The Spiker Family Gathering Place

Geneaology and History Portal

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Title:       Frog Giggin' with the Family
Author:   Cathy Spiker Gregis
Date:       February 2007

 

We are a family united by weddings, celebrations, summer picnics and funeral gatherings, knit by a million happy and sad tears, a thousand hugs of greetings and farewell.  We are a jumble of shapes and sizes, looks and personalities, a foundation that spans generations of belonging, deep, real, and everlasting.  

I've always felt at home on the Spiker farm, so many memories that it’s hard to pull just one or two stories to tell, but I always enjoyed thinking about the time we went frog gigging.  My brother, Jeff, and I along with Tom Miller, Briana and Mark were spending the week at the farm.  It was a warm and muggy evening. Someone came up with the brilliant idea of going frog gigging.  I suppose they thought it would cool us off and put an end to a boring evening. 

Now me, being a city girl, wasn't sure what frog gigging was and even after a brief explanation I wasn't in a hurry to go. Before I knew it, Briana had found me some old tennis shoes and clothes. There wasn't enough gigging forks to go around so I gladly said I didn't need one. Sticking that thing into a frog then eating them didn't sound like fun to me.  

Mark had had his wisdom teeth removed that day so he couldn't go into the water.  By the time we were ready, the boys had flashlights and gigs and we headed to the creek in the dark....... yeah, it was dark......very dark and we were walking in even darker water that I knew had snapping turtles and fish with big teeth.  Not wanting to be teased about being a coward I went with them.  We waded into water up to our waist.  Mark called out to us (he was walking the road along beside us).  We asked him to join us but he reminded us of his dental work and said he would walk along. He started telling us a story about how a man had escaped from jail earlier in the day and he could be somewhere close by.  Tom said he'd heard about that too.  Jeff and Tom started talking about how this man could be anywhere.  Up ahead there was a road crossing in the creek so we should be careful.  I walked through the water, watching the guys shine the flashlight at the unsuspecting frogs, stab them, and shove them into a sack.  

We approached the river crossing. The water was getting shallow when something suddenly grabbed my shirt.  I stepped forward, it pulled me back.  I stepped sideways but was pulled back again.  When I stepped backwards and felt the tug again I let out a scream that could be heard in the next county.  Tom turned around, gig held up and back, ready to save me, flashlight in hand and a look of concern on his face.

Then he saw the problem. A stick, still connected to a tree, had snagged my shirt.  It had enough give to allow me to take a step before it pulled me back.  It took only a few moments before the guys realized what had happened then they burst out laughing.  Well at least it was dark and they couldn't see the blush that flooded my face. 


 

Title:       The Seance
Author:   Cathy Spiker Gregis
Date:       February 2007

 

It was late evening at the Spiker farm.  I don’t remember where everyone was but Tom, Jeff and I came up with the bright idea of having a séance.  We were in the living room sitting at the coffee table.  Tom and Jeff were sitting on one side facing the front window; I was on the other side. 

Young and stupid, we tried to bring Grandmother Gay Spiker back. We asked for her to play the organ upstairs if she was there.  Nothing happened.  We tried again.  I don’t remember who we were trying to bring back this time, but suddenly both Jeff and Tom had a look of total amazement then fright on their faces.  It took only a moment before they both stood up and ran from the room leaving me alone and confused. 

Later, when I questioned them what happened, they both told the same story.  A face outside the window moved slowly forward; they didn’t stay to find out what would happen.  I asked if it could be one of our cousins or one of the adults outside trying to scare us. Both guys, even though I talked to them separately said, “No!” The face was too small and out beyond the porch, staring at them before it started to move closer.

A few years later I questioned both guys. Were they just trying to scare me? Both denied this but neither wanted to talk much about it either.


Title:       Aunt Jean and the English Bulldog
Author:   Cathy Spiker Gregis
Date:       May 15, 2007

 

The best that I can remember, Mom, Aunt Jean and Gertie Hannigan, (a friend of my Mom’s) had gone shopping.  When we went to let Gertie off at her house we all had to go to the restroom and felt we couldn't wait until we got home. 

Now I really had to go, but I also knew what lurked in the bathroom – one of the biggest, meanest looking dogs on earth!  I knew I wasn't going to go first, even if I wet myself.  This dog had torn up the bathroom floor many times; he was no pussycat. 

I don't remember who said Aunt Jean could go first, but as she went in I wasn't sure whether to laugh or pray.  About this time I heard Aunt Jean squeal "laawzzzee me!!!!"  We knew she had come face to face with the English bulldog and probably realized why we let had her go first.

 


Title:       Biggest Snake I Ever Saw
Author:   Cathy Spiker Gregis
Date:       December 6, 2008

 

A long, long, time ago on the 30th of May, we had our picnic at South Fork Church instead of the farm.  One year I was put in charge of watching my siblings as we played around the church.  Before the kitchen was built in the back, the picnics were out in the open, under the trees, so most of the adults were on the left side of the church with the food.  I don’t remember who saw it first, but in the outhouse, curled up in the corner, was a huge black snake.  It was the biggest snake I’d ever seen!  It looked big enough to eat me whole, so it didn’t take me long to figure out this was not where I wanted to be.  So I ran…

Forgetting about my siblings, I went screaming back to the adults.  After Mom figured out what I was trying to say, her first question was, “Where are your brother and sister?”  I said I had left them back there.  The look on Mom’s face was a sight to be seen.  Then she said, “Well go get them!”   

“Me????  There’s a big snake!”

 “I don’t care.  Go get them.”

At the time, I was never quite sure why I had to go get them.  It seemed like something a mother should do instead of a frightened child.  Later I learned Mom is very afraid of snakes…more than me…and she hadn’t taken the time to think of what she was telling me to do.  I turned around to go back and get them, but a lot less quickly than when I left, so maybe that was why help had already arrived. 

There was a battle going on.  Several of the men were shouting orders at Mike while he tried to get to the snake with a big stick.  That old snake was cornered and was more scared than me by now.  He knew what a mob looked like with murder in their eyes.

Mom once told me Mike had such long arms that he was the most practical person to go after the thing.  Mike did manage to kill it, the bathrooms were safe once again, and everybody had a story to tell.  I can still see Mike standing there holding that snake out.  It was as long as Mike was tall.  Biggest snake I ever saw!