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Possumhaw: The color's in the jigs


Shannon Bardwell



Spring flings a craving on me for something new to wear; something "springy" even if temperatures are freezing. No matter, I wanted something the yellow of a daffodil, the fuchsia of loropetalum or the purple of a budding redbud. Only I was prevented from going to my usual thrift haunts because I had given up my love of thrifting for Lent. It meant sacrifice. 


Of late I have been taken with long skirts, Prairie skirts. They swish and I like swishing. Pencil skirts do not swish. Shopping for long Prairie skirts at thrift stores is the best and quickest option. Regular retail stores group their offerings in "collections," so you have to tour the entire store but at thrift stores all the skirts are hanging in one long row, maybe 100 feet long.  


All you have to do is run down the row of skirts with your head cocked sideways so you can see the long skirts hanging below the short ones. This saves an enormous amount of shopping time not to mention being cost effective. And yes, I find the same designer brands, Ann Taylor, Coldwater Creek, JJill, Calvin Klein, etc.  


So on the day of my incredible colorful craving, I went to Belks and purchased a Prairie skirt. It swings and it sways. I fingered the material soft in my hand. It fluttered like the wind. I wore my skirt all day long and thought, "I love this skirt. It's springy and it swishes." 


Try as he might I don't think Sam gets it. Not once has Sam ever whispered, "I love this shirt. It's springy." 


Sam's more likely to say, "Can I wear these jeans again? I didn't get anything on them." 


I think all Sam cares about in his closet is that he has one. I think he appreciates the magic shirt fairy that poofs clean shirts in his closet.  


Sam's longings for spring come in a different way. He watches the weather, notices the wind and checks the rain gauge. All to determine the river conditions and how they affect the crappie spawn.  


Spring means Easter dresses, flowers blooming, birds chirping and the crappie spawning. 


Cold weather, wind and muddy water means the fish are less likely to bite and it's harder on the human body. Muddy water from the rains means the fish can't see the jig. Although catfish like the muddy water and fisherman line the bridges down near Tibbee, crappie don't like the fast flow and the mud.  


Sam tried fishing a Saturday ago. He brought home 24 fillets. He said it was muddy and windy and there were no other boats out. He saw a lot of water hyacinths, too many to fish in some of his favorite holes. 


"What color jig did you use?" I asked. Sam has a box of colorful jigs as springy as any Prairie skirt. 


"Can't tell you," he said. "You'll write about it."


Shannon Rule Bardwell is a Southern writer living quietly in the Prairie.


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