The story comes down like this.
Along the eastern border of Ijams proper there's a "crick." Most folks call it Toll Crick. But how did it get that name?
AS legend tells it, the stream is under the control of a crick pirate named Crawdad Willie, who one day found himself literally up the crick without a paddle. Now, he guards it. It's his muddy, wet home. Blimey! And to insure safe passage up or down Willie's crick, you have to pay the toll.
The toll for Toll is not huge. All you have to do is show Crawdad Willie proper respect and ask him politely if you can explore his crick. "Proper manners," sez Willie, "It be O-key to drown a few ants in your neighbor's bucket, sendin' 'em to Davy Jones' Locker, they be scurvy critters. 'N ye can look for crawdaddies and little fishy folks, but ye kent snack 'em. They belong to me, they be me bilge mates."
Last week the camp kids — the second, third and fourth graders — attending the Monster! Monster! Nature Day Camp got to meet Willie to query him and ask for safe passage. And as the story goes, one first mate asked Willie why he wasn't on the high seas like the other pirates?
It's simple. You see, Willie be "afeared of the oshin," too many sharks and barracudii and electrified eels for him. Scary stuff out to sea, me bucko.
But Toll Creek be safe. Go explore 'er. Arrrr!
- Photos by Jill Sublett and Katie Plank.