Sunday, August 18, 2013





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.

 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



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


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.