At a time of the year when news is typically hard to come by, Shammy the Alligator has come to the rescue. Shammy is the result of a reported alligator in Lake Shamrock. Two youngsters had reported seeing the guesstimated 2.5 foot gator while boating. After hours of searching the lake last week, police found nothing.
Finding nothing could lead one to a couple of conclusions. The alligator could still be lurking somewhere in the Clare lake. Or possibly the youngsters saw an object that resembled a gator- maybe a log. In Florida, by example, I lived on waters that were inhabited by alligators, but oftentimes we mis-identified logs for gators, or vice versa.
On the other hand, it’s quite possible, Shammy is real. Someone could have a pet gator and decided it was too much to handle so they let it go in the lake. I had a friend several years ago, that kept a pet gator in his bathtub. It grew to about three feet until he had to find another home for it. I don’t know what he did with it, but knowing him, he quite possibly dumped it in a local Michigan lake.
No matter, the alligator was the talk of the town. In an act of humor I named the gator Shammy (for Lake Shamrock) and others at this newspaper decided to put the amphibian up for adoption. We asked readers to call Dick Allen, local columnist and attorney. Allen has humorously written about alligators being found in Budd Lake in the past, and seemed to be the perfect expert to field calls on the local critters.
But others got in to the discussion as well. Cops and Doughnuts, the successful downtown bakery, posted the Shammy adoption ad on their website, which created a huge buzz. Others suggested we should post signs at the entrance of Clare proclaiming “Home of Shammy the Alligator.” And still others suggested that local restaurants should take advantage of the publicity and serve gator tail. I like the last suggestion- gator tail is great eating.
We even got a few calls at the office. Some went along with the tongue-in-cheek humor, but others were angry that we would find humor in a possible alligator sighting in a popular lake. I guess they felt we should be pushing law enforcement to look further for the critter. The fact that it might exist, actually frightened some people.
Well, after two weeks I’m afraid we need to chalk it up as a false alarm. Shammy has not been sighted again or caught. I’m sure there have been a lot of people looking, and alligators are not hard to find- particularly in hot, sunny weather.
It really made for a fun couple of weeks, but I’m afraid Shammy has found the way of Dick Allen’s fictitious alligators. So for readers that actually fear Shammy and her brothers and sisters, I’m declaring it safe to say that no gators exist in Lake Shamrock. Fear no longer- swim and boat as you like.