The Little Man And The Fish Camp

A few weeks ago D and Alex made a trip to Mississippi without me. At some point while they were there D and Mama determined that a supper of fried catfish was in order, and as a result of that decision Alex made his inaugural trip to the fish camp.

Quite frankly I was a little teary-eyed about missing such a huge milestone in my child’s life.

I’m still trying to get over it.

According to D, Alex was initially a little uncertain about eating a fried food that had, you know, BONES, but eventually he realized that OH MY WORD, THIS FISH IS DELICIOUS, WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME ABOUT THIS BEFORE, and he proceeded to eat a whole piece of catfish off of his daddy’s plate.

If you’re a Southerner, you know that’s a memory book moment right there.

Well, this past Friday, just as Alex and I were crossing the Mississippi / Alabama line, he piped up from the backseat and said, “Mama? Can we please go to the fish camp tonight?”

I don’t know when I’ve experienced a greater swell of maternal pride.

So I quickly picked up my phone, called my mama and made all the necessary arrangements.

I don’t mess around when it comes to large quantities of food fried in peanut oil, my friends.

Later that night we went to a fish camp on the outskirts of my hometown. It’s a no-frills kind of place: cement block walls, long picnic-style tables, and plastic tableware.

But when you’re eating this…

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…who really gives a rip about the atmosphere?

Alex was WOUND UP, to say the least. We went to the fish camp with both of his grandmothers, my aunt and uncle, my cousin Paige and her family, and having SO MANY! RELATIVES! IN THE SAME! PLACE! was just about more than his little four year-old heart could bear.

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This is the little man with his cousin Joseph. Joseph is almost a year old, which pretty much means that he’s at that stage where I COULD JUST EAT HIM UP, OH MY WORD, HOW CAN THE WORLD CONTAIN SO MUCH CUTENESS?

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Alex had big fun snuggling up with Martha / Mother / “Martie,” and I’ll have you know that Martha, the woman who can eat one Pringle and be completely satisfied, ate two whole catfish filets, hush puppies, French fries and cole slaw.

So clearly she is done with all her eating for 2007.

She’ll probably have a half a grape at the beginning of 2008.

If she’s even remotely hungry by then.

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Not even my mama could calm down the the little man. She usually is able to work her dial-it-down-a-notch magic on him, but he’d have none of that at the fish camp. He was far too busy throwing cracker wrappers and crawling underneath the table.

And also: there was a lot of fake burping.

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He did pause mid-cracker to take a picture with me.

Yeah. I know. I haven’t been this blonde since 1982. When it was my natural color.

And I really do like it. I do.

However, it does make me feel a bit like a local news anchor. Or perhaps even a sideline reporter on ESPN.

I mean, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the phrase “BACK TO YOU, CHRIS!” has been playing non-stop in my head for the last three days.

I’m also fighting the urge to buy an array of Sensible Suits in colors that would hold up well under the glare of TV studio lights.

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See? My child wanted to look at Joseph. He really did. But he was hypnotized by the blinding glare of my hair. He literally could not turn away.

But that’s okay. I was affected in much the same way by the fried catfish.

You know, perhaps my hair and the catfish could co-anchor the five o’clock news.

It’s certain to be a ratings bonanza.

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  1. My word, BooMama, Alex does look like you! He is clearly your son.And I go with the blinding highlights. I feel it deters people from looking at the rest of me, which is what I am aiming for. Your hair looks great! We need a few more photos of your head upright thankyou. And that catfish (whatever that may be… I am foreign….) looks delicious.

  2. You are making my mouth water with those delicious catfish and hushpuppies! Oh, how I miss that goodness.

  3. I love how absolutely expressive Alex is in every picture and with your expressive tying skills I feel I can imagine just the type of child he is :) What a cutie indeed.

