Granny Lue was hoeing in her garden and I was feeding some bacon to the baby alligator that really wasn’t a baby anymore. Granny Lue and Poo had been visiting relatives down in Louisiana where everyone had double names like Rosey Jewel and Velda Mae and Billy Neal. Anyway, when they came back home they brought me a baby alligator, sort of a living souvenir.
I was thrilled and my popularity with the neighborhood kids rose dramatically. But Mother liked her alligators down in the bayous and not in her bathtub. So Poo built a pen for it in their backyard and with all the bacon I was feeding it, Snapper was growing bigger and meaner by the day. Poo was glad to build the pen because it gave him something to do. He was a boilermaker for the railroad but his union had gone out on strike and he’d been at home and at loose ends ever since. Ed Schulte who lived next door had crossed the picket line and when he did it seemed like he jumped right in on Poo’s job. This didn’t sit well with Grannie Lue and she was hoeing her garden with a vengeance.
I was busy feeding Snapper when I smelled the delicious odor of something other than bacon. I looked up to see Mrs. Schulte approaching with a kind of quivery smile on her face. She was holding the source of the aroma – – a luscious golden-brown pineapple upside-down cake. Granny Lue looked up from her hoeing and saw the enemy approaching. I’ve never seen her move so fast, before or since.
She held that hoe up high like deadly weapon, which it was. And she was screaming, “Get off my property, you filthy scab! Get off my yard, you scab!”
This frightened Mrs. Schulte so much that she hastily retreated and dropped the pineapple upside-down cake and it landed right side up, which was really the wrong side, on the ground. What a waste! Even Snapper was impressed by Granny Lue’s hoe wielding rage. Little did he know that he’d soon be traveling.
Granny and Poo decided that Snapper might be confused and not know the difference between bacon and the fingers of some neighborhood kid. So Poo and I took him down to the Mississippi river and told him to swim south, back to his own kind.
The next day the local paper had a story with a headline that read – – Alligator Sighted In Mississippi, Farthest North Ever!”