The meeting of the Ostrich Society was a somber one. It was the traditional time when the Society paid tribute in remembrance of members who had strung their last rod. This meeting was especially somber because “Poaching Jack McGraw” would not be in attendance because he had been given his reward just two days prior to the scheduled meeting.
Jack McGraw was one of the founding members of the Ostrich Society. He was there at the beginning and missed few meetings over the past forty years. He was known as a jovial fellow who was always willing to have a good time and loved to cook. Jack had a small hot plate he brought to all of the meetings and always had fish stew simmering in an old army pot. Someone tagged him with the name of “Poaching Jack” which was assumed to refer to his boiling of fish.
This meeting wouldn’t have fish stew simmering on a hot plate and it was missed. So with raised glasses of two fingers of bourbon, a toast was made to “Poaching Jack McGraw”.
Now it was customary to place an item belonging to the deceased on the back wall of the President’s garage where the Society met: Fly rods, reels, pictures, etc. So the conversation drifted to finding what would best pay tribute to “Poaching Jack”. After some discussion, someone suggested the old army pot Jack cooked the stew in. Almost instantaneously they all agreed ….all except the President.
The President gaveled the meeting to back to order and said he had the floor. “You boys have this thing all wrong. Let me tell you a story about Jack McGraw.”
“Jack and I served in Viet Nam together. Jack was a communications specialist which meant he set up field phones between companies. Jack loved to tinker with those phones like some of you guys do with your computers today. A field phone was basically a small generator with a phone receiver. To make a call, you had to rotate a small crank on the unit and a current would be sent to activate the phone at the other end of the wire. Jack figured out other uses for the phone. He loved to play practical jokes and would connect the phone wire to a guy’s metal bunk and crank the handle on the generator when the unsuspecting person’s hand touched the metal frame while he was sleeping. The guy would jump, Jack would laugh uncontrollably and a fight ensued.”
The President went on to explain that Jack figured out that if he dropped the wire into a stream or pond and cranked the generator, anything within range of the resulting electrical jolt would be stunned and float to the surface. The local villagers loved him and Jack was glad to oblige. Jack never got over all the fish he could get with just a simple turn of the crank of that field phone.”
A few of the members caught on and a grin from ear to ear shown on their faces. “You see,” the President went on. “Jack wasn’t called Poaching Jack because he boiled fish stew; he got the nickname “Poaching Jack” because he poached fish with his field phone. Where do you guys think all the fish he put in his stew came from?”
“When the time comes we put anything on the wall to remind us of Jack McGraw, it ought to be the old army field phone he kept in his trunk.”
From the back of the room someone asked, “What do you mean, when the time comes?”
“Poaching Jack” isn’t dead; he’s in the county jail serving ten days for illegal taking of fish,” the President revealed. “It seems the game warden saw Jack scoop up fish floating on top of the water with a net with the field phone sitting on the bank and the wires hanging in the water. He refused to pay the five hundred dollar fine, so the judge gave him ten days.”
Uncontrollable laughter broke out as the President tried to regain control of the meeting.
“I figure if every one of us put ten bucks in the pot, we’d have enough to pay “Poaching Jack’s” fine.”
As tight as some of these guys were, no one refused to chip in. The money was collected and “Poaching Jack” was sprung and the true story of how “Poaching Jack McGraw” got his nickname was revealed.
The preceding is submitted as: THE TRUTH, WHOLE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH ….give or take a lie or two.