A wet butt and a hungry gut

By G. Sam Piatt - PDT Columnist



Submitted Photo

My niece, Lisa Leslie, of Pond Run in Scioto County, is all grown up now with a family of her own. She and husband, Bill, have two sons, one a high school basketball player at McDermott and the other a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy who this year earned his wings as a fighter pilot.

When she was 10 or 11 she and her sister, Angie, and brother, Chuck (who died in his sleep Aug. 25 of an apparent heart attack), lived with their mother, Linda Howerton (my sister, who died in 1996 at age 54 in a car wreck on Ohio 73) next door to my parents, Bruce and Carrie Piatt (both deceased), at South Portsmouth, Ky.

After his retirement following 50 years in track maintenance with the C&O Railroad, my father liked to spend his leisure time fishing the Ohio River.

This required packing equipment across a wide river bottom. He carried half a dozen poles, a minnow jug and bucket, a tackle box, a bag of lead sinkers and hooks, and assorted other necessities, including a couple of Zane Grey westerns.

On those summer days, Lisa would accompany Dad on these fishing excursions. She was a necessity – needed to help carry all that gear across the bottoms and down through the willows to the shoreline.

They would spend most of the day fishing from the sandbar, located about a mile downstream from the Carl Perkins Bridge, which of course wasn’t there then.

It is a proven fact that Homo sapiens always get hungrier when fishing than they do at other endeavors. Dad would always pack enough lunch for the two of them.

One day they got all set up and well into fishing when they realized they had forgotten – of all things – the lunch.

It fell to Lisa, of course, to go back to the house and get the lunch. But the fish started biting fast and heavy and she kept putting the trip off. Finally Dad, complaining that he was “starving to death,” told her abruptly and

in no uncertain terms, “Go now, Lisa, and fetch the lunch!”

Lisa, battling another catfish on her rod, looked over her shoulder at Dad and said, “Don’t get in such a big hurry now, Grandpa. After all, don’t you remember what you once told me about fishing?”

“What did I tell you, Lisa?”

“You said a fisherman is supposed to have a wet butt and a hungry gut.”


There’s not much as pleasurable as laying down your rod and reel and pausing to devour a lunch you’ve brought along in the boat. More than likely this consists of having stopped at a convenience store to pick up a couple of cans of Vienna

Sausages or Beanee Weenees, a can of Spam, some crackers, and some potato chips or corn chips.

Better still is a lunch you’ve packed at home of bologna and mustard or fried eggs and ham. These are stored in a small cooler with soft drinks and water.

Lee McClellan, a friend who writes for Kentucky Afield magazine, suggests an unusual lunch to be packed at home that will provide – much better than canned meats and sugary sides – the energy you’ll need in the afternoon to fight that

7-pound bass or 20-pound muskie that finally strikes.

“A peanut butter, banana and sunflower seed sandwich on a firm, whole grain bread lasts all day without a cooler. Bring along a mixture of nuts in a sandwich bag and some beef jerky for a protein-boosting snack. And some fresh


“This lunch will give you all the energy needed to keep casting with enthusiasm into the late afternoon.”


They still routinely gather at Joe Quillen’s service station in downtown Greenup. Joe, who’s approaching 90 (maybe he IS 90 already. Surely not!) doesn’t talk much about retiring.

Probably the poem written about Joe by Jim Archey, retired mailman, is still on the wall. It consists of 11 stanzas, two of which read:

“You can learn about politics and religion, too. They’ll tell you how to preach and make moonshine, too.

If you have a car that’s in need of repair Bring it on down and just leave it there.

Now don’t get in a hurry, because Joe ain’t slow, He just won’t fix it if it looks like snow.

He’s a real good mechanic, believe it or not, He just don’t like to work if the weather is hot.”

http://portsmouth-dailytimes.aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2017/09/web1_RGB_sammugnew-1-.jpgPiatt Submitted Photo

By G. Sam Piatt

PDT Columnist

Reach G. SAM PIATT at [email protected] or (606) 932-3619.

Reach G. SAM PIATT at [email protected] or (606) 932-3619.