Tales from the Cabin
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From the Editor: Catching Memories

Hunting night crawlers with Grandma

By Mark R. Johnson
Published: March 1, 2014
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Cabin Life editor Mark Johnson and Charlie, his chocolate Lab
I am often tempted to wax nostalgic in this space. Sometimes, I resist the temptation because it’s easy to overdo nostalgia when it comes to cabins and cottages, places where great memories are made. This time, I can’t resist.

As we were putting together the April 2014 issue and I read John Neporadny’s article “Mother Nature’s Bait Shop” (p. 48), it brought back childhood memories of hunting for night crawlers with my Grandma Norah.

Grandma was well qualified to mentor me in the art of stalking crawlers. Before Grandpa Ernie passed away, he and Grandma enjoyed two pastimes: fishing and gardening. (You know … “enjoyed,” as in “Paul Bunyan enjoyed eating pancakes.”) Anyway, Grandma knew her stuff.

In anticipation of a weekend at the cabin, I’d spend a late weekday evening at Grandma’s house. This was the drill:

1. Before dinner, we’d set up the sprinkler to generously water a large section of her flower gardens and lawn.

2.
After dinner, we’d assemble our gear: flashlights with sheer red fabric draped over the lenses and secured with a rubber band, and buckets for our bounty. Then, we’d shut off the sprinkler.

3.
Well after dark, we’d go out into the yard, splitting up into opposite corners of the pre-designated, watered section.

4.
With feather-light steps, we’d silently work our quadrants, slowly sweeping our flashlights over the wet ground, looking earnestly for the slippery reflection of light on a crawler.

5.
When I spotted a worm, I’d shoot my wide-palmed hand toward it with confidence and quickly retrieve my prize.

Growing up, we rarely bought bait. Grandma was a good teacher.
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