Journaling Reads: As a child, my Grandma Lantz and I would make stories up about how my grandfather lost his arm. He actually lost it in a printing press accident, but if you asked Grandma and I, an alligator ate it.
While the story of Billy and the Alligator can’t compare to the nostalgic love I have for those moments with my Grandmother, this story holds a lot more truth in it.
Oh the Scroggins Place, there was one summer we spent hours and hours out there fishing. One fishing trip out there will go down in history. You see it’s the day we were introduced to the Alligator living in the small lake we fished. The fishing expedition started out great. Billy caught a huge bass. He decided to take it home to put in their pond and tied it off on one of the stumps. Later, we pretty sure he caught another big one, but as we would soon find out, the alligator had an appetite for Billy’s Bass. As Billy was reeling in the bass, the alligator apparently swooped in for his meal, breaking the fishing pole. We were a bit shocked, but, needless to say oh “Bill Dance” was disappointed and none to happy about the alligator. Not long after that, we discovered he’d eaten the one Billy had tied off. And for Billy, that was it. The next thing we knew we were on the shore and Billy was loading his shotgun. Before Cody and I could even fuly access what was going to happen next, we were back on the water in our john boat with just a trolling motor hunting for the alligator. You should have seen the guy fishing on the bridge scurry away as soon as he saw us. All Cody and I could think of was that we were going to jail- hunting alligator is illegal without a permit. And as we pushed up into a cove, we began to think we wouldn’t make it to jail because we might not make it off the water alive. But, Billy finally gave up and accepted defeat- at least for the night.
It wasn’t too long after that when he and a few of his friends were out riding four wheelers as the Scroggins Place that Billy had his four wheeler accident and got a concussion. He doesn’t remember much from that night. But, his brother Bennie will tell you all about being in the hospital with him. “What time is it? Is the four wheeler broke? Did anyone get hurt? What day is it? Did I miss field station?” These were questions Billy would ask Bennie over and over again. . . until Bennie decided to have some fun with it- telling him he’d been in the hospital for days and missed field station and would flunk. (And of course Billy would accuse someone of steeling his juice straw that was sitting on his leg.) After the scare was over, Bennie, Cody, and I would have a lot of fun with this incident. To this day we give Billy a hard time about the questions- and what we really suspect must have happened that night. . .
Within a day or two of that incident, the alligator would be found on the banks of the lake at Scroggins Place, dead. Although, we have no evidence of it and we really believe Billy, we’ve always said that Billy killed that alligator the night of his four wheeler accident. And when Billy tries to say he didn’t, well, that’s about the time we remind him of all those questions and how he doesn’t remember the night. So how would he know whether he killed the alligator or not.