LONGLEAF STORIES

full circle in the hundred acre wood

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SOMETIMES IT SEEMS TO ME WE LIVE LIFE BALANCED ON THE EDGE OF A KNIFE. We can’t go through each day so hyper-aware of both wonder and danger that we cease to move or act at all.

And yet.

Joe Patti’s market was filled to the gills yesterday with people forking over their hard-earned dollars for a taste of fish or crustacean from the warm salt waters of our bays and the Gulf of Mexico.

Earlier this week, our best friend Woody was fishing from his own dock with his young grandson who was visiting from his home in Germany. They were having a grand time. Woody pulled up the crab-trap to check it. Sure enough, a crab had taken the bait. He reached inside the trap, and when the crab made a sudden move to snap, Woody instinctively jerked his hand back, causing the trap to pierce his hand in several places. He doused the punctures with hydrogen peroxide.

The next morning Woody, his wife and grandson headed out on a short trip to visit a relative in neighboring Mississippi. Delayed by an awful wreck on the “three-mile” bridge here, they stopped into a fast food place to wait it out and grab a bite. He began to feel very cold, so cold he went outside to sit in the ninety-plus degree warmth of the car. His wife, a nurse, came out to check on him, and found Woody shaking, his arm swelling. “We’re going to the hospital, right now,” she wisely declared. The ride was a nightmare of shooting pain, not only in Woody’s arm, but radiating to his hips. A burning fever had taken hold, and in seemingly no time at all, he was a dangerously sick man.

A few more hours delay in treatment, and this story might have had a different ending — one too awful to tell. But with massive doses of intravenous antibiotics, Woody will be home again soon.

The culprit? A bacterium from those same wonderful warm salt waters that nourish us with tasty fish and crustaceans, like the Yellow-Tail Snapper on ice. It’s called vibrio vulnificus. Woody’s deep puncture wound from the crab trap apparently created a perfect delivery mechanism to his bloodstream.

Just another reminder to say it now, do it now, look, taste, love while you can. Damn if it doesn’t go too fast, even when life is long and sweet.

 

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