed" catfish? You dare imply that Uncle Cran the Accurate and Veracious might have erred or misled?

Well . . . it's possible. It's also possible that he meant not "catfish" but "catchfish."

As in "Gotta go catchfish."

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 1:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oops, forgive me. The chickens are asleep in Melbourne too.

I meant to write it, "My question is: just how long were these CATFISHY feet?"


At 1:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No Professor,

It just seemed that in phrasing it as "a stringer full..." And that the catfishys in question were ALL foot long, seems that would mean that the catfishys were indeed "longfooted."

I realize all too well his reputation as "Cran the Accurate." So I took him literally.

It's just that, I my experience, when I caught a "stringer full" the catfish measured "on average, about a foot long."

Cran the Accurate would NOT have made such an error.


At 1:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


"In my experience"


At 3:04 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

JK, like those by now proverbial chickens come home to roost, you needs must "slepen all the nicht with open eeye"!

Or that's likely the problem...

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 9:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you believe this??
I actually missed your verbose, intellectual, well phrased {let us day - DRIVEL!). It is good to know why you were silenced. My concern that your FANtastic logic had warped your brain was unfounded.
My catfish had only fins, as most self respecting catfish do, with the exception of 'walking catfish,' which I have never seen.
My "flathead' catfish ranged from 8-12 inches, but "I am a fisherman," and hilbilly fishermen are allowed to 'stretch' things slightly.
I will not mention that this decrepit, 69 year old, (not a well man), would have no business wrasslin gators, and since my memory is slipping away, and wake up in a new world every day, events of the past may be just what I think they were, and are real in my own mind, so suggestions of lack of veracity are simply wrong. I believe them, and that is sufficient.
Also, dear Jeanie wrote me fron her son's home. She will be back home today, and once again I will have one person in this blog family on my side.

At 9:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I meant, of course, "Let us say," rather than "let us day."
And the phrase 'in Melbourne!"
I KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE! YOU CAN BE FOUND! I have a brother living near Oxford, and friends who can be bought. Be careful how you attack my blogs. By the way, could you post your photo on this blog? We would not want innocent people hurt, would we?

At 9:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would that be Melbourne, Arkansas, Melbourne, Australia, or some other Melbourne? Please be more specific, with directions.

At 4:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: catfish.
The 'fins' on a catfish are more like sharp thorns, we called them 'horns,' and they know how to use them, so you have to be careful when unhooking. There are three kinds of catfish in Big Creek near my place of birth. (1) the common flathead, sometimes called a mud catfish; (2) a blue catfish, that are actually a kind of blue skin, cleaner than a flathead; and (3) a channel catfish, light blue, sometimes with spots, that will oftentimes strike a lure, rather than just worms, minnows, liver, etc.They are all pretty good if you catch them in fresh water.
And with these final words of wisdom, I will leave this blog. Kindly ignore any implied threats. The were in jest and should jest be ignored.

At 7:33 AM, Blogger jeanie oliver said...

Cran, JK, and Jeff-er-y,
I am here! Home at last where lightning struck the tree in our front yard last summer. Not only did it knock pictures off the wall, but when it struck, the odor was so distinct that anyone who has been that close just nods in agreement. So...I am, of course, here to support Uncle Cran's statement of smell, and challenge any detractors to stand in a puddle of water during the next storm so that personal experience will stop your zapping of pure hillbillies and our larger-than-life tales.
Jeanie of light brown hair with blond NYC highlights
(note, if Uncle Cran adopts me then, Jeff-er-y, we would be cousins!)
one more note, please excuse any mistakes as I have no glasses on...

At 9:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the much needed support.
This latest blog tells it all, and the pure misery of being attacked by all and sundry without anyone coming to my defense is causing me to feel like an 69 year old man, ancient, decrepit and lonely. {Which I am, but until now didn't feel like it}.
I hope you had a great visit, and now I will tell you, you are closer to the 'adoption' than ever.

At 1:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well Cran,

Since it's obvious you've regained support (if not any discernable improvement in "story" telling, uh skills) you deserve a reprieve.

I can not for a minute think that I might attempt (successfully) disputing someone like Jeani (who nonetheless is seeking adoption) because I recall that females of the species are not capable of flatulence. And because it is also a given that those same said females do possess remarkable senses of olfactory acuity, I no longer doubt the sulfury smell.

