(C.W. McCall, Bill Fries, Chip Davis)
This is a companion to "Audubon": another piece of the early life of Bill Fries.
One time when I’s growin’ up — it was when I’s a kid — there was nothin’ to do at home so I called up on a friend an’ said "Let’s pack us a box lunch an’ go down to the Nishnabotna an’ go swimmin’. An’ maybe look for some toads."
My friend said he thought that’s a good idea ’cause he didn’t have nothin’ to do either an’ he was outta toads.
So we packed up our box lunches an’ we started out a-walkin’, an’ we come to a big iron bridge which was five miles from town where we observed a big sign which says "West Nishnabotna". I says "This here’s the place, an’, an’ now if we could just find some toads an’ go for a good swim, we could have fun all day doin’ nothin’, just loafin’ around in the creek."
We jumped into that dirty water an’ I thought we might be able to swim in it, but we quickly discovered that we could not even begin to dog-paddle in it. Be, because right where we was, the Nishnabotna was only four-an’-a-half inches deep. So we wound up a-crawlin’ along down on all fours in it, through the mud an’ beer cans an’ yucky things an’ old pieces a’ cars.
We went past a bunch a’ fenders an’ a couple a’ Plymouth hubcaps, when we come to a place where we thought there might be some toads. When we was surprised by a farmer who told us to get on out of there an’ to never come back or he’d call up the sheriff an’ have us put into jail for the rest of our natural-born lives with nothin’ to eat but bread an’ water so we’d starve.
But time passes by real quickly when you’re havin’ fun, so we ran through the fenders and the mud to the bridge again. But when we got back there we sadly discovered that the sun had been out and our backs was all blistered so bad we had to lay flat on our bellies for two weeks in bed which made us sick to our stomachs an’ we didn’t care about nothin’ anymore.
It just ain’t too good for your livers to go swimmin’ in that river. You can get cut up pretty bad in there an’ there ain’t too many toads.
There’s nothin’ but, There’s nothin’ but mud in there an’ there’s all kinds a’ crud, an’ it’s layin’ all over the place so you’d better watch out.
If you wanna get sick, just go crawlin’ around in that creek. There’s a whole lot a’ bad things that can happen to you.
No, it ain’t, No, it ain’t good for your liver to hunt toads in that river. The West Nishnabotna is the creek of my childhood.
Artistic License? C.W. — Bill Fries, that is — was born in Audubon, Iowa. But the West Nishnabotna River is about fifteen miles west of Audubon, while the East Nishnabotna River is three miles east of Audubon. At least that’s where they are on my map.
Plymouth was a brand of automobile that was manufactured by the Chrysler Corporation. The brand was established in 1928 by Walter P. Chrysler. Chrysler (the corporation) announced in 1999 that it would discontinue the Plymouth brand. The last car manufactured was a silver Neon, which rolled off the assembly line on 2001 June 28.
"Nishnabotna" does not appear on any C.W. McCall audio CD.