**After reading the story, you are, of course, goin' to want to try the stew!**
“It was at least 20 feet long,” Turkey Thomas blurted breathlessly! “I never seen such a ’gator! And his mouf was at least a yard wide and gaped open a yard and a half! I’m tellin’ you it was a prehistoric dinosaur!”
“But the world record ’gator was only 19'3",” Junior reminded his brother, Turkey.
However, that’s hard to accept when you’ve just lost a new 6" Carolina GORILLA® Boot off your right foot in the mouth of this “monster.” That ’gator just grabbed his boot and rolled. Out popped his foot! It was too easy for that ’gator! Maybe he should have bought that Great Oak 8" Logger. At least it wouldn’t have come off so easy, he reasoned, agonizing more over the $59 cost than the fact he nearly lost his foot.
It simply couldn’t have been the 6' animal he dragged dead limp out of the gravel pit yesterday afternoon after the hailstorm. And it was a good ’un, too. Golf ball and baseball sized hail stones fell all through those parts pretty well messing up the crops, roofs, pickups, and the few cars in the area.
Turkey had gone out to check the place left to the family when his father died. In the back of the property at the gravel pit he noticed a sizeable log at the shoreline. He figured he needed to check that out since there were no trees around that gravel pit. On closer inspection, he saw that “log” was an alligator!
Alligator? Here in south Arkansas? Naw, ’gators never get this far up! But that sure was what it was! He found a long stick and went to check it out. He poked gently at first then more vigorously with no response. That ’gator was dead!
Turkey sure didn’t want to be that ’gator’s next meal. But he’d heard how mounted ’gator heads were selling for $99 in New Orleans. He didn’t mind taking some of those south Louisiana folks’ money. After carefully deciding that the ’gator was dead, he loaded it in his pickup and took it back up to the house and laid it out on the back porch.
Poppin’ a beer top, he slid down in the easy chair to admire his new 6" Carolina GORILLA® Boots. Still exuding the smell of new shoe leather, they worked really well in the soggy soil of south Arkansas. He was as proud of his tough new shoes as he had been of his turkey call last year. Does life get any better?
Next morning Turkey sharpened his huntin’ knife to skin that ’gator and head to New Orleans. Out the back door he went to an empty porch! That ’gator was missin’!
Now, 6' ’gators don’t just disappear without a trace. There has to be a reason—maybe two reasons. Ol’ Bugler, Turkey’s award winnin’ ’coon dog was number one. But it was unlikely Bugler could’ve got off with that ’gator by hisself. The number two suspect was Ol’ Blue Eyes, Turkey’s seventy-pound Catahoula Cur. Now, Blue Eyes could’ve got off with that ’gator ’specially with Bugler’s help. But where on earth were those two? Bugler and Blue Eyes must’ve drug that ’gator off in the woods fer some good eatin’.
Turkey was mad. Those two good-fer-nuthin’ flea bags had got off with his $99 ’gator head! All they did was eat, sleep, and hunt. The only time they was any good was huntin’.
’Bout that time, Turkey heard a whimper. Lookin’ around he saw Blue Eyes limpin’ up to the house. He had a flap of skin peeled off his right front leg hangin’ down around his paw. Was that a ’gator bite? Turkey looked closer and carefully laid the skin back on the bare leg meat. There were two other puncture wounds close to the rip. Ol’ Blue Eyes had nearly got eaten by that ’gator! No sooner had Turkey figured out what happened to Blue Eyes than Ol’ Bugler crept quietly and warily toward the porch apparently afraid there was still “something” on it. That ’gator must’ve attacked those boys from the porch. They hadn’t ever seen a beast that wouldn’t run for a tree when they showed up!
Turkey grabbed his walkin’ stick and headed to the gravel pit with revenge as much as the $99 in mind. Sure ’nough there was that “log” on the bank on the far side of the water about 200 yards away. Turkey sprinted back up to the house and returned with his 12-gauge shotgun: the one he used to “herd” fish.
He wasn’t sure whether killing a ’gator with a shotgun was illegal as it was with fish, but he figured he could “herd” it onto the bank like he did the fish. He poled his flat-bottomed boat across the pond toward that “log.” As he got about 20 yards away, the ’gator started to slip toward the water.
Turkey fired at the mud between the ’gator and the water. The ’gator whirled around and headed for the tall grass of the upper bank. But he still wanted the safety of the water. As Turkey put his right foot out of the boat into the mud and reached back to get his 12-gauge, that ’gator lunged hissing and grabbed his booted foot with a vise-grip that would have torn his foot clear off had it not been for the boot’s protective steel toe. Instead it merely jerked his prized new 6" Carolina GORILLA® Boot plumb off his foot!
“Merely”? “Merely”! “Merely,” indeed! It was his boot in that ’gator’s chompin’ mouth as he plunged into the deep water! Now Turkey was fightin’ mad! Dogs are one thing—even the $99 head pales by comparison with losin’ a 6" Carolina GORILLA® Boot!
Turkey spent the next two days stalking that ’gator with his shotgun unconcerned about the legality of his method. He had to get his boot back!
Sure ’nough one evening that ’gator was on the near bank. Turkey took aim with his deer rifle for the heart/lung area. He certainly didn’t want to hit him in the stomach and risk damaging his boot, nor did he want to ruin that $99 trophy head. It was a clean shot and the ’gator lay still. Havin’ been fooled more than once by this ’gator Turkey approached cautiously. Pokin’ it with his walking stick he decided it was at last a dead ’gator.
He indeed did get the ’gator’s head, but more importantly, he found his prized right boot in the beast’s stomach. Its plastic parts had survived the ’gator’s digestive system rather well to Turkey’s great relief.
Turkey’s friend, Boudreaux, from Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, urged him to salvage at least the ’gator’s tail meat for frying or gumbo. Turkey loved that ’gator gumbo! But was that a hint of chicken flavor or boot leather?
Written by:Paul Elliott
**Stew Recipe available in recipe section of the Dew**