Sunday, August 18, 2013

FISHING WITH TUT


READY TO GO FISHING
A FUN FILLED TRIP FISHING WITH TUT
I AM READY TO 

GO FISHING 

PAW-PAW







The first photo is of my great grandson, Caden, standing in my Tracker bass rig.  The boat has been in storage for four years and I had given up ever returning to fishing as one of my favorite pastimes.  With the prompting of Caden and his father, I decided to get the boat out of storage and give the young man the same opportunities I had as I was growing up.

The second photo is myself and my brother, Richard, on a fishing trip with our grandfather "Tut".  I have so many great memories of Tut and the fishing trips he took us on.  People said he had the patience of Job and I can certainly go along with that.  He was one of those fisherman that could stay on the water all day if the fish were biting or not.  But, when he had his grandchildren along on the fishing trip he would always have time to bait our hooks and show us just where to drop the line in to catch a good one. He had the uncanny ability to find fish no matter how bad the weather or water conditions were and he taught me many of the secrets that I used as I continued to love fishing as I grew to be an adult.

It was an exciting day for us when he took us on a fishing trip.  We would rise very early in the morning, hook up the boat to the car, load all of the fishing gear in the car, and head out for DarBonne, Corney Creek, Corney Lake or on a special trip, Alabama Landing.  On the way, we would always stop by the icehouse to pick up some ice for our drinks and to keep the fish cold because we knew it would be a hot day on the lake.  Tut did not have a fancy fishing rig but took his aluminum boat or rented one if he needed an outboard motor.  In 1955, he bought a 5-1/2 horsepower Johnson outboard motor and we thought we were in high cotton.  On many trips, the only means of moving the boat was wooden paddles.  I can still remember him sitting in the front of the boat and using a short paddle to scull the boat and put us in just the right position to get our bait into the right place to catch a “big one.”

Once we had reached the halfway point, Tut would turn the boat around and we would began to make our way back to the landing, fishing all of the way.  After a hard day of fishing, we would load everything back in the car and head back home.  However, the day was not over.  When we got home we had to clean all of the fish that we caught.  Later when we set down to a supper of fried fish that our grandmother “Dell” had cooked we knew it was all worthwhile.  The photo below shows the results of a typical day spent fishing with Tut.


A SUCCESSFUL FISHING TRIP
 Hopefully, I will be able to share these same type of times with my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and leave memories with them of some of "the way things were."


Monday, August 12, 2013

WATERMELON FARMING STORIES - PART 2

HEADING IN FROM THE WATERMELON PATCH


Many of my memories of the watermelon farming years are dim since I was in my early teens during that time.  Even though I was not old enough to take part in the plowing of the field and planting of the watermelon crop, I certainly remember some of the jobs that my father gave me when the watermelon vines were up and growing.

One of the first jobs once the watermelon plants had broken through the surface of the soil was to “chop” the watermelons.  This involved using a hoe and removing the weeds as they came up between and around the young watermelon plants.  Because of my age, I did not take part in this task, probably because I would have “chopped” as many small watermelon plants as weeds.

Once the watermelon plants were larger and the vines were running in all directions, it was necessary to “turn the watermelon vines”.  Since the watermelon vines would run in all directions, it was necessary to move the vines so they ran along the rows.  This would allow room for the tractor and disc between the rows to turn the soil to help control the weeds and soil moisture.  My father would take my brother and myself out to the watermelon field near the house, show us how to “turn the vines” and the leave us in the hot sunshine to complete the awesome task.  I can remember that there seemed to be no end to the rows and then when you had completed one row there was always another long row waiting.

An unusual task called “painting the watermelons” was necessary one year when the weather was so hot and dry.   There was so much heat and sun that year that the top of our Black Diamond melons was being sunburned and turning yellow before they were ripe.  This gave a bad appearance to the melons and this sunburned area tended to get soft and rotten before the melons were ready for harvest.  To prevent the melons from becoming sunburned, my father came up with a unique plan.  He mixed up some whitewash paint and we painted the top of the melons white to prevent them from becoming sunburned.  We could easily rub off this nontoxic paint with our hands when harvesting the melons.  I can only imagine what this unusual sight of people painting the tops of watermelons presented to people driving by our watermelon patches.

