Can there be such a thing as a funny gator story? Well, yes. Of course.
An older Floridian, Ray, who spent part of his childhood growing up in Saint Augustine tells the story of his grandmother’s front porch and “George.” According to Ray, George was about a 10 foot long “inmate” of the 1950s Florida attraction, The Alligator Farm.
For whatever reason, occasionally George would escape the compound and wander off down the road. Ray said George liked the geography of his grandmother’s front porch. Ray’s grandmother would come home from running her errands to find the big lizard sleeping in her way blocking the front door to her house. She would cuss out the ’gator, use the back door to enter, and call her husband to tell him get a hold of The Alligator Farm so they could come down and collect George…again.
After a while, one of the caretakers would walk down the street from the farm carrying a poking stick and wearing a top hat. He would slowly amble up to the porch in the Florida heat, tap the ’gator on the head to wake him up, and say, “Com’on, George, time to git on home.”
Ray well remembers the caretaker walking George down the street tapping him on the back to keep him going in the right direction headed home to The Alligator Farm.
Then there is the story of the police officer in the Orlando area who got a call on the night shift about an alligator sitting in the middle of the highway. He, too, was fresh from up North, and really did not know what to do with a ’gator sitting in a road. Especially all by himself. Without any backup from a qualified Florida law officer.
So being a resourceful public servant, he lassoed the lizard and locked him in the bathroom of a nearby gas station for safekeeping. He planned to wait until the gas station owner arrived in the morning to explain the situation, but then he got another emergency call.
While out on that call, he heard the dispatcher calling in another emergency about an alligator in the bathroom of a gas station. He never mentioned his “resourcefulness” to anyone.
Another Floridian tells of how he met his new neighbors. Coming home from work one day, one of the neighbors asked if he had seen their cat. “He is a big, fuzzy, lovable gray tabby.”
“You have a cat you let outside?”
“Why, yes, he has always enjoyed going out and around the house.”
“My wife and I have two cats and we won’t let either of them outside at all.”
“Well, we have eagles flying in the area along with owls and hawks; they can pick up a cat and be gone with him in the blink of an eye.” Pointing to the pond near their house, he added, “We also have alligators.”
The two were “foreigners,” immigrants from other states in the Union and very ignorant of how to live in Florida. They also knew nothing of the wildlife in the Sunshine State. They looked doubtfully at the Floridian and asked, “You’re kidding, right?”
“Nope. I wouldn’t let my cats out of the house for all the tea in China.” At this, the immigrants became a little more concerned about the fate of their gray tabby.
A couple of days later, the Floridian drove home again and as he passed the pond, there was the ’gator. He went right to his neighbor’s door and knocked. He announced the presence of the ’gator and the couple nervously chuckled. Then he led them to the pond.
There, silently and slowly swimming just underneath the water was a juvenile alligator. He was only about four or five feet long; every bit large enough to eat a cat.
The new Floridians, freshly arrived from states North and out West, were shocked! There was actually a big, cat-eating lizard living in the pond.
“Did you ever find your cat?”
“Yes, we did, and Dudley is never leaving the house again.”
Of course, Dudley became a pest begging to go out. The humans eventually had to either acquiesce or go insane.
It took Dudley only a week to retrain his “masters” to the proper frequency of his outings.
©2011 J. Clark