Childhood Adventure On Historic Vince's Bayou
Vince's Bayou Adventure: The Great Crawdad Rivalry
It has taken me twenty years to perfect my BBQ cooking techniques. Last summer I finally reached perfection. The chicken and sausages came out deliciously tender and the grilled lobster was unusually succulent, if I may say so myself.
It’s funny…when I grill lobsters it always reminds me of the crawdads my sister CK and I used to catch in Vince's Bayou back when we were kids. Vince's Bayou is the famous location of Santa Anna's capture after Sam Houston's surprise victory at San Jacinto. Now, for those of you who don’t know, crawdads (Crawfish or "crawdeads” as some kids called them) are fresh water shell fish similar in looks to a very small lobster. They thrive around Pasadena, Texas in the bayous.
Anyway, back to last summer, there I was with my fully contented, BBQ stuffed, stomach churning away relaxing in my green and white deluxe webbed lawn chair. A soft warm summer breeze had drifted in and I and my wandering thoughts had almost settled into a quiet slumber when suddenly I was startled by a very loud shriek...
“CK’s at the Allendale bridge and she’s caught so many crawdads I don’t think anyone can catch up!!” It was little Bobby from down the street with news about the competition. Seems CK and I along with Rebecca and Tommy (Bobby’s older sister and brother) were in another spontaneous do-or-die crawdad catchin’ contest!
My cutoffs and tennis shoes were already caked with mud when I noticed the catch in my pickle jar was occupied by two lonely crawdads. The location I had staked out was near the two oil pipes that spanned the bayou behind the Middleton’s house. I figured if the pickins were slim on my side of the bayou I could scurry across one of the pipes and try the other bank where there was a cluster of cattails growin’ out of the muddy water.
It never occurred to me what strategy my little sis was using to catch all those crawdads.
How To Catch Crawdads
If you are not familiar with the necessary equipment needed for a successful crawdad catchin’ contest, it consists of a string and some bacon confiscated from the fridge. If no bacon is available almost anything will do…a dead lizard, fish parts, even a crispy dragonfly (The trick, of course, is how to tie the brittle dead dragonfly to the floppy loose string). You also need a big pickle jar with holes poked through the lid, a good location and quick reflexes to catch the backward scampering creatures.
With the news Bobby had brought to me about CK, I started wondering about the techniques she was using to catch so many of the crawdads. Tossing two quarters to Bobby I said, “Here’s fifty cents if you’ll go and find out how she’s doing it!” He snatched the coins, turned and took off faster than a speeding bullet!
I never saw him again that day...
The Crawdad Catchin' Contest Ends
My little sis is a genius at certain things…she can concentrate so strongly on a problem that it is figured out faster than an owl can wink! I never knew anyone who could untie a knot faster than she could. Meanwhile, Bobby’s older sister Rebecca was seeking her fortune in crawdads down at the old wooden walk bridge on West Avenue. Tommy was at the big drainage pipe on the bayou behind the fancy homes on Oaks Drive.
Six PM was the cut-off time for the contest and we all met at Rebecca and Tommy’s house with our collections of crustacean creatures. Of course, CK was the big winner…I came in (craw)dead last.
Her pickle jar was teeming with so many crawfish I don’t think she noticed a couple of (stunned) soft shell turtles were in there, too...
Silently...at just about that time...the beginnings of a sleepy smile slipped across my face…I immediately realized I had been daydreaming…daydreaming about my childhood; complete with crawdads, cattails, dragonflies, and kids.
Revisiting Vince's Bayou
A few days later I took a drive out to see the old neighborhood. I was disappointed to see that the banks of Vince's Bayou had been concreted over and the West Avenue wooden walk bridge had been replaced with a shiny new concrete and steel-skirted car bridge.
Oh, by the way...
You may be wondering how my little sister won the great crawdad rivalry…well when she heard I gave Bobby 50 cents to check out her techniques, she simply upped the offer to $5 to keep him silent!
I should have known better.
Vince's Bayou Is Site of Santa Ana's Capture
Vince's Bayou in Pasadena, Texas runs northwest from the Genoa Airport area in southeast Harris county for nines miles and empties into the Houston Ship Channel (Buffalo Bayou).
Vince's Bayou is the location where Santa Ana was captured after his defeat at San Jacinto by Sam Houston.