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Senior Correspondent

In which we meet Cousin Martha from the City, battle the monster of the creek and learn a lesson from Pa about bein' kind.

Our Millie used to say that life can sometimes bring you a slap in the face with a smelly fish or a fried-up dinner to share with Pa. You just never know which one it'll be when you start out your day.

Our Millie and her Pa used to go fishin' every Saturday in the summer. They had a special hole that no one ever went to and just the two of them had a good time catchin' blue gills and sunfish and bein' together. Our Millie would take a can of worms and spend time baitin' her hook and castin' and playin' the line just right to get a lot of fish to take home for supper.

Somethin' started takin' her line and runnin' it out and takin' the bait and swishin' away. It couldn't be a sunfish or a blue gill 'cause it was too big and strong. It did this every Saturday. Pa said it was the monster on the creek, Old Cat, the catfish nobody could ever catch. Our Millie had never seen a catfish before but she just knew she would catch this fish someday, especially when Pa said this one would be good eatin' 'cause it was a real fighter and they always tasted better.

Everything was goin' real well until the day a fancy car drove up the lane to the house and Cousin Martha from the City got out with suitcases and backpacks and her Ma and Pa left her for a visit. Our Millie didn't really know Cousin Martha but she didn't like her very much from right off. It got even worse since everybody else seemed to like her a lot.

Big Mil didn't yell at her at all and made Our Millie let Cousin Martha sleep in her room. Billy bug didn't put frogs in her bed or crickets in her shoes. But the worst thing of all was when Pa made Our Millie invite Cousin Martha to go fishin' with them — on their special day, to their special hole. Cousin Martha had never been fishin' before and she was real excited.

Our Millie was not in a good mood. Cousin Martha even got to use her favorite rod and sit on her favorite rock, and Our Millie even had to bait the hook for her 'cause Cousin Martha made a terrible face and said she would never touch a worm.

Our Millie thought things might be alright when Pa waded out in the creek and was catchin' quite a few good-sized fish. Our Millie was standin' at the edge of the creek and she had quite a few fish too. It made it even better since Cousin Martha only had two blue gills and a sunfish so small they had to throw it back.

Then it happened. Cousin Martha started squealin' and jumpin' up and down. Pa ran to help her with her line and Our Millie just stood and watched as Cousin Martha gave the line a mighty pull and swung it around hittin' Our Millie square in the face with that monster catfish, makin' a mark on her cheek with a big splat.

Our Millie was so mad and so hurt 'cause everybody made over Cousin Martha and Pa said he was so proud 'cause nobody could ever catch that fish. And Big Mil fried it up and Cousin Martha got to eat the whole thing all by herself.

In a few days Cousin Martha's Ma and Pa came to take her home and she said it was the most fun she had ever had, especially catchin' that big old fish. She gave everybody big hugs, even though Our Millie didn't feel like huggin', and said she sure would like to come back next summer.

The next Saturday Our Millie didn't feel much like fishin' but Pa took her by the hand and said he had a secret just for her. He said that fish Cousin Martha caught wasn't really the biggest catfish of all. The Old Cat was hidin' in the rocks just where the deep water began, just waitin' to play with Our Millie.

That cheered Our Millie up some. Pa said that Cousin Martha didn't get to fish in the City and she was so excited he didn't want to ruin her fun.

Our Millie smiled at that 'cause she got to fish all the time. Then she baited her hook and caught blue gill and sunfish and walked home with Pa every Saturday that summer with plenty of fish for supper.

She never did catch that big Monster and neither did Pa, but she knew it was there 'cause he Pa had said so. Just so Cousin Martha didn't come back next summer and catch the Old Cat, everything was alright.

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