We ate quite a lot of fish when I was growing up. Dad always ran a couple of trotlines in the spring and summer, and both Paul David and I liked to fish. Mostly we caught catfish on cane poles with hooks baited either with grasshoppers and worms, or with some of the chicken hearts, livers and gizzards Mom brought home from the processing plant. We also caught bass and bream, though, usually on old Zebco reels with spinners on the line. We loved eating them all.
Though I liked the taste of fish, I didn’t like bones and sometimes worried about choking on one. I’d heard that if you ever got a bone caught in your throat you should drink vinegar, which would dissolve it.
One night the terrible thing I’d dreaded happened. I got a fish bone caught in my throat and panicked. I jumped up from the table and took off running into the kitchen where mom kept a little carafe of vinegar on the counter. I tore the cap off and drank the whole thing down in a couple of gulps.
The cure worked, though whether the vinegar dissolved the bone or just washed it down I’ll never know. Unfortunately, the treatment was about as bad as the bone. I think the vinegar dissolved about half my esophagus too, and maybe a little bit of stomach.
Come to think of it, though, it wasn’t much worse than drinking straight shots of Jack Daniels. But that’s a story from when I was quite a bit older.