Yes, that’s Chevy Chase on the cover of Esquire 39 years ago – he’d just left “Saturday Night Live” to star in “Foul Play” with Goldie Hawn. On page 54 of that very same issue, Esquire’s “Grits” columnist Harry Crews gave readers a night-time tour of the Everglades in a column titled “Poaching Gators for Fun and Profit.” As was his role in the magazine, Harry explained the intricacies of another Grit pastime, one he’d learned in childhood:
“Being raised alongside the Okefenokee Swamp, I had early on developed a healthy respect for gators. When I was a boy I saw Willard Stucky and Leonard Miller – both of them in their early twenties and half-drunk at the time – go in a little pond with the intention of catching a gator that wasn’t even five feet long. God knows why they wanted to take him alive, but they did, so they backed the truck right up to the bank and went in the water. They did finally get him alive in the bed of the pickup, but not before he beat the clothes off them with his tail and chewed one of Willard’s hands until it was crooked forever. They skinned him out and I ate some of the tail, deep fried in a batter of egg and milk and cornmeal. It’s good firm meat and tastes something like frog legs or freshwater turtle.”
Mmmmmmm, deep-fried gator. Tastes like turtle.