The one that got away

Ringgold, Georgia  is Randall Franks hometown. It was named after Samuel Ringgold, a hero of the Battle of Palo Alto in the Mexican–American War.

Grandma Kitty pulled her shiny case knife from the pocket of her blue apron. She reached down far to the bottom of the cane pole and cut it. “This will make a good one,” she said, as she handed it to a three-year-old me. Then she cut one for herself. As we walked to her favorite spot along Frogleg Creek, I could not help but take a peak within the small metal pail she had given me to carry. I knew it would have something good for us to eat, like some chocolate pie or a piece of coconut cake. I almost fell down when as I looked beneath the lid, only to have my hopes dashed by a bucket of dirt filled with red wigglers. “Granny, what are we going to have to eat,” I said. “I thought this was our food.” “It is food, but it is for the fishes,” she said. “You will have to wait till we find some berries or maybe a plum tree,” she said. “What are we going to do with these poles?” I said. “I am going to tie some string on them and you and I are going to spend the morning fishing,” she said. As we walked along the trail, I noticed a stick lying across the trail. I rushed ahead to pick it up. “Hold your horses, boy,” she said, as she took her cane pole and popped on the back of what I thought was a stick. The stick slithered away like a bolt of lightening. “That’s your first rule of being in the mountains, son — be careful where you put your hands,” she said. “We share this space with all kinds of critters. Some don’t care much for sharing.” As we reached the spot along the banks of the creek, she said. “This is it.” Conveniently, a huge oak log had fallen there. Upon it we sat. “All you need to do is put one of the wigglers on the safety pin and drop your line in the water like this,” she said. She handed me the pole. Then she fixed the other one, carefully attaching the string, safety pin and adding the worm. As we sat there side by side with our poles in the water, I know I probably asked her a million questions about the leaves, the trees and the little green frog which hopped on my shoe. She patiently answered every one. We sat there for what seemed like hours enjoying the mountain breeze which flowed over the Gravelly Spur and along the Frogleg Creek. “”Well, we better be getting back,” she said as she pulled her line out of the water. Just as her pin touched the top of the cold waters, the biggest fish I ever saw jumped by her line. “Granny, did you see that?” I said. “We can’t leave, we have not got that fish yet.” “Yes, we did,” she said. Close your eyes, “Can you see it?” “Yes,” I said. “Then you will carry that fish with you everywhere you go,” she said. “So we did catch a fish,” I said. “Today, we caught the biggest fish of all.” “We caught something much better,” she said. “We caught each other.”

About Randall Franks — Actor/entertainer Randall Franks is best known as “Officer Randy Goode” from TV’s “In the Heat of the Night,” a role he performed on NBC and CBS from 1988-1993 and now on WGN America. He was part of cast of three other TV Series including Robert Townsend’s “Musical Theater of Hope” which aired on UPtv (Gospel Music Channel). In his latest film “Broken” he stars with Soren Fulton, Felix Ryan, Bailey Borders and Joe Stevens. In another recent film “Lukewarm” he starred with John Schneider, Nicole Gale Anderson, Bill Cobbs, Jenna von Oy and Jeremy Jones. He starred with Natalie Grant and Billy Dean in the teen drama “Decision“ and in “The Solomon Bunch,” a children’s adventure, Randall does a comedic cameo. As an actor, he has co-starred or starred in 15 films with stars such as Elizabeth McGovern, Mia Wasikowska, “Doc” Tommy Scott; William Hurt, Dolly Parton, Stella Parton and Christian Slater.

Randall is friends with Lee County Courier publisher Jim Clark.

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