Whatever day it was last week when we had a little snow, I’m thinking it was before April 20, at least one weather forecaster was gleefully honking his horn and proclaiming it to be the latest snow we’d had in over 100 years.
I’m a bit skeptical about that because I lived through one in 1987 or 88 that was still on the ground during most of the last week of April during whichever of those years it fell. Mr. Parkinson and/or old age make my memory unreliable but I am positive I have written about this before. I am not so positive that the details are consistent, but the one I am sure about is 17 inches on Friday night, April 17. I’m also sure the year was either 87 or 88.
Anyway, my brother Keith (Keeter) was working a job that told him when he had to take his vacation and he had no choice in the matter other than to select the season he could take it and that had to be planned a year out. Keeter always chose Crappie Season and his vacation generally fell in May. However, on this particular year, the company scheduled him for the last 2 weeks of April.
We had talked on the phone about it all winter. Even though I thought it might be a tad early for serious, limit-out crappie fishing on Lake Cumberland, I made at least monthly or more frequent trips to Wolf Creek Dam, the huge lake’s tail waters where something is almost always biting, year round. I could catch a limit of trout any time, year round, and from April until the end of May, white bass, striped bass, walleye and even Crappie were usually biting below the dam. I had previously decided, with Loretta’s blessing, to take a week of vacation, myself, and go along with Keeter, his wife, Nancy and their 2 preteen age boys, Chris and John. Loretta agreed to keep their daughter, Tracy at our place while the rest of us went to catch all the fish we could haul home.
I have no idea why we woke up that much snow and still decided it was smart to go fishing, but Keeter and his family, big fishing boat in tow, set out early the next morning to make the 130 miles trip to mine and Loretta’s house to complete the first leg of the journey.
A friend in Jamestown, 15 miles from the camp ground, told me they only had a foot of snow down there and it was melting pretty fast. I called the camp ground and someone told me the tall, loblolly pines had kept most of it off the ground in the spots where we intended to pitch our tents. Sure enough, there wasn’t much snow on the ground but it was melting like crazy in those tall, tall pines and pitching tents was like standing out in a cold, cold rain.
The spillway was running about 10 feet up into the woods. The places where I had sat on the bank all winter were also covered with water 6 or 8 feet deep. We tried launching the boat but that lasted less than an hour because the current was too strong.
Back up on the main lake, water was up in the timber but we had no problem taking the boat any where we wanted to go and that included spots where I could almost always catch a crappie or 2 year round. At the end of the second day, one of the boys had caught the smallest bluegill I’ve ever seen taken on a fishing rod and the other one had managed to hook me in the ear. That was our total catch for the trip and we still had nearly a foot of snow on the ground around us. We were also sick and tired of fried bologna and taters so we headed back to Paint Lick. That was a long time ago but it was less than half a hundred years.
In the meantime if anyone knows where to find some wild ramps within 25 miles of Berea, please send me a Facebook message or email firstname.lastname@example.org. I have a friend who has never eaten ramps and he’s dying to try. I’ve already told him that ramps are among the stuff that divorces are made of.