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  • Writer's pictureMags

Spending Summer in South Georgia

My father's uncle, Uncle Walt, had a cabin down in the South Georgia woods, near Pine Mountain and Warm Springs. Every summer, usually

during the peak of the July or August heat, our family

would retreat to Uncle Walt's.

My grandparents lived near enough to the cabin that they would travel down to spend most of the days with us. And what days we had! We would adventure through the woods, fish or canoe in the pond, sail on the lake, and swim. We didn't swim in the lake much because of the snakes. I remember being out on the lake one time before we realised there was a snake in the boat with us - so we jumped into the water. But Daddy was on the shore shouting at us to get back in the boat because there were snakes in the lake too!

There was a spill way at the foot of the lake where the overflow water used to power the old grist mill and we used to go "down to the spill way for a swim". It was like having our own private beach. And it was snake-free (at least that's what Daddy told us).

There was a little pier in front of the cabin with a bench nearby. Uncle Walt and my granddaddy would sit on the bench and bait our hooks, while my sisters and I just threw our lines into the water again and again. I don't think we ever caught much.

When we weren't fishing, swimming or building forts in the woods, we would try to catch turtles, or lizards, or butterflies. There was no shortage of wildlife. We had a beagle that we sometimes just followed around in the woods . . .

Did I mention the heat? This was South Georgia in the summer and to say that 'it was hot' is a woefully inadequate statement. My favourite thing was when Uncle Walt came by in the mornings, he'd put a watermelon under the spigot at the back porch. By lunchtime that watermelon would be cold enough to enjoy with a (glass) bottle of coke.

In the evenings, after we had our pyjamas on, sometimes we'd go out in the boat with Daddy to put the milk jugs out on the lake. This was called 'Jugging' for catfish. You baited up the milk jugs, set them out at night and then in the morning when you gathered them all in, you had a 'mess of catfish' for a fish fry at dinner.

The only thing I didn't enjoy was the bath house. The cabin had an indoor toilet, but not a bath or shower. You had to go outside to the bath house for a shower. It was across the yard, it was poorly lit, it was always damp, and you never new what manner of reptile would be hiding in there waiting to get you while you were in the nip! Otherwise, it was the perfect place for a southern childhood.

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