Oh barefoot boy
With sun-tanned cheek,
You found your joy
In yonder creek.
Every boy should have a creek in his life!
For me it was a nondescript little stream which still bubbles up from
northwest of our town and eventually winds up in the Missouri River.
We never called it "creek" in our day. It was always "crick" – and it was our substitute for computer games which are seemingly necessary to pacify the kids of the later generation.
I think of it especially in the spring but it was an all-season recreation
area for me and my buddies in the late 1920s and early 1930s.
Back then the creek contained a few holes deep enough so you could
actually fish with a cane pole, hook and bobber. We didn't catch much:
an occasional bullhead or maybe a worthless sucker now and then.
Mostly though we seined barefooted in the shallow, slow-moving
I remember once when a buddy and I scooped up a whole washtub full
of tadpoles, minnows and crawdads.
I don't know why we did it. They all died and they smelled a lot too
before wiser adults ordered us to dump them out for the chickens. That
was before the environmental controls were enforced.
Folks threw garbage over the banks, and there were tin cans and broken
bottles in the muddy bottom to gash the feet of unsuspecting shoeless waders.
Why we didn't all die of typhoid and other dread diseases, I'll never
Mothers were not particularly happy about our splashing around in the
polluted creek, and sometimes we disregarded strict orders to stay our of it.
Speaking of that tub full of dead and stinky fish – the chickens we fed
them to did not die of that great Frank Buck, Bring 'em Back Alive
c 2009 Robert F. Karolevitz