Saturday, January 31, 2009

Crossing into Canada

Colin’s recent travel jogged a childhood memory of my own.

The Background:

I’m not sure if my own children have ever had the experience of hunting for night crawlers. However, when I was a child, a fishing trip to Canada was a yearly event for my family... Tradition dictated that my brother, my dad, and I would go outside about an hour after dark when the ground was damp and hunt night crawlers. I don’t know if you can really appreciate the size or the resistance of these creatures unless you’ve had the experience first hand.

As a country kid, I was usually barefoot or wearing flip flops… We’d use flashlights and would sneak around the damp yard stalking these giant earth worms. Some would just peak out of their holes with just the tips of their heads and would instantly retreat into their hole as we approached. Others would have most of their body draped out onto the ground. They were sensitive to light and vibration and moved at lightning speed so we had to strike quickly in our attempt to grab them. If we were lucky, we could catch one and drop it in our bucket.

Typically however, they’d put up a good fight! There was often a wonderful tug-of-war which sometimes ended in half a worm if you were overzealous. All too often the slimy worm managed to escape our grasp. By the day we left for our trip however, we would have a giant can (3 feet tall) filled with living night crawlers.

Crossing the Border

We’d hold our breath every time that we went through Customs. Even though it was back in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, we would often be stopped and our car and boat searched by Customs Officials. Not only was this intimidating, it could also mean a long delay (maybe a half hour to an hour) to our vacation. On one particular trip, the Customs official had my dad open his trunk… The officer opened this interesting looking 3 foot tall can that presented itself before him and plunged his arm elbow deep into it as he asked my dad what was in the can. When my dad was able to reveal the contents, the search came to a halt and an embarrassed officer told us that we could now go ahead. We tried rather unsuccessfully to hide the amused looks on our faces as we continued on our way.

1 comment:

  1. I'm wondering why this story is important... I've probably told an abridged version of it to my kids before. It's a strong memory with some type of emotional attachment. Maybe because it was some something really fun that we did as kids and I can somehow connect with my dad through it. The worms were sooo gross and I can still feel how icky the wet grass was on my feet. The mosquitos would be attacking.. using US for bait. Yet it was a really fun time! (It was also SO Gross when the worms broke into two pieces...)