Have You Ever Eaten a Kumquat?

In today's paper (Wed, 15 Jan 14)  there was a citrus ad special from HiVee stores.  One of the things they listed was kumquats.   I searched my memory and I realized I don't have taste stored under kumquat.  I have a vague recollection of seeing them in the produce aisle but I can say I can't remember ever tasting one.  Kind of made me think about all the things I haven't tried.  I am more of a consumer than a gourmet, so I have eaten a lot of things.  Kumquats are just not on that list.

Have I ever told you how much I don't like catfish?  As a kid, I was over at a friend's house and his dad cleaned a monster catfish in their kitchen sink.  I watched in fascination as he took a pair of pliers and removed the skin.  I wasn't grossed out by the process, but I did not like the smell.  That bottom feeder imprinted a muddy pond smell in my mind and that the first thing I taste when I try to eat catfish.  I think I did eat a catfish Po'boy on one of my trips to Naw'lans that I liked but it had enough pepper, gah'lic vinegar and other things that I think you could have made it out of paper sacks and I would have loved it.  You can skip the shrimp Po'boy and just bring me boiled shrimp, cold or hot.  Never have developed a taste for mudpuppies, but that is another fish I was exposed to on a hot July day in Kansas and out of a pond near Wichita.  Our neighbor would send us boys up to a pond that is now on Beechcraft property.  We would seine crawdads out of that pond and take them home to be put in an old pop cooler that they would run water through.  After a sufficient time, they would go fishing,  Sufficient time to a fisherman has nothing to do with the bait, it is all about how much time they had to go fishing.

Speaking of fish bait, that leads me to one of the funniest stories.  Like I need inspiration.   In Ottawa, I was in a National Guard Artillery unit.  One year we were to get new guns and the Artillery School at Fort Sill offered to conduct a staff refresher to talk about the mission and conditions for using our new guns.  The Headquarters Battery commander, Ed Jukes, or easy Ed and we called him, was a fisherman.  He would use his off time fishing in the Mare de Cygne river north of town.  His fish of choice was catfish and he used a stink bait that was reportedly made up of rotted shad.  You would put a sponge on your hook and with a stick dip it in the jar of bait.  You would do this up wind of the jar and lord forbid you ever spill any of it on your clothes.  Ed had a pickup and it always had rods and reels in the bed along with an assortment of baits.  On the morning we left for Fort Sill, Ed had been fishing and drove his truck to the Armory.  Just as he came in the driveway faster than he should have, he hit a bump that broke one of the Stink bait jars.  His assigned parking space was next to the building and right under the window Air Conditioner that supplied my office and near to the shop front door.  After a day or so of that smell being sucked into the office and the shop, they took a wrecker and drug Ed's truck clear across the parking lot as far from the building as you could get.  My assistant didn't go with us to Fort Sill and he told us that not only did they move Ed's truck, they went out and moved the assigned parking space sign  to another part of the lot.  When we got home. Easy Ed took the truck to a car wash near the Armory and no matter how many quarters he used, that truck smelled like dead shad stink bait for as long as he owned it.  I sure hope he parked it outside his house. 

Smells brings up another fishing story.  As a kid, I did pretty much what I wanted and went a lot of places that I could have got in trouble going but in the 50's, life was simpler.  I can remember just sticking my head in the door and telling Mom where I was going and leaving before permission was given or withheld.  One day I was up at Womack grocery and one of the guys that worked at Beech stopped in as soon as he got off work.  3:30 PM was the end of the first shift. He bought some pop and told Mrs. Womack he was going to Beech lake to try out some new bait.  For some reason I asked if I could go and he said sure.  I ran the half a block home and grabbed my fishing rod.  Off we went north to the lake.  I normally fished on the east side of the lake by the docks but my new friend stopped by the west side of the lake along Webb Road.  He said that he was out to catch cat fish and produced a jar from his trunk.  It was in a wooden box that had some foam liner that kept the jar from breaking.  When he took out his rods, it was obvious that he wasn't fishing for perch.  He had treble hooks in a series on each pole.  He put a sponge on each hook and then unscrewed the jar.  SKUNK! SKUNK! that jar was full of Eau de SKUNK!  or ewe, the smelly part of a skunk.  He said that he had a friend that was a Veterinary that de-scented skunks.  I guess back then you could have them as pets.  There was no way I wanted anything to do with that smell on anything, including my rod and reel.  The guy carefully dipped the sponges in the jar and gently threw the sponge bait out in to the deeper water.  For the next hour and a half, he caught catfish after catfish on that stinky bait.  I was so grossed out by the smell that I didn't even want to handle the catfish.  I don't remember if he kept the fish or not.  I wouldn't.  The smell was so strong that I didn't even want a ride home after that fragrant experience.  To this day, the smell of a skunk at any distance brings back memories of that day at Beech Lake. 

Oh well, I had better get rolling.  It takes about an hour to have the Aleve to kick in so I can stand up straight and walk without pain.  My fall in the garage caused me to compress the sciatic nerve that hurts like hell if I hurt it.  I have three bags of cracked corn out in the car and I am bringing the corn in one bucket full at a time to feed the deer.  I know that lifting a 50 pound bag of corn would put me of the floor for a week recovering. 

The paper this morning said that beyond the age of 50 you loose approximately 5% of your muscle mass each year.  I can believe that I have lost some muscle mass as I seem to get tired a lot easier than I did in my younger years.  It also takes me a longer time each year to get back in shape to work on projects here in the yard.  Someone told me that Yoga or Pilates is a good way to stay in shape.  I just can't see me in a pair of tights in a room full of  sweaty women,  Well, let me think about that.


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