Wednesday, February 4, 2009



Bob Withabee fished Rock Creek in Twin Falls, Idaho for trout. The creek, it is said, is somewhat polluted, but Bob didn't care. He liked the look on the trout's faces. They always seemed to be smiling and happy, even as they expired in his kreel.

Bob thought he had a way of leaching out the pollutants. He did this by making soup out of the fish. He left the heads on, and whenever he checked the pot, trout faces smiled up at him from simmering broth and quartered onions.

Bob snagged a crawdad in Rock Creek once, and chose to add it to his trout face soup.

The crawdad never smiled when alive, nor did it crack even the slightest grin as it cooked. Bob came to the conclusion that crawdads, at least the one he caught, have no sense of humor.

He didn't want his trout face soup tainted with the spice of sadness or curmudgeonery, so he pulled the now red crustacean from the pot and placed it in a small sauce pan and covered it with a lid so he wouldn't have to look at it. The trout face soup was all smiles again.

After dinner, Bob removed the crawdad from the sauce pan and took it outside, set it on a fence post in his back yard, then went indoors and sat in his rocking chair where he could watch through a window. Bob was confident a cranky crow would come along sooner or later to investigate, and sure enough, just a few moments later, one arrived.

The crow, feathered black as its disposition, cocked its head to the right, studied the creature a bit, then grabbed it in its beak and flew off with it.

"My home is happy again," Bob stated to himself, then took his shovel and an empty can to the compost area of his yard to dig for worms, and if he should happen to unearth a grub he would toss it away.

"Grubs," believed Bob Withabee, "are grumpy."

© Dan Tompsett

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