I took the picture to the left last summer in the mountains of North Carolina. This was not the lake in the story below and I can't find any digital pictures I have of a Sandhill lake.
Every summer, from the time I was twelve up till I started working at the age of sixteen, I spent at least two weeks with my grandparents. These lazy summer days were spent doing odd chores around their house and yard and going with my grandmother to visit relatives and old cemeteries where our ancestors were buried. My granddad would come in from work at 5 PM and my grandmother would have dinner ready so that as soon as we finished, the two of us could take off to a lake, a beaver dam or some farm pond where we’d fish till either a storm came up or the light had been drained from the sky. Then we’d go home and out back, under the porch light, we’d clean our catch, many of which my grandmother would fry up for us the next evening.
I have fond memories of fishing with my granddad. He allowed me a lot of independence which I valued, but probably had something to do with his belief that fish could hear you talking and him wanting to fish quietly. Once we got to the water, we’d often go in different directions. One evening we were fishing in rather large lake, downhill from a house that belonged to people my granddaddy knew. They were not home, so we drove around the house and my granddad parked his truck by the dam. With his fly rod, which is now one of my prize possessions, he fished one side of the lake while I crossed the dam and fished the other side using a spinning rod and a rebel, a top floating lure that when pulled fast will dive to about a foot under the surface and wiggle in a way that sometimes drove bass crazy.
After a few minutes of fishing this evening, I was startled to hear the muffled cry of a woman calling for help. I looked, but didn’t see anyone and was troubled because the voice seemed to come from behind my grandfather, up near the house, yet he didn’t seem fazed. The cry came again and I shouted at my grandfather, but he just waved and said its okay. It sure didn’t sound okay. When the cry came a third time, I knew someone was in trouble. I dropped my rod, made sure my Ka-bar knife was safely stowed in its sheath on my belt, and ran as fast as I could around the dam and up the hill, all the while yelling for my grandfather to join me. I couldn’t believe his hearing had gotten so bad, yet granddad didn’t bulge. “Come back here,” he said. But I kept running, with images of me saving some beautiful damsel in distress. I was also worried over what was wrong with my granddad and why he wasn't helping. I got up on top of the hill, near the house and started looking around frantically.
Instead of finding a woman in peril, I saw a peacock, its feathers displayed like the old NBC logo. I didn’t think anything about it, except that it was strange for peacocks are not native to the Sandhills of North Carolina. After a few minutes of not finding anything else unusual, I walked back down the hill toward my granddad. Right before I got to him, the cry came again. I turned around and saw the peacock up on top of the hill and heard my granddad laugh. Peacocks can make a cry that sounds a lot like a woman crying for help. Feeling a bit foolish, I went back to my fishing. I’d have to wait for another day to make my debut as the lone ranger.