“Lawdy, Lawdy,” thought 13 year old Tommy, as he drew his kerchief from his back pocket to wipe his sweaty brow. “This day had to be the hottest one yet this summer!” he murmured to himself as he silently longed to just skip the chores he and his Grampa had to finish in the big ole barn and skedaddle on down to the river for a refreshing swim in the cold mountain runoff.
“Whatcha thinkin’ boy?” Tommy heard his grampa say…”I’ma thinkin’ how I could use a tall, cold glass of Gramma’s lemonaid he replied. “Shore nuff, Tommy, your Gramma makes the best lemonaid here in these parts.” Grampa agreed grinning. “I was thinkin’ we might go down to Johnson’s General Store tomorra, maybe grab ourselves a sodie or two…my treat!” Tommy perked up immediately, “That’d be awesome Grampa, that shure is a treat!” Tommy continued…”Ya know Grampa, I was down at ole Mr. Johnson’s store just the other day and saw some fancy city folk havin’ a mornin’ coffee at one of them tables he’s got fer folks to sit at.” Grampa raised an eyebrow as Tommy continued with his story…”They was talkin’ bout some monster they was gonna hunt…right here in our woods ta boot!” he exclaimed with dismay.
“Well, ya know, Tommy”, Grampa began to say, ” Them city folks been round here ever since I can remember, lookin’ fer monsters up here in our woods…ain’t nobody found any yet.” Tommy drifted off in thought..he hadn’t heard about no monsters in the woods as far as he could recollect …but the thought fascinated him none the less. “You ever seen any monsters in these woods, Grampa?” Tommy asked hesitantly. “Well boy, what I’ma bout ta tell ya goes no further, ya hear now?” Grampa spoke low and real quiet like. “What?!” Tommy burst out…”Ya’ll know I won’t tell no secrets Grampa, my word is good!” “Well, alright boy,” Grampa began….” ” A long time ago, when we was just about yer age, I ‘spose… ole man Jackson and I ran into some scientific types, from the city trampin’ round the woods lookin’ fer sumpthin’ like that.” Ole man Jackson and I started snickerin’ and whisperin’ bout how crazy they was soundin'” “Them types was commin’ ’round every so many years stompin thru the woods, shakin’ up the wildlife and leavin’ their trash behind…”
“They all seemed to get it in their heads that they gonna charge right up here and capture that thang, out in the middle of the night…chasin’ noises and such, carryin’ ’round flashlights and all types of gadgets and gizmos.” Lookin’ fer that creature, cock shure they gonna find it, they are!” Grampa finished in disgust. ” Holy cow!” exclaimed Tommy…“In the dark an all?!” ” Nuthin but the moonlight and them pawltry flashlights…” Grampa added.
“What they think they gonna DO with it,’ iffen they catch that monster, Grampa?!” Tommy blurted out. ” Well, I don’t rightly know, Tommy…” “Perhaps put ‘im on display sumwheres I suppose.” pondered Tommy’s Grampa. What I’m about to tell you…”grampa spoke cryptically, “Stays right here…don’t tell nobody, not even yer Gramma! continued Grampa “They ain’t never gonna catch that there monster…he’s smart and sneaky and he knows how ta hide real good!” Grampa reassured Tommy. “And just how you know all that Grampa, Tommy skeptically said, eyebrows raised in wonder.
“Well,” began Grampa, ” Like I said, ole man Jackson an I were just bout yer age when we was catfishin’ down at the bend in that river y’all like ta go swimmin’ in…” he continued. “It was a pretty hot and humid day way back in “66 as near as I can recall.” “Kinda like today…” ” We got it in our heads to sneak outta the chores, and skedaddle on down ta the river, maybe catch a catfish or two fer dinner that nite.” “And…?! ” Tommy anxiously prompted his Grampa…”What happened, I gotta know!” “Well,” Grampa spoke, Ole man Jackson and I were up to our armpits in the cold ass water when we both heard sumpthin’ real strange like… up yonder just beyond the bend we was at…” I looked at ole man Jackson and he was lookin’ right at me as we both realized there was sumpthin’ just beyond our sight that was spyin’ on us!” Tommy’s eyes began to bulge as Grampa carried on with his tale..
“We just kinda stood there, dumbfounded as to what we was gonna do next when ole man Jackson turned his head to look up at the bank. ” Just inside the treeline, we spied sumpthin’ movin’ round” Grampa paused…”then all of a suddin’ it stepped out from the trees and we done got an eye full of that monster them city folk was lookin’ fer! “ Lawdy Grampa!” Exclaimed Tommy in a high pitched croaky kinda sound, “Whatcha do next?” Tommy gawked…his mouth hangin’ wide open. “Well,” Grampa chuckled, “We did the only thang we could think of, right at that there moment… we high tailed it right on outta there!” Not real shure how ole man Jackson an I didn’t wear the soles right offen our shoes, we ran back to the house so fast!” “Oh my Gawd!”, gasped Tommy…”Whatcha do next?!” Grampa reflected a moment, then spoke with a smile on his face…”Well, when we got back to the house, we both agreed that we ain’t never gonna tell no one bout what we saw!”
“Yer Great Gramma woulda skinned me alive, ‘ iffen she knew we’d skipped out on our chores that day to go fool round down by the river, an I ain’t told nobody all these years either!” “Ole man Jackson and I had nightmares fer weeks after that, worryin’ and frettin’ bout discoverin’ sumpthin’ wanderin round them woods” Grampa chuckled “I went back a few months later, mostly outta curiosity, didn’t find nuthin’ like that critter we saw that one day but I did discover some big ole footprints…darned near eighteen or so inches long and bout seven wide. ” Grampa ruminated “But after a time, we growed up and started families an such… we done forgot all bout that day till you happen to bring it up, Tommy.” said Grampa.
“Wow!” exclaimed Tommy, “Do ya reckon they might ever find that monster you an ole man Jackson saw when you was kids?” Grampa paused a moment, let out a big ole sigh and pondered….”Well Tommy, it’s like I said, They ain’t never gonna find that there monster, he’s a smart feller…but maybe some day they will have lady luck on their side and snap a picture or two of the big ole beast.” Finished Grampa as Tommy looked on in in amazement. “Now, c’mon, boy, let’s go get some of that cold lemonaide yer Gramma’s so famous fer!” Laughed Grampa, as he stood up and ambled back towards the house…Tommy runnin’ along behind…”Last one’s a rotten egg,” yelled Tommy as he passed up his Grampa.