  4. Thank you Boomama for the glimpse into life at the Fish Camp. Growing up in AR and eating that stuff ALL.THE.TIME. I could totally come up with smells, tastes, and textures the minute I saw the pictures. Yummy in my tummy! That looks like a perfect ending to a perfect weekend. :)

  5. Love the blonde! Now that is the color you were praying for! :-) I know the feeling that is unfortunate roots.
    Those hushpuppies look so good! There is nothing better than eating fried fish and hushpuppies.

  6. First, insomnia (hence the 4:30am posting, sigh) and now I’m craving fish camp food. Double sigh. I need a trip to The South.

    Speaking of things running through your head (and your hair? which I TOTALLY love)- Kati went to an 80’s party at church tonight. An hour before she left, I was at the kitchen table cutting up a t-shirt in the flashdance way- with “Borderline” going through my head. And it won’t leave.

    Maybe it’s all the AquaNet I used on her hair tonight. It has the song plugged up in my head.

    Good times.

  7. You guys are so cute and those hushpuppies……….they look YUMMY!

  8. No no no! If you’ll harken back to “Up Close and Personal” you’ll recall the evil Big Network Producers made Tally Atwater dye her blonde hair brown before she could be An Anchor on the Evening News? So clearly, you are no Anchorwoman, catfish sidekick or not. Though I think it makes a catchy gimmick for a radio show. IT’S BOOMAMA AND CATFISH FOR YOUR MORNIN’ DRIVE, Y’ALL. LISTENED TO BY TENS OF COMMUTERS EVERY SINGLE DAY! (And I like the color of your hair, it’s very pretty with your eyes/hair.) (So don’t go thinkin’ I said radio as opposed to TV because I don’t like your hair.)

    We had a Fish Camp on the outskirts of my hometown too! Funny, I had no idea there were other Fish Camps on the outskirts of other towns… I thought Our Fish Camp was like a one shot deal! Wow. My brain is having a hard time wrapping itself around there actually being more than one Fish Camp. MMMMMMMM. Hushpuppies.

  9. You are so hilarious. We are laughing out loud (my girls and I) over here in GA.

    We do love us some great catfish, too, and that looked delicious.

    The hair is fabulous as well, and a news anchor is an admirable aspiration. Not such a huge leap from podcasting, I’d say. ; )

    I just wish I could do blonde. I’m more the Wynonna Judd red myself.

  10. You are TOOo hilarious!!! Loved, loved, loved all the pictures. Oh, did I tell you that I LOVED the pictures? hee hee. The catfish looked awesome too. The grandmothers – man, are they gorgeous are what? I see where you get your good looks from :) And I love your hair – I don’t think it is too blonde!!!

    Anyway, have a great day. You just made mine. :)

  11. I think your hair looks fabulous. And going to a fish camp looks way more tasty than our fish boils do here in the North.

  12. Mmmm. Catfiiiiiish. Mmm. Fish camp.

  13. your hair looks fabulous! and all of that fried food makes me want to lick my monitor and throw on some bbq sauce for good measure.

  14. What on EARTH is a FISH CAMP?? Do you mean a restaurant that serves fish?? At first I thought you meant a spot where your parents have a cabin and you all go to to actually FISH and then you EAT your freshly caught fish…but clearly that was a restaurant…but never ever have I heard of a place that serves food being called a CAMP!?!?! So confused… I’m also in the dark as to what hushpuppies are. Aren’t they a shoe brand?

  15. Growing up in the Upper Midwest and then living in So Cal for most of my young adult years, I am not qualified to speak to the fish camp. (Read: I’ve never had fried catfish in my life.)

    But since I worked in TV news for quite a few years, I can confirm that your blond is good to go AND you don’t have to invest in sensible color suits to be a good TV reporter. My favorite female reporter at the station where I worked wore a bright tangerine suit as well as a aqua number. Because bright colors work with blond.

    Or maybe it was just because we were that close to L.A.

