Just another opinion, another idea to think about…


June 2012

The story of the Swamp Witch

Out here in this here swamp, them mosquito’s git  to swarming just as soon as the sun starts a setting.  Then, boy, ya better watch out, ’cause if enough of them git a-hold of you, they’s apt to carry you away. But sometimes you just gotta put up with a little misery if ya wantsto make a few dollars.  I sort of got talked into telling this here tale, so I wanna get it right, and tell it just like my Granny told it to me.

My family dates back to them English what come over here long time past, and they took a liking to the place and decided to stay on. I reckon that was good, ’cause otherwise I wouldn’t be here now, would I? But let me tell you this, my Granny never told a tale in her life, so what I’m a-goin to tell you is the truth, as it was told to me.

Way back a long time ago, my kin had only been here-a-bout for a short spell, and there were still a whole bunch of the native people living here. The swamp was much bigger then, too. And the deer and ‘possums and groundhogs were so plentiful you could almost walk out your door and just pick one up. Was that way with the fishes too.

Trouble lived here in this ol’ swamp, too. Seems it was here long before any people was here, and I guess that is for sure the truth. The native people had a name for it, but they was afraid to say it out loud too much. They called it something like “Wachateekee”. My people, they just called it the “Swamp Witch.” My Granny told me it was one ugly thing, so ugly in fact that nobody could look it in the eyes, for if they did, they turned into a stump.

See them stumps over yonder? They’s all kinfolk of mine. I learned as a youngun ya don’t chop down a stump. No Siree, ’cause it might be your kin. Any way, it was getting so bad, what with the Swamp Witch a scaring everyone to stumps, the settlement was getting smaller and smaller. No one knowed what could be done to stop that ol’ witch.

Time passed, and one morning, the wife of the head of the village was brushing her hair, and while lookin’ in the mirror, she said to herself, “Yikes, I look like a witch today.” Well, when she realized what she had said, she knowed she had found the answer to their problem. She woke her husband and told him to call a meeting of the village, including the native people too.

When everybody got to the meeting, the wife told them what she had discovered about the mirror, and how they could use it to get rid of  the witch, once and for all. All they had to do was get someone brave enough to get the witch to look in the mirror, and when she stared at herself, she would turn into a stump.

After a whole bunch of hemmin’ and a hawing one of the native people, “He who Lives by the Great Swamp,” said that he would do this most dangerous thing. He took the mirror and headed around to the far edge of the swamp, where there was a path of sorts. This was usually where that witch liked to come sneaking out of the woods to scare people. He waited under the shade of a big ol’ tree most of the day, watching the path for a sign.

It weren’t too long after midday when there was a loud cracking and scrabbling, and the witch thing appeared, right in the middle of the path. “He who Lives by the Great Swamp” jumped out in front of the witch, holding the mirror up to her face. She stared at the picture of herself in the mirror, screeched and moaned, and bamm! That was it. She had done turned into a big ol’ stump.

Now, you can believe this story, or not. But as I said earlier, my Granny never told a story that weren’t true, and I was just tellin’ what was told to me. I got another story that’s also true, and I’ll tell it next time you come by.




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My problem with the Karen Klein story

I’ve been following the story about the bus monitor in Greece, New York, and I was, of course, astounded at the behavior of the young people involved. I was also moved by the outpouring of people from across the nation, by their support and by the money that poured in to help this woman in her time of emotional need.

But I’ll have to tell you, I have had some time to think about the story, and in doing so, I have come up with a few questions. Now, first of all, this lady, Karen Klein was at work, as a “bus monitor.” She was on the job doing whatever it is a monitor is supposed to be doing. Or was she doing what she was supposed to be doing?

It seems to me the situation should have never escalated to the point it did, and it wouldn’t have, if she had been doing what she was hired to do. I’m afraid I am going to have to say I disapprove of the way she handled the situation, by the very fact that she did not handle it.

I do agree the youngsters involved were totally in the wrong, and as such, should be punished in whatever way is appropriate, and punished in a way that sticks with them. But those children didn’t just decide on the spur of the moment to do and act the way they did. That situation has probably been brewing for awhile, maybe even days, with Mrs. Klein being afraid to do something about it.

So this leads me to the second issue I have. Why have people sent her $500,000 or more? Was it because she was verbally abused? And it is obvious she was, of course, but it was, again, something she let happen to herself. It may be that she just can’t handle children anymore, and that’s not anything to be embarrassed about. Most of us who are older reach a point when some things just aren’t easy to take anymore.

I don’t know that I feel any better about the whole issue, now that I have had my say. I do feel sorry for Mrs. Klein. No one, young or old should have to put up with what she did. And yes, those children ought to be ashamed, as should their parents. But, the lady just wasn’t doing her job either.

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