Uncle Wendell Catches a Forty Pounder

by David Wooddell, Sr. as related many times by my father, Luther H. Wooddell.

"40 pounds dripping wet... literally!"

Ok no picture is needed here as you shall see. The year was around 1955. Grandaddy and Granny Wooddell, (aka Luther H. Wooddell, Sr. and Lenore (Shirey) Wooddell) along with Uncle Wendell (George) Perry and Aunt Myrtle (Wooddell - Grandaddy's sister) Perry had come to Bellville Illinois where we lived at the time for a visit. Dad (aka L.H. Wooddell, Jr.) was in the Air Force and stationed at Scott Air Force Base.

On with the story. The "menfolk" of course went fishing. This was normal. What was not normal was that it had been raining hard, and the creek where we went was running even with the top of the wooden bridge. Since the fishing was pretty much near impossible, after about 15 minutes, a 4 year old boy (aka David Wooddell) was walking around on a very wet bridge, stepping on the wooden planks to keep from getting "excessively wet".

On the upstream side of this very inundated bridge, was a log that had washed against the bridge, and was held there precariously by the raging current. Thus it looked like any other part of the bridge to a 4 year old. I recall stepping on it. Then I recall cold, brown water engulfing me (these memories etch indelibly) for but a few seconds. Then a hand grabbed my arm or collar and swung me up on the downstream side of the bridge.

In short order we packed up and went home. Upon our return, the "womenfolk" asked "Catch any?" To which my Dad replied, "just Uncle Wendell. He caught a 40 pounder!" Indeed he did. There I stood in damp hair, and someone's shirt. I was hustled inside to get dry clothes on. Thus you can understand this is but one reason why he was always one of my favorite uncles. That and he was a great person.

Upon his death in 1999, the realization hit me hard that perhaps, just perhaps, he as much as my father is responsible for my being here today. For had he not been a good Christian man, and in the good graces of God, and his one desperate reach into the murky water to save a boy being swept away by a raging current, there may not be this website, and my children today. The fact that I am here, is proof, that he really did "catch a 40 pounder that day."

This is the earliest "fish story" I can remember. Thank you for letting me share it.

by David A. Wooddell, Sr.


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