There are many stories to tell of harvesting the watermelon crop, but I will leave these to another blog post.

To be continued……

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

MEMORIES FROM COLVIN AND JONES GENERAL STORE

The above picture is a scan of an original oil painting that my wife presented to me in 1982.  The painting was done by Mildred Barr Smith from an old photograph that we had of the store.  The date of the photograph would probably be between 1960 and 1970 before Highway 167 was widened and the store was moved back with the front section removed.  As I look at the painting, memories come back to me of the many wonderful hours of my life that occurred at the store.  There is something about an oil painting that seems to capture the reality of how things were in those days.  Something in the warmth of the painting brings forth feelings and emotions that cannot be captured with a photograph.  The following are some of the things that I see in the picture that bring back memories to me.

The black pick-up truck parked beside the store that "Nubbin" the handyman around the store drove back and forth to work everyday.  The black sealer on the store roof that was used to seal the many holes in the tin roof.  For many years, when it rained, we had to place buckets in the side store room to keep the leaking water from the roof from ruining our stock of animal feed.  The benches and the coke box on the front porch of the store.  Even though they are not exactly correct and in the right positions, they still bring back memories of listening to the old men that would gather there and play cards and talk.  The gas pumps are a truth depiction of the original pumps that were at the store in the days when we sold Mobil gasoline.  The fifty-five gallon drum to the right of the gas pumps was for kerosene, a very necessary item for a time when everyone did not have electricity at home.

Most of all, when I look at this picture of the store, I remember what a welcome sight it was for Esther and I when we would come back to visit our family after we moved away from home.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

AN UNUSUAL LIVE FISH BAIT


A
FORGOTTEN
FISH
BAIT

Last week we were playing with the grand children in our back yard and noticed some wasps flying around one of our bushes.  On closer inspection I found a small wasp nest and with a quick spray of wasp and hornet spray had the situation under control.  I retrieved the nest and as I was explaining  how the nest was constructed and the larva inside the nest were actually baby wasp, my mind went back to many times that I went fishing with my grandfather "Tut".

One of my grandfather's favorite bream fish bait was the small larva from wasp nests.  This was an exceptional bait when the Ouachita River was out of its banks and the pecan tree worms would begin to fall into the flood waters.  Baiting your hook with one of these tender morsels would guarantee that the float would go under immediately and you would have a hand sized bream on your line.

Now, gathering and using this type bait was quite a challenge, especially for a youngster like me.  The day before we were to go fishing or sometimes on the way fishing, my grandfather would locate a large wasp nest and knock the nest down.  This was known as "robbing the wasp nest" and I am not sure how he accomplished this without getting stung many times.  He would then put the nest into a large paper bag and tie the top closed.  Sometimes in the car on the way to the fishing spot the wasp would hatch out and you could hear them flying around in the bag.  Once at the river we would load all of our gear, including the wasp nest bag, into the boat and head out for a day of fishing.  When we needed some bait for our hook we would open the bag and reach in and get one of the wasp larva from a compartment in the nest.  This was done as wasps were flying out of the bag, and was a very uncomfortable situation for me but I never remember anyone getting stung.  Who knows, maybe the wasps could not sting so soon after they hatched out of the nest.

This is what country memories are made of.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

WATERMELON FARMING STORIES - PART 1

I LOVE WATERMELONS!



This is the beginning of a series of stories about the venture into raising watermelons for the wholesale market by the Colvin and Jones families of Unionville, Louisiana.  I was between ten and fifteen years old when my father and grandfather tried their hand at raising watermelons as a farm crop.  There are many memories of the successes and struggles that my families encountered as they strived to make a living from the fertile farmland of North Louisiana.

Let us begin with some history of the events leading up to our family living in Unionville.  My father was raised in Junction City, Arkansas and my mother was raised in Unionville, Louisiana.  Shortly after graduation from college, they married and set up household in Linville, Louisiana.  My father took the position of Principal/Coach of Linville School and my mother, who had been a school teacher for several years in Homer, Louisiana retired from teaching.