  16. Oh. My. Gawd.

    Fresh CATFISH !!

    even better…


    Must tell DH to forget all about that Air Show next weekend – I needs me a road trip
    to get me some o’ dat !!

  17. LOVE the blonde–the Wizard did well.

    And while I’m not a fan of catfish, that bowl of hushpuppies is calling my name. (Don’t you love how the BEST food ALWAYS comes in a plastic mesh bowl with a paper liner?)

  18. Stephanie says:

    Love the color of your hair – and the pics of “Howard”. I feel like I was there =)

  19. Catfish fried to a light golden brown…with a thin, crispy crust…dipped in a tartar sauce that’s not too sweet but not too mayonnaisy (yes, that is a word…I think)accompanied by hushpuppies that melt in your mouth.

    We don’t have fish camps here in Northern GA like we had in Mississippi. Yum! (And, fo course, a vat of sweet tea to wash it down. Oh my.)

    Oh, and I was happy for your guys Saturday. Go Bulldogs! Now, if you can just get me through this week as my boys prepare to play LSU. I’ll have a hushpuppy platter with a side of Valium, please.

    Now back to you in the studio… (sorry, couldn’t resist)

  20. I, too, like the blonde. I have to say, Martie is just beautiful and your mom (sorry, I’m from the North) totally reminds me of Gena Rowlands. What is the secret, Southern Ladies, other than good genes?

  21. I never thought I’d be craving fried fish at 10 in the morning, but you are POWERFUL, girl. Unfortunately, we’re down to one car, my husband has it, and I know of no fried fish restaurants that deliver.

    The wizard did a nice job. You look great. I noticed your lovely necklace, too. ;)

  22. I have never heard it called a fish camp either and I am glad someone else asked first–and I did grow up slightly south of the Mason-Dixon. I don’t like fish though so maybe I wasn’t listening…

    I LOVE your hair though!!!

  23. Not fair! I’m so craving fried catfish and hush puppies now!

    I hail from Belzoni, Mississippi, Catfish Capitol of the World, mind you, so I know from fried catfish and hush puppies.

    I’m going to be thinking of them all day.

  24. Love the blond! And I agree with Shannon- the best foods do seem to come in those little plastic baskets. I even bought some from the 1 spot at Target last year to serve my girls lunch in… hoping they would be tricked into believing it was another fast food meal!

  25. Has Big Mama ever thought of changing her name to “Catfish”? Because I agree… BooMama and Catfish is just as catchy as can be! :)

  26. Should I apologize to Big Mama for saying that?????

  27. I love the blonde. It looks great.

    Between the grandmothers and Sister, I am questioning if I need to change my skincare regimen. That is some seriously good skin.

    Also, I will not be changing my name to Catfish. A girl has her limits, even in the name of marketing.

  28. I, too, love your hair color! And, is it just me, or did anyone else notice that you and your mother look just alike? I mean, you are even posed the same way in those pictures… it’s like you are one in the same! This, coming from someone who looks in the mirror daily and sees her mom more and more. (and knows it’s a good thing!)

  29. Oh WOW!This was a good one Boo.I had to go back and read the “original fish camp/mama gets some relief” story,which made this all the better.My word Alex looks like you at least from these pics.I wish I could come see the hair wizard because the BLONDE it is mesmerizing,I’d keep a tight hold on that wizard. I have a confession…it’s really hard for me to say…I…don’tlikehushpuppies.In fact we recently had a luncheon at my workplace with catfish and hushpuppies and coleslaw and trimmings.While I can eat my weight in the pure goodness that is catfish I can not eat 1/2 a hushpuppy,just can’t do it. The texture the flavor, it’s just not right.My whole office watched as I tried to eat one and I could only get one bite down…it’s very embarrassing.I’m a purebred Texan so it must be some kind of mutant genetic defect.I don’t like pecan pie either.Or when strawberry juice gets the cake wet in strawberry shortcake,can’t eat it.My food situation is horribly embarrassing to the family,they just shake their heads and walk away.They’re talking about DNA checks…

  30. Is that one of Lisa’s necklaces you are wearing? Your birthday present?? Just lovely!

    I miss catfish…yes, I do. I don;t think there are those kinds of places in Colorado and I miss them so very much! We’d eat at Big Pines Lodge on Caddo Lake in E. Texas, and it is a wonderful place to make memories! What beautiful ladies your Mama and Martha are!!

