David liked to tell this story.
When his boys were young, he took them boating in the Okeefenokee Swamp.
When they were out in the rental 12-foot flatboat, the kids spotted a small alligator and, being city-raised, began to ooh and aah and point and scare one another about the fearsome beast.
David slowly edged the boat up to the little alligator, where they could get a closer look from the safe height of the boat.
When the kids were thoroughly enthralled in a froth of excitement and fear, David, without any warning, and with a swift, smooth ease, suddenly plunged his hands down, caught the gator firmly at the back of the head and the root of the tail, and held the squirming, three-foot animal in the boat for the boys to see.
He then turned the gator over and gently rubbed its belly. Once it was asleep, the boys all got to hold the alligator and pet it. Small for an alligator, it was nonetheless a sizeable animal to pluck out of the water and hold in such a little boat.
David then flipped the gator right side up and let it clamp down on one of the wooden paddles. The little alligator bit so deeply into the paddle they thought he might just take a chunk out of it.
After a few minutes, he carefully released the indignant reptile back into the safe, dark waters.
Whenever he told this story, he said, "I knew then that whatever else I accomplished in life--even if I won the Nobel Prize--nothing would ever impress my children as much as the time I caught a little alligator with my bare hands."
And the kids say that David remains in their minds an alligator wrestler extraordinaire.
|David Grow Memorial Site|