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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Devereaux and the catfish

This is one of my most favorite pictures because of the story behind it.  That's an enormous catfish that was caught on a trot line my grandfather and a guide rigged down at the hunting and fishing club where he was a member.  I was little bitty but I still remember hearing all about it.

The African American man is Devereaux, my grandparents houseman, for lack of a better term.  Devereaux and Virginia were "The Help" my grandparents employed and they lived on their property out at White Rock Lake in an apartment over the garage.  Word on the street was Devereaux had a wife (?) but you know how all that went back then, and even today.  (I know this because little pitchers have big EARS and I somehow managed to hear just about everything.)  I also knew Virgina deeply loved Devereaux but I know he was 100% hound dog and probably loved himself more than any woman.  It was plain to me and I heard my grandmother talk about it once.  More on that in installment 2.

OK...on with the story.  Devereaux and Virginia always went down to the lake with my grandparents to tend them, and while there on one trip my grandfather's fishing guide told him they had caught a monster catfish on the trot line they'd set out, and he needed help getting the fish in the boat.  Enter Devereaux.  His help was enlisted to go pull that thing off the line and into the boat, though he was terrified of water and did not know how to swim.  Knowing  my grandfather, he probably sent Devereaux and the guide to go do all the heavy lifting, while he mixed a cocktail, and waited on the dock.

As the story goes, the guide lifted up the trot line and instructed Devereaux to grab that catfish by the jaws and pull it up and into the boat.  One look at that fish, in the water, and Devereaux turned white as a sheet and went nuts screaming "Lawd....Lawd...Lawd...that fish goan eat me!!!".....  I think the guide had to take Devereaux back to dry land and find someone else to help land that fish, and unless I'm way off base time wise, I do believe that was Devereaux's last trip to the lake.  Ever.

Now, to answer all your questions, no the man with the pipe is not my grandfather.  I don't know who that is.  My grandfather is the one who took this picture.  The guy holding the fish was Fred Pugh, one of their most favorite fishing guides, and the woman is my crack fisher-woman grandmother, Mimi, mom's mother.  She could out fish and out hunt any man, and still be a lady as she did it. 

More on Virgina and Devereaux in installment 2.

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