So we are never sure if the alligators are just lying in wait to eat us- we air on the side of caution, even thou we dive into the river one afternoon, so thickly covered with suntan lotion and sweat- 5 mins later- a large boy comes slinking thru the mud, perfectly blending in, at the exact spot that we were swimming- the kids freaked- cause dad said he thought it was safe to swim- clear water- no gators around. I asked when he became the group gator expert. so- when we finish the whole trail, we hear this story of a True Value local owner whose 90+ yr old mother is hanging in her front lawn, where it slopes down to the canal- 40+ yrs she’s lived there w/o incident. This gator decides he wants her leg and HER! and chomps down and holds her there- she hangs onto a tree for dear life- I wonder if she thought it was really her time to go- and what that death would feel like- but she does not give in! Hangs on until a man drives by, sees her, happens to have a gun (maybe all of the locals do?) and shoots the gator. She had to have her leg amputated but she is doing fine, ready to live another decade. And watch out gators, she’ll give the next one a swift kick with her new prosthesis! They are made out of something different down there in the swamps of Florida- the locals, the ones who have been there for generations, whose relatives guided the plume hunters and built tiny houses atop midden (shell) mounds made by the ancient Indians. This “young” lady can teach us something about the zest for life.