  31. OH, that fish looks yummy! I may have to fry up a batch this week. BTW- I love your hair color, it’s beautiful!

  32. You are torturing me!! It’s bad enough to talk about the catfish and hushpuppies but then to show pictures?! Sob.Sob.Sob. I’m tempted to throw the kids in the van and take a road trip South. But I fear the nearest decent catfish place is probably a 10 hour drive. So I’ll content myself to look at your pictures and wipe the drool from my chin!

  33. Your hair looks glorious! I think that if you were blond as a child, then you have every right to highlight your hair without shame. Do I need to put some verses on some index cards to help you combat shame? Cause you know I will!

  34. It’s your calling! Who else can pull it all off? Making my mouth water about catfish, point out the bond this causes in family as a family that fries together stays together, and yet looking oh-so-sassy!!
    Who, I ask you, other than BooMama could pull that one off??

    And hello? Where are the grease stains? Don’t tell me my boys are the only ones that use their sleeves as napkins?

  35. I think you hair looks really nice! Wish I had a wizard here! ;)

  36. LOVE the hair!and the fish!

  37. The blond looks great! I LOVED seeing the pictures of your Mother and Martha/Mother/”Martie”. Two great Southern ladies!

  38. Dude, your mom is so beautiful and has aged so wonderfully, and you look JUST LIKE HER. The cockles of my heart: warmed.

  39. Must. Have. Fried. Fish.

  40. Sweet photos by the way.

  41. Your hair color is fabulous. Love that shine.

    Quite frankly, there is nothing better to eat in this world than a well fried hush puppy. Pass em on over please!

  42. you have your mom’s nose and eyes. CUTE!

  43. Hushpuppies ALONE would make it worth it for me!

    And you look just like your mama! Or, maybe you look like your Daddy when you’re next to him, but here… you look just like your mama. And A looks just like the both of you!

    So cute!

  44. Just a question – do all southern women age this gracefully? What’s the secret to keeping their own teeth?
    Us northeners would like to know.

  45. Oh now I am craving some catfish!!
    I love the pictures and the idea of Alex full of energy crawling under the table cracked me up!!
    I actually love the hair! You look beautiful :)

  46. your hair looks great!

  47. oh my, that plate of fried catfish made me literally drool (pardon me while i clean up my keyboard). we used to reside in new orleans and there was nothing finer than the fried catfish…and the crawfish and the gumbo…but i digress. you just can’t get that here in PA.

  48. That fish looks mighty tasty.

    It’s been far too long since I had any fried catfish!

  49. “So clearly she is done with all her eating for 2007. She’ll probably have a half a grape at the beginning of 2008.”

    You are so very funny!

  50. Oh my…just read the “fish camp” story you linked to, about your Mama getting out of the car. Hadn’t read that one before…what a laugh!!!!! Glad you enjoyed your weekend, and your catfish.

  51. So maybe the fish camp down the street from my Nanny’s house in a small Mississippi town was not an original after all. Oh the deception!
    Oh ! BTW! I enjoy your enthusiasm about the Bulldogs. My Daddy is a Bulldog! He thinks it is cool I “know” a female fan online. :) We all live in the great state now so we don’t get back often.

  52. I’m sorry that Howard was spazzing. Every 4 year old has to let the spazz out sometimes. Love your blondeness.

  53. Fried fish, french fries and family- does it get any better?? I think not.

    4 year old boys with all of their joy and energy is a blessing in itself.

