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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

dancin' with gators

Sorry I haven't been around the past few days, I haven't felt well at all, but I think I'll be ok (a post at the new blog explains). I thought it would be fun to rerun one of my favorite old posts, while I try to catch up on blog template back orders... Enjoy!

Take six cajuns (male/female) a fast boat, some waterskis and a rope and douse liberally with beer and booze and what have you got? A buncha crazeez that will do almost anything! One of our favorite pastimes was cruisin' out in a boat and finding an area where there were several alligators laying in the water near the bank. They were not hard to find at all, as they are quite plentiful. I lived in a small town named Theriot on Bayou du'Large, and I had a small house right on the waterway with about 100ft of waterfront. It had a really great view of the Intracoastal Inland Waterway and was basically slap in the middle of the swamps.

The way we played dancin' with gators was to try to hit a gator in the head with your ski or skis without falling. Yes, it does take quite a bit of nerve to purposely antagonize alligators, and be right there in the water with said gator, thats where the alcohol comes in. Actually hitting one was quite difficult because they can move or submerge a lot faster than you might think and they were really just as afraid of you as people are afraid of them. The big exception is during the time when female gators are guarding a nest of eggs, then you better be prepared to be chased or attacked. And you definitely did not want to step on one in the middle of a moonless night while out in the swamp, frog hunting, but that's a whole nother story.

The trick was to have someone in the boat spot ahead for a target and point it out to you while you were being towed. The driver of the boat would then swing around in a u-turn so you could swing way out at very high speed and come around fast enough that the gator was taken totally by surprise. As I said this was very difficult because they are quite wary of human presence but not so much afraid of boats because they pass constantly. What they are not used to however, is a crazee cajun with sticks on his feet, swinging in for a kill at 50+ mph! Doing this was some of the best fun I have ever had. I never hit one myself although I tried many, many
times. I can only recall one good hit and that was by a buddy named Badeaux (bad-o) who crashed so hard in to the head of one that it made him flip over because his ski came to a dead stop and he kept going! He was now in the water with one VERY angry gator and he scrambled up on to the bank and ran like a mad dog. The gator meanwhile was actually scared as hell and took off up the bank and disappeared in to the swamp.

What a day that was, we nicknamed Badeaux "gator bait" and everyone called him that for years and probably still do. I also had a pet gator for a while. He would swim by the house almost everday and beg for handouts, and we would usually toss him a hotdog or anything else we might throwout of the fridge. We named him "Jaws" of course but he was fairly small and still quite young maybe 4 ft long or so. I have lived in some really cool places and Theriot brings back some really fun memories that I will have to tell you about in the future. It's only about 1 month away till Mardi Gras here in N.O. and I will be doing a lot of stuff on that topic including some live stuff from the scene! Stay Tuned!