Fishing with the alligator

My father and his brother shared a vacation home in Holden Beach and my mother’s parents retired there, so I spent many summers with my grandparents. My grandmother’s home was in the vicinity of where Food Lion is now. There was, and still is, a small pond just up from where she lived. She and I both loved to fish either in the pond, the Intracoastal Waterway or at the pier. The pond also was the home of a alligator that never bothered anyone.

One late summer afternoon we walked up to the pond to try our luck with fishing rods, bait, bucket (for all the fish we would catch) and chairs in tow. We baited up, threw our lines in the water and waited patiently for a bite.

The alligator was on the opposite end of the pond, so we didn’t worry, until we saw him slither into the water. My grandmother assured me he was probably hot and getting in the water to “cool off.” He started to slowly swim in our direction. My grandmother re-assured me that he would not bother us and to ignore him. He got closer and closer, and we froze as he came to the shore right in front of us.
About that time, he opened his very large mouth and let out this hiss that scared my grandmother (and me) so bad that she dropped everything and yelled “run!” I turned to look at her, and she was already well on her way in a sprint that I had never seen her attempt before. I remember yelling, “wait, wait!” She never slowed down. After we caught our breath, we laughed and laughed.

My husband and I now have a vacation home at Holden Beach and pass by this pond often visiting friends. I think of this story every time we pass by and have shared it with our children who always look to see if the alligator is back.

Dena Misenheimer, Rockwell, Brunswick EMC

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