During the next few years three children were born into this family;  myself, my brother Richard and sister Penelope.  Sometimes in life, events happen that change the course of the remainder of the life of a family.  During the summer of 1949, I came down with the dreaded disease of polio and had to spend three months in the Charity Hospital in New Orleans.  My father resigned as Principal of Linville School and moved to New Orleans to be near me while my mother and siblings moved to Unionville to live with her parents.  After I was discharged from the hospital, my father resigned from his position at Linville school and we joined the rest of our family at Unionville.  Once settled in Unionville my father went into partnership with my grandfather in his grocery store/gas station.

My grandfather had been operating the store for years and also had a successful small farming operation raising cotton, corn and watermelons.  With the increase in the number of people that the store had to support, it was necessary to expand the farming operation to raise the needed income.  During that era, watermelons were a money making crop, so my father decided to try his hand at raising watermelons on a larger scale.

To be continued……..

Monday, June 17, 2013

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY



















The post for today is a memorial for my father, James Garland Jones, Sr.  My father was born in 1911 in Junction City, Louisiana and passed away in 1974 at our family store in Unionville, Louisiana.  The picture on the left is me and my father on the front porch of my Jones grandparent's house in Junction City and the one on the right is my father and sister in the store in Unionville, Louisiana.

I am thankful for a caring father that loved his family and worked hard all of his life to provide for them.  He worked hard to make the store a success, but always had time for his family.  Because of his efforts he provided the beliefs and foundation that have enabled me and my siblings to have a successful life and families of our own that we can love just as he did.  God bless you Daddy.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

FARM TRACTORS

 A Tractor for Caden
These pictures are of me and my father on the old farm tractor that he and my grandfather used for farming.  When I look at these pictures it brings back memories for my early childhood of seeing the tractor being used to plow the fields.  The engine of the tractor made a distinct powerful sound as it pulled the plows that prepared the soil for the planting of the next crops.  As the disc plow began to break the fertile ground you could begin to smell the pungent aroma  of the rich earth. Farming in those days was a profitable occupation and my father and grandfather had many years of abundant crops of cotton, corn, purple hull peas, cantaloupes, and watermelons.


I seem to be having a great time being on the tractor with my father and pretending to drive it by myself.  I have heard that we inherit genes from our ancestors that gives us likes and dislikes in our lives.  I think that my great grandson, Caden surely inherited this gene that gave him a fondness for tractors. The next two pictures show him with me and with my son, his grandfather, on my lawn tractor.  Every time he comes over to our house the first thing that he wants to do is to go sit on the tractor and pretend that he is driving it.



For Caden's second birthday we found this tractor and knew that it was the perfect birthday present.  As you can see from the  picture, he certainly enjoys "my tractor" when he comes to visit us.

These are the memories that we make that make life enjoyable.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

UNIONVILLE ALLIGATOR

THE UNIONVILLE ALLIGATOR
I have been relaxing and watching Lake Placid on the Sci-Fi channel this lazy Saturday afternoon.  Watching the giant crocodiles on this movie reminded me of the Unionville alligator.  It was a warm summer afternoon when someone stopped by the store and said that they had seen an alligator crossing the road and headed for Rome's Pond.  This was a small pond behind the home of Rome and Rosa Colvin's home where I spent many hours fishing for bream and bass.

It took me very little time to load my 22 automatic rifle and head out to the pond with many of the other citizens of Unionville.  When I arrived at Rome and Rosa's house the yard was full of vehicles.  It seemed that most of Unionville had heard about the alligator and had come to take a part in the hunt.  When I got down to the pond, I found that the alligator had been shot several times and was in shallow water at the upper end of the pond.  One of the brave hunters, S J Barmore, decided he would venture into the water, grab the alligator by the tail and drag him to dry land.  When he grabbed the alligator's tail the gator swung his head around and barely missed catching S J between his mighty jaws.  Someone then got a rope and was able to lasso the alligator's tail and along with several other people was able to drag him out of the water onto dry land.  We then shot him in the head several times, loaded him into the back of a pick-up and took him to the store to display for the community.

As you can see from the picture above the alligator was large, about five feet long.  This was one of the biggest events that ever happened in the small community of Unionville, and I never felt comfortable fishing on Rome's pond after the great alligator hunt.