  54. What a great post. Great food…great photos…and great hair. Everyone has such great hair!

  55. Oh my, your hair is fabulous! So beautiful!

    And that catfish is gorgeous too, as well as the hush puppies.

  56. You know, it IS quite a special thing when a little person makes his first appearance at a fish camp… Troy went to our **fav** catfish and hushpuppy place in Alabama, Greenbrier’s, when he was about eight months old and munched on a couple hushpuppies. I don’t think his good Southern taste was cultivated yet, though… he was more interested in getting some “milkies” than he was those hushpuppies. ;) My mom brought me home a couple packages of Martha White hushpuppy mix when she came home a couple weeks ago… now I’m dying to fry me some. End-of-pregnancy cravings, that’s what we’ll call them. :D

  57. Can I just say that I aspire to be Martha some day? That is one stylish woman :) Your son is so adorable!! My husband would go CRAZY for the fish.

  58. The Bulldogs need a good sideline reporter…I’m just sayin…

  59. I have been craving a trip to a fishcamp like that since I read Charles Martin’s book “Wrapped In Rain”.(btw, have you read anything by him? He is 100% southern and I LOVE HIM!) Did ya’ll have grits? Cause we always had grits with our fish back in the day….man! I miss that. The pictures are adorable and I’m thinkin’ you look great as a full fledged blonde :)

  60. I made the mistake of reding this entry while my dear ole Mum was over. “Who’s that? Where’d you meet her? Why do you care? Does she eat her food FRIED!??!! Does she KNOW what that is going to do to her health? You really should tell her how inportant it is to be a good example to those little children. Why does she have pictures of old ladies on there? Do you know THEM? Why do you care?”

    Hoo boy.

  61. Ashleigh said I *had* to come over and read this post. She also told me not to drool. Too late! : )

    Love the family pics–especially of A–he is adorable!! And love your hair–it looks great!

  62. Your hair color is to die for. Perfect. The Wizard worked wonders.

    Is getting your hair done not just the. best.?

    and fish camp looks pretty good too! :)

  63. I’m with Kate in that I always knew fish Camp to be the place where you go down to catch a mess of catfish that you fry up and add french fries and hushpuppies to go along……We never called the place where you actually go to get it fried up already! Hum………
    But ya’ll do LOOK good, as does the rest of the food you captured on the digital!

  64. Love the pictures, Sophie, and your hair looks great. ;-)

    I hesitated to point this out and skimmed through the comments to see if anybody else caught it, but — catfish don’t have scales, Sophie. They have skin and have to be skinned.

    They may be ugly, but they sure do taste good!



  65. I’m loving all of these pictures lately. Well, except for the food. My gallbladder doesn’t like me these days and that catfish photo made me cringe. I just got back from my parents’ house who live close to KY lake and had to skip the catfish this trip. Bummer!

    Alex is too cute!

  66. honey, your hair looks Fab-U-LUS!!!
    and those hush puppies sure were purdie!

  67. Clearly, you are raising that boy right.

    And your hair looks great! Love the color.

  68. I’m jealous of the hair and the fried fish!

  69. Loved the photos.

  70. I have never heard of a fish camp or eaten catfish fried or otherwise but you all are so cute. And your hair is cute,too!

  71. Sophie,
    You are absolutely beautiful! I loved the picture of you and alex. It made me smile to put your face to your awesome blog!
    Thankyou for sharing it!!

  72. Every time we go back to YOUR (and MY HUSBAND’S) home town, we go to the fish camp. It does seem to take forever to get there. My son(4) also had his inaugural trip this summer (actually, he had been there once before, but he was a baby and didn’t get to enjoy all the fried goodness and cement block walls). That was July, and he STILL talks about the fish camp. He didn’t even like fried catfish until he had it at the fish camp. I think the atmosphere contributes to the flavor, because I’m not a big fish eater (I don’t really like small fish, either) but I like the fish camp’s. I think it’s the tea.