Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Finding treasure and SongS of the Week

We’ve been doing some spring cleaning in preparation for West’s arrival and I found my old box of cassette tapes. Fortunately for me, in November 1995 this box was in my car and was one of the few things I owned that didn’t burn up in the Johnson Hall blaze. I put the box in my pick-up and listening through them all has brought back a lot of memeories.

Since I’ve missed a couple of weeks updating the song of the week, I’d like to make up for it today by posting a few of the highlights that I've found in the box.

Sheila, the Leroy van Dyke tape is yours, and you can have it back if you want it.

Brant, Steal Away is for you. Sorry this clip isn't Meistersingers 1995, but it was the best I could find.

My folks took me to see Alabama in Portales, NM when “Dixieland Delight” was one of their most recent hits. It’s still my favorite song of theirs. It was my first concert. I don’t remember much of it, but thanks for taking me, Mom and Dad.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Jerry Clower, listen to this story, and I’ll bet you that sometime in the next few months you will here somebody say, “Knock him out, John!” and now you’ll know where it comes from.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Overdue Vacation Post

Vacation was good.
When Jones got home from school on Tuesday, she, Georgia, and I left for the lake to set up our camp. They did a great job unloading, helping with the tent, and gathering wood. My friend Chris and his son, Zeke, came out that evening and shared fire roasted hotdogs and marshmallows with us.

The overnight lows last week were in the low 40’s, and between the cold and knowing that they would miss their mama, I was a little anxious about how the girls would do at bedtime, but they both did great. They were exhausted and slept all night. The next morning we had a breakfast of bacon and pancakes before heading out in the boat to catch shad and set our jug lines. The first and only tears of the trip were shed by Georgia late that morning on the boat ride back to camp as the wind picked up and clouds filled the sky. She was exhausted, cold, and a little wet, but after we got back to camp and the sun came back out she was fine.
 Jones and Georgia sleeping in the tent.
Jones on the stumps

Georgia and Annie on the stumps
Leslie and Annie came out for lunch and Georgia went home with them that afternoon and Jones decided that she wanted to stay another night. We spent the afternoon fishing, cleaning up around camp, and gathering wood. Leslie and the other girls returned that evening for supper. After they left Jones and I ran our jugs one more time and caught several more fish and returned to camp to clean the days catch including the big one pictured here whose trophy head now hangs on our back fence.

Since we were pretty stinky by this time, Jones decided that we should go up the hill to the shower house. We had walked up there earlier in the day, but it was a little different going at night. The cement floor with bugs and spiders in the corners was different than her bathtub full of rubber ducks and swimming Barbies at home, but she toughed it out and showered while I went to the men’s side and did the same.
Jones had school the next morning, so we loaded up went home for breakfast and then I took her to school, before returning to camp.
Nathan wasn’t supposed to arrive until late that night, but was able to get away from work a little early and arrived in time for supper and to take some pictures of the biggest catch of the trip.

Brant arrived the next morning while Nathan and I were out fishing. It was the first time all three of us had been together in a lot of years.

Leslie called that afternoon with some bad news. She had gone outside and found my dog, Willie, bleeding on the porch. Last year he had developed some tumors that the vet said were just fatty deposits that old dogs get. One of them had been growing steadily over last six month and had ruptured that morning. Nathan drove me into town.
Willie had lost a lot of blood and Leslie hadn’t been able to get him to get up from where he was laying. Knowing that this day would be coming soon, I had dug a grave for him a couple of months ago. After the girls had all had a chance to say their goodbyes Nathan put him down for me and helped me bury him. I’m so thankful that Nathan was here to help me bear the burdens of that day.
Nathan and I with Willie as a puppy many moons ago.

We returned to the lake that evening and had a supper of chicken, beans, and potatoes and sat around the campfire toasting Willie catching up with each other’s lives.

The next morning was filled with fishing adventure including a check by the game wardens and meeting a snake that had to be killed twice. 

Dad arrived late that morning and stayed through our lunch of fried fish, potatoes, and onions. We fished throughout the afternoon until Brant had to leave.

The fishing sort of gave out after Brant left. We didn’t catch a single fish on our final run of the jugs that evening. Nathan and I cleaned our fish, loaded the boat, and began making preparations