“Even a Grennel” By Doug Fincher

June 12, 2017 - When my brothers and I were growing up in Center, Texas, we fished in any and every body of water that had fish in them.  And we ate what we caught. But there was one fish that we only reluctantly ate.  It was the grennel (A.K.A. Grindle, Dogfish, Grinnel, Cypress Trout, Mud Fish). Many of the old timers around Center called them “Cypress Bass”.

Daddy told us there was only two ways to eat a grinnel.  (1. Fry and eat them while they’re hot. “If you don’t eat them while they’re hot, it like chewing a ball of cotton”, he’d say. (2. Wrap them in a cow paddie, add salt and pepper and bake them at 350 degrees until they’re well- done.  “Then eat the cow paddie and throw the grennel away”, he laughed. “

We boys learned early how quickly these fish could wreck a fishing rig.  For that reason, I always strapped my .22 Colt Revolver around my waist and shot the fish before trying to land it.  

When I became pastor of The First Baptist Church of Mauriceville, Texas, the deacons showed me all the area ponds.   Deacon Joe Daily told me about one old pond back in the woods near Deweyville, Texas that was “plum full of fish”. I finally found it and it was full of fish… especially grennel”. I had just returned from this pond when I had my picture taken in front of my 1965 Comet Station Wagon. My young daughter Caralee seemed very impressed by the handsome grennel I’d caught.

Some believe a world meltdown is coming soon.  They say we might have to learn to eat squirrels, possums, raccoons, armadillos and everything that swims in the water.  I won’t have to learn. I already know how.  So when the hard times come, I’m ready to face it …and I’ll be willing to eat grinnel, too….
…..as long as it’s not baked.