Jubilee! The origin of that word goes back to Biblical times referring to the emancipation of Hebrew slaves. “It must be now that Kingdom’s coming in the Year of Jubilo,” sang slaves in North America in the 1860s anticipating the end result of the Civil War.
But around Mobile Bay, Alabama, the word “Jubilee” conjures up one image – seafood on the beach. Well, not seafood – yet. Fish and water-life soon to be transformed into dinner that have literally left their underwater home and swam or crawled onto the bay’s Eastern Shore, waiting to be scooped up.
Nobody can predict it
This phenomenon is caused by an unpredictable oxygen imbalance that forces the fish to go to the surface to breathe. That’s the scientific explanation. Some say it’s a miracle or just plain providence that gives the people of Baldwin County this accessible abundance of fresh goodies for the taking. Emancipation for the fish, opportunity for good eatin’ for the inhabitants of the Eastern Shore. For the recent inhabitants of the Bay itself, it’s kind of an “out of the water and into the frying pan” experience.
Grab yo’ bucket and light!
When I lived in Mobile, a friend from the Eastern Shore (which includes Spanish Fort, Daphne, Fairhope, Point Clear and other communities) told me that he kept a pair of pants on his bedpost during the summer so he could jump into them and run out to the beach with his bucket when someone outside yelled, “Jubilee!”
He called those pants his “Jubilee Britches.” Now there’s a song title and story waiting to be written. So I wrote it – I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as the people on Mobile Bay have enjoyed many a jubilee.Jubilee Britches Words and music by Les Kerr Copyright 1997 Publisher: O.N.U. Music (ASCAP) Put on your Jubilee Britches; grab your bucket and light All God’s little fishes swam up on the beach tonight They came without a warning – why, no one can say At two o’clock this morning down on Mobile Bay Put on your Jubilee Britches. Wake your sleepy head We got to scoop up the shrimp and fishes; ‘fore too long, they’ll be dead Some people don’t believe it. They say, “It’s just too odd.” But if you’ve ever seen it, you know it’s an act of God Put on your Jubilee Britches, that miracle is here There’s fresh fish on the beaches from Fairhope to Point Clear Nobody can predict it or say why you can see Mother Nature contradicted with a real live Jubilee! Put on your Jubilee Britches; grab your bucket and light All God’s little fishes walked in on the water tonight All the friends and neighbors and all the next of kin They’re out there talkin’ about the flavors as they just haul ‘em in Put on your Jubilee Britches; grab your bucket and light All God’s little fishes walked in on the water tonight We’ gonna cook ‘em up just right We’re gonna eat well tomorrow night Put on your Jubilee Britches
Text copyright 2012 Les Kerr. Learn More about Les at www.leskerr.com