But. Foot long catFISHY stories? Well I'll kindly take that as just "something's in the Ozarks water."

Actually it's Antartica, specifically an Australian research station and since I recall Oxford is in the UK, good luck. The exchange rates between Ozarkian dollars and pounds sterling are pretty steep just now. And looking at the weather reports, you are likely to have to exchange your bermuda shorts too.

You are one of those guys who would keep an eight inch catfish?


At 2:30 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Sorry, folks, but the adapter to my internet connection went out, so I've been offline . . . but I see that I'm not needed anyway.

Carry on.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 7:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I notice you have trouble spelling Jeanie's name still.
When I was growing up, the 11th of 12 kids, food was a constant struggle. Anything that flew, walked, ran or swam on our property had better look out, or it might get eaten! In those ancient days of yore, game wardens were not a problem. Anything caught, snared, shot, seined or hooked was fair game. Availability, rather than size, was the criteria. We didn't know better at the time.
Of course, I am now the ideal hunter or fisherman, strictly abiding by regulations.
Give me your email address and I'll send the photo of last year's trophy buck. {I know where you live!}.
Why such a large family?
You recall we had no electricity, thus no phone, radio, tv, few neighbors, and our poor parents had to have something to do for a pasttime.

At 7:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You couldn't blog?
We hadn't noticed.
Feel free to comment any time.

At 7:55 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Uncle Cran, that's why I'm unidentifiable.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 3:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Please forgive but I have another question.

" I blithely walked the trail down to Big Creek, at a bend in the creek next to the 'crooked bottom' hayfield..."

"When I was growing up, the 11th of 12 kids, food was a constant struggle. Anything that flew, walked, ran or swam on our property had better look out, or it might get eaten!"

I realize re-reading your own words has obvious drawbacks, but that is where my question derives from. I know you to be CRAN THE ACCURATE as your most respecting and obviously most deserving adoptee labels you. I consider Jeff should be deserving of your considerable fortune when that most unfortunate, or fortunate (for yourself) hour arrives.

Thank goodness, one can access land records via this internet thingy nowadays. I'd a hated to have to purchase fuel to make the trip from Antarctica to the Ozarks to do a proper title search.

Mind, I'm not doubting anything seeing as how you, "Cran the Accurate and Veracious" as your deserving adoptee calls you (I'd be tempted to type "Voracious") but my question:

"Anything that flew, walked, ran or swam on our property... I blithely walked the trail down to Big Creek..."

Now I don't particularly desire to be adopted or anything but should you precede me, might you consider leaving a bit of this largesse to little ol' me?

Either the upper end of Big Creek or the lower, I don't mind. I would prefer you spray for ticks however prior to my taking possession.

(Professor Hodges?

I'm still waiting for that to get credited to my account.)


At 4:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh and Cran,

No need to send me any pictures, Jeanie (notice the spelling?) sent me a picture of you standing beside that "trophy buck" with the white spots adorning it's back, already.

I especially appreciate that you contributed to your local economy by getting the auto body fixer-uppers some business by fixing your front bumper.


At 6:57 AM, Blogger jeanie oliver said...

My goodness, JK, you have become very verbose as you have aged over the 10 days that I was gone! You must go through the adoption process which requires respect of your elders and their stories to have a leg to stand on when the will is read.
note-being female, I am always right, however, I refrained from ever telling you that you were wrong in spelling my name, so you can send some of Jeff's big check my way for remaining dignified and ladylike in my superiority.

At 7:54 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Big check? Have I sent JK a BIG check? I don't recall sending out any large packages. My mind must be failing...

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 10:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

JK, send me your email address and I will show you the big 9 point buck (unspotted).
Let me clarify: " Anything that walked....or ran across our property....", please note, no cannibalism was involved, just animals, so feel safe to visit. Big creek starts just north of Viola, and meanders past the farm we once owned, 6 miles southwest, on another 10 miles, when it enters Norfolk lake. Our farm was 408 acres. The "largess" did not include all the land that surrounds Big Creek, if that was what you were implying.
I fear your contacts with electrical events may have affected your cognitive processes.
But I still kind of like you, and do enjoy your meanderings, though it's hard to follow them through all their twists and turns.

At 11:06 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Uncle Cran, I'll always be sad that the Big Creek farm was sold.

Of course, I know that one can't go home again anyway...

Jeffery Hodges

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