Tales are stories that offer Hope and some teach lessons. But they are always fun to hear or read-
Back in the early 1980s, I walked into an Old Country Store ran by an old man in his 90s near Lola, Texas. Talk about Older than dirt he surely was. But in I went and I left with a corny crazy tale of some escaped girl named Jane who escaped a foster Home type Prison Camp somewhere near the Navasota River. And folks thought all sorts of things until there began a long trail of sightings of the girl.
Well, after ten years, I bought 20 acres on the Navasota River in Brazos County Texas. And I’m not going to Lie to you, I had totally forgotten about the Crazy story about Navasota River Jane or “NRJ”. Lol, like some fool Tarzan story if I had ever heard one.
And as the years went by, I saw flooding come and go along the River and I always shook my head when anyone would tell me a thing about a recent sighting of a woman seen living on the River. It has to all be made up. There wasn’t no crazy wild animal woman living on the Navasota River. It’s a river that even a small boat can’t go up or down the river because of all of the tree limbs that had fallen across it.
But Deer Seasons came and went and I sometimes hunted on my 20 acres when the River didn’t flood. But it wasn’t ever a guarantee to get to hunt. And on one faithful Saturday Morning, I sat in a Deer Stand and waited and watched and there cannot a nice sized Buck which is a male Deer. I lifted my gun and the Deer fell as I pulled my finger on the trigger. I then walked over to the Fallen Deer. It was dead and didn’t move. No, I had removed the Life from the beautiful animal. And I leaned over on a bended knee and put my hand on the Deer and I said a small prayer to the Heavenly Father for allowing me to harvest such a magnificent animal.
I need me some of that meat.
I heard words spoken over my shoulder and I knew it was a woman.
I need me some more .22 bullets.
And I didn’t mean to, but my mind instantly op-ed out of all thoughts and jumped to Navasota River Jane. I then stood up and turned to see who was there.
Are you her? Navasota River Jane?
And she chucked a giggle my way.
That’s what some call me.
But as she said that, I looked hard up on this dark feathered skinned woman. You couldn’t tell if she was black, white, or brown with the strange buckled look her skin had on her. And her lips were broken with large cracks. Her hair was blustery and cobbled where a hair brush or comb hadn’t see it in years. And then she pointed at the Deer.
I need me some of that meat.
I leaned over and put a tag on the Deer’s ear claiming ownership of the carcass of the Buck. Then I stood up.
And the woman quickly jumped down upon the Deer and cut the gut open and yanked out the liver with precise precision. Then she bite a huge mouthful out of the raw blood now dripping liver. Then she cut a chunk of meat out of the Deer’s Rump Area with the hide still attached. About a 2-lb piece of meat.
I need me some .22 bullets too.
And I realized that she was asking me in her own way for some .22 bullets.
I don’t have any with me, but I can get some.
I didn’t have any with me, but I could get this strange looking woman some. So, I offered.
Where do you want me to leave them?
Leave me some on top your Deer Stand.
And again as I talked, I looked at her clothes. Her pants were worn down jeans. Lots of worn thru holes all over and her flannel shirt was the sane way from years of going thru heavy brush. But she had no gun I saw.
I’ll put some there tomorrow. What size shoes you wear?
Size 10 inch.
I’ll get you a pair of 10 inch shoes too.
She didn’t say anything else but look at me in my eyes as if saying-there’s a tale I wanna tell you but I do not know you.
The woman backed away from me for about ten feet and turned and then quickly scrambled away. And I just stood there for a minute and I watched and part of me didn’t want to believe I had just had this encounter. I mean. What do you do when you see a River Tale come to life? Believe it or what? Who was this woman? Did she really escape a foster prison type home a d no one ever reported her missing? Had she been molested? Why did she run away?
I got home and went inside and told my wife about the woman. She thought I was kidding. But how do I get someone to hear a whale of a tale of truth? I then got the baggies to put the cut meat from the Deer in our Freezer. It took me about an hour and I was done.
When I talked with my wife, I asked her what I should get the woman a long with the .22 bullets and shoes? We talked and made a list of things to get her. I then went to town to get the woman some stuff. I got her-
- Pants and Shirt.
- Size 10 all weather Boots.
- Four pair of socks.
- Fit all medium underwear.
- A backpack.
- A fire starter stick.
- OTC meds and hygiene sorts of things.
- Canned food.
- Tooth Brush and four tooth paste.
- Hair Brush.
- Mirror-small hand size.
- Two Bars of Soap.
- Fish hooks and hand fishing lines.
- Six boxes of .22 bullets.
- Four bags of Jerky. Four bags of hard rock candy.
- Three bottles of water purifier.
- A canteen and canteen holder and belt.
- A rain poncho.
Well, I put most of the things in the backpack and then I drove back down to the River. I didn’t wait until the next day. It was just getting dark. I stopped near the Deer stand aponcho.and went to the Deer stand. It was just a lean-to type. I climbed up and placed all of the stiff on top where my butt would be sitting. It was wide for my wide butt. Then I climbed down. I then drove back home.
The next day, I got up wondering if the Wild Child whom I did admire for her living off the land and wild and free just like the First Americans did-America’s Native Indians. Was she still out there?
I ate breakfast and now, my wife who was acting pretty oddly accompanied me and I think she did this to make sure I wasn’t starting an Affair and to make sure I wasn’t lying to her. To make sure I wasn’t making all of this up. And we drove down to our land on the Navasota River. It takes about thirty minutes to get there.
Finally, we were at the Deer Stand and as I glanced up, I could see the boots and clothes and backpack were all gone. And I decided to climb up an look over the area to see of I could see any sign of Navasota River Jane.
Then I got there, there was a handmade necklace sitting on top. And it had over thirty-five _________ on it. I climbed down and handed it to my wife. I was happy to see it, but not completely. It was a strange gift that was more than it appeared. A gift no one would ever forget getting.
What’s this? A present from your girlfriend?
I shook my head. If my wife had seen her, she’d seen how weather beat the woman was. How worn her clothes were and holes even in her shoes. But she was completely free and her necklace was my payment in Full.
It’s either her Gift or its her Warning.
But then suddenly I realized where NRJ was living. She was living on Cane Island. And it’s a place that even I would never go into. It was a cross between Louisiana and East Texas Swamp Land and the Cane grew up to six feet tall on Cane Island. A place easily to be swallowed up whole in and a place filled with all sorts of danger. Even a scary place…