I fail to realize sometimes until after the fact that I may use expressions and phrases in my scribblings that could be foreign to some readers due to the vernacular of particular regions as well as the years and other factors that might separate me from some of my readers.

And thus I feel obliged to explain myself, lest I be accused of using big words just for the fun of it.

Today I got an e-mail from a reader in Atlanta who said he and his friends didn't know what a "red horse sucker" was.

Let me tell you right up front that it has nothing to do with a first-time visitor to the Kentucky Derby who bets on a three-legged chestnut mare.

Now the column in which I used this expression was about nude recreation. I said that the closest I ever came to nude sports was skinny dipping as a kid and shucking off my britches to fetch a red horse sucker from a gill net.

Right away you can probably tell that a red horse sucker is a fish. More specifically, it's a bottom feeder that prefers streams and is not to be confused with a carp or a humpback sucker.

It's a very tasty fish but it's also very bony. In fact, every time I see that bony looking little girl on television, Ally McBeal, I think of a red horse sucker. That girl really needs to eat a little fatback.

The red horse sucker can get up to about three pounds, which in turn makes me think of Ally McBeal, and it's mostly caught in nets and seines. They don't bite hooks or lures too well. Of course, seining and netting fresh water creeks are now against the game laws, which may help explain the very low profile of this fish.

The sucker fish gets its name from the shape of its mouth. It resembles a vacuum hose, designed for sucking nutrients from the creek bed.

And before you ask, a humpback sucker is mostly a pond fish, and generally it's smaller than the red horse sucker. And if it's possible, it also has more bones.

You won't find these fish in very many restaurants. In fact, I've only heard of one anywhere near here that serves this delicacy. Of course if it had a French name and everyone knew that it also eats little snails, you could probably order it in New York City and Los Angeles.

Now certainly I don't have to explain skinny dipping. But to be sure, this is not about Ally McBeal spooning yogurt. It's just what it says -- jumping naked in the creek. Like eating sucker fish, that's pretty much a thing of the past. With all the stuff that feeds into our creeks today, I don't think you would want to go jumping naked into them. Something might mutate.

And while I'm at it, I also need to explain the okra sandwich.

This is two slices of white bread with four pods of boiled okra between them. So simple, but yet so delicious.

But like the red horse sucker, you're not going to find this on menus either. And I certainly wouldn't want Martha Stewart messing around with it. She might weave it into a place mat and diminish its true value.

My cousin Martha invented the okra sandwich many years ago and since then, it has been pretty much a delight for the two of us. And again, had we given it a French name and charged an outlandish price for it, it would now be referred to as chic cuisine. Or maybe fuzzy chic cuisine.

Now like I said, I don't want anyone to accuse me of throwing around big words. There are, however, a few I would like to throw out. I would start with ombudsmen and juxtaposition. I would keep Mississippi.



Dwain Walden is editor/publisher of The Moultrie Observer, 985-4545, ext. 214. E-mail: dwain.walden@gaflnews.com.



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