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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: At Wit’s End (02/13/14)

TITLE: Culpepper' s Pond
By lynn gipson


When I was a small girl I spent a few years of my life with my grandmother and two older brothers in a town with a population of 150 people. Bridgeboro, Georgia lies just south of the city of Albany and in the 1950's was known only for its production of peanuts.

There was little for children to do in such a small place. Churches provided the only social settings and fishing was the popular recreation of the day. My brother Jim, who was 4 years my senior, and I would spend many days just down the road at Culpepper's Pond. For hours, we sat at the back end of a cane pole and fished with live worms.

Culpepper's Pond was on private land, but Old Man Culpepper, as he was fondly called, allowed anyone and everyone to fish there who cared to. It was a rather large body of water with lots of greenery and lily pads and frogs jumping about. A very pleasant place to be on a sunny afternoon.

Jim was somewhat of a meanie. He loved to play pranks on me and was always teasing me in some manner or another, although I still thought the sun rose and set with him. I guess I realized even at the young age of 5 that he was slightly jealous of me for taking his place of being the baby of the family.

I lived for the days when he would take me fishing. Culpepper's Pond was loaded with bream, and often times we came home with enough of this tasty fish for Granny to fry up for supper. I learned to bait my own hook with squirmy worms and became quite the little fisher girl. Sometimes I even caught more fish than Jim.

On one particularly hot and sunny afternoon, my brother decided we should go swimming. Now, I was afraid of water and had never been in any deeper than a bathtub. I watched with fear as my brother jumped into the deep end of the pond and started swimming and splashing around. My brother had done this before and knew how to swim. I did not.

“Come on, jump in! You can swim!” Jim said, knowing good and well I could not.

“No! I can't swim! I'm not going to. Come out of that water before you drown!”

Jim kept teasing me and daring me to jump in, and I just sat fishing and trying to ignore his taunts. He finally swam to shore, got out of the water and started fishing again. I was happy he had stopped laughing at me and seemed to settle down for some serious fishing.

I got a nibble on my line and stood up to jerk the pole when all of a sudden I felt my whole body being thrust into the water. My dear brother had plucked me up and thrown me off the edge of the pond.

The next thing I knew I was completely underwater and eyeball to eyeball with a fish! I struggled to catch my breath and instead came up with a lung full of water. I remember feeling like it was the end for me. Somehow, naturally, I started swimming up to the top of the water, gasping for air. With my head above water, my arms began to flail and suddenly I was dog paddling.

I could see my brother standing on the side of the pond laughing at me. Here I was dying, and all Jim could do was laugh. I was so mad, but at the same time I was swimming!

“I'm t-telling G-Granny on you, Jim! H-help me get outta here!” I sputtered between coughs.

My brother jumped in, and I jumped on his back, and he swam us to the shallow end of the pond. He was still giggling when I landed on the grass.

“See. I told you you could swim.” Jim teased.

Well, the next time Jim and I went fishing I jumped in the water myself, and learned the proper way to dog paddle and swim. This time, my brother was right by my side, and taught me how to hold my breath underwater and how to come up for air. I never told on him, either.

So many times in life when I thought I was the very end of my wits, I have somehow always instinctively known how to survive. God gave me the ability to do so, just as he did that day at Culpepper's Pond.


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This article has been read 362 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 02/20/14

I really enjoyed this sweet nostalgic piece. I felt the love and tension between the siblings, and instinctly felt the big brother was trying to "teach sis" to swim in an unorthodox fashion, but it seemed to work.

Sweet memories, and a great message of survival with and by God's Hands of grace to guide us in life, through all kinds of scenarios.

I loved it, thanks for taking us into your world and sharing your special memory of you and your brother with us.

Well done.

God bless~
Danielle King 02/23/14
A town of 150? I want to go live there, now! I enjoyed reading about your early memories as I had two much older brothers, and they tormented me to death. I don't know how I survived childhood. I like the way you concluded this tale, a summing up of the topic. Great read!
Noel Mitaxa 02/23/14
Beautifully descriptive and nostalgic piece - a touch of Old Dogs and Children and Watermelon Wine???
Loved the ending, which was worth wading for.
Reminiscent of my first swimming lesson, when dad threw me out of the boat in the middle of a lake. Quite a challenge - especially that partv about getting out of the bag first!!!!
Well written.
Sarah Wipf02/23/14
I loved this entry! It took me back to my childhood, with my older brother who sounds so much like yours! Thank you for sharing…well done! :)
Toni Hammer02/23/14
A lovely snapshot of a time and place I often wish I had spent time in.

I'm wondering if perhaps you missed the 'at" in this line, "...I thought I was the very end of my wits..." I could be reading it wrong--it's already happened once this week. ;)

Truly a wonderful story. I could see the town, the place, and the pond. And what a great message at the end. God does know better than we do.
Colin Swann02/24/14
You are an inspiration with your meaningful and well written stories/articles. I enjoy this one so much and would have loved to join you two fishing. My big sister was going to take me fishing once, when I was a small lad, but backed out and never offered again. I was big-time disappointed and still remember it decades later.
Cynthia G. Peoples 02/25/14
Nice nostalgic piece, very well written.

Not sure how well it fits the topic....but really enjoyed it! Good job
Bea Edwards 02/26/14
I really enjoyed reading this adorable peek into your past!
C D Swanson 02/27/14
Congratulations Lynn!
I've a big smile on my face!

God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/27/14
Congratulations on ranking 4th in your level and 19 overall! The highest rankings can be found on the message boards. Happy Dance!!