April 2005 in the Big Cypress Swamp

 Shower Buddy (Swamp Lore)
This is an old story, (or maybe not), its the spring time of the year in the Big Cypress Swamp, a time when it is usually dry. It so happens that a cold front passed by, one of the last of the year. This brought a heavy down pour of rain, that caused the low points of the swamp to fill with water. For a day or so, the trails are wet and this allows the alligators of the swamp to roam from the gator holes they have been living in during the dry season. A welcome relief for them, as they have had little to eat, cooped up in a small mud hole. A chance to roam and maybe find something to eat in the temporary puddles of the swamp.
A turkey hunter, lets call him Steve, is traveling to his camp, to enjoy the last weekend of turkey season.  His buddy Hoss and him, are traveling by camp Kanawha and decide at the last minute, to stop and say hello. As they drop down into a pond just outside camp Kanawha, a little alligator swims to the side and hops out of the pond, to avoid the swamp buggy. Now Steve knows that some young kids are staying at the camp and would get a kick out of seeing an alligator. So he hops off the buggy and after a few minutes of pursuit, the small gator is in hand. He hands it to his reluctant buddy Hoss and gets back on the buggy, The short drive to camp takes only a minute from the pond.

Shower Buddy
(Vintage Picture)

Much to Steve's disappointment, no one is at camp. It had been raining all morning and they must have taken a buggy ride after the rains had stopped. Still wanting the kids to see the alligator, Steve pondered what to do. Thinking he needed to put it somewhere for the kids to find, he looked in the cabin. Ahh! the bathroom, he can put it there and close the door. So in looking in the bathroom, the shower, a perfect place for the gator to stay, while waiting for the kids to return. So after placing the gator in the shower and closing the bathroom door, Steve headed on to his camp.
The Kanawha bunch returns. They have been enjoying a buggy ride, but now it is close to dinner time, so they had returned near sundown. Matt started dinner, while the other men did small chores and chatted about the days events. Matt has elaborate plans for dinner, so it is taking some time to prepare. The kids are keeping them selves busy, playing around the camp clearing.
After a while, Jeff decided it was time for his son Grayson, to get cleaned up before dinner. "Grayson, time to take a shower, go get your towel and head to the shower", said Jeff. So Grayson reluctantly headed inside and taking his dirty clothes off, he wraps a towel around himself and heads to the bathroom. Jeff heads outdoors, as Jason comes inside. Just as Jason nears the bathroom door, Grayson opens the door a crack and shouts "Dad!, Dad!". Jason asks him "what's the matter, son". Grayson, being a modest young guy, like most kids his age, is hiding behind the door and says "I want my Dad". Jason says "your dads outside, do you need something". Grayson says "there's an alligator in the shower".
Now Jason in the past has seen a skink (a small lizard), in the shower and said to Grayson, "that's just a skink, it won't hurt you". Grayson says loudly, "NO!, IT's an alligator". Now Jason knows there isn't any alligator in there, so he says, "let me in. I will catch the skink, so it won't bother you". So Grayson wraps the towel around himself and lets Jason into the bathroom. Jason sticks his head into the shower area and steps back. He looks over at Matt, who is preparing dinner and says, "THERE IS an alligator in the shower". Now Matt, not believing it either, has to see for himself and looks in the shower. "Yep!, that's a gator alright! I've got cooking to do, you will have to get that gator out yourself" says Matt. Now, one at a time, everyone had to see for themselves, that there was a gator in the shower. The gator, thinking it had way too much company, was hissing at each one, as they stuck their head in the shower area to look for themselves.
I guess it took those five men and three little boys, a little while to figure out how to get that little hissing gator, with a mouth full of little teeth, out of the shower, with out hurting him. There is not a lot of room to maneuver in that little 3 foot by 4 foot shower, ya know.
Now for some reason that defies logic, Matt and Jason think that Steve is responsible and has put that little gator in their shower. They have not even seen or spoken to Steve, but they think he is the guilty party. So late at night, they head over to return the little feller, but that's another story.


Spring Time in the Big Cypress Swamp
Two unusual plants
Spiral trunk Cypress Tree and Orchid

The picture to the left shows two plants in the Big Cypress  Swamp. The Cypress Tree to the Left is un-usual in that it has a spiral trunk. The other plant is at the base of the Cypress Tree on the right is a Cigar Orchid.
Click her for a close-up of the flower)

Click for larger Picture
Orchid Close-up

It's Back.............. Florida Wildlife Magazine was threatened with extinction by the Florida Legislature. In fact they offered to return my subscription fee, because the magazine ended. But here we are, an April issue and more to come. They are doing it by including paid advertising. What magazine doesn't? So, if you like Florida outdoors, nature pictures and stories of wildlife of Florida, go to http://www.floridawildlifemagazine.com/ and get yourself a subscription.





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Story by Steve - April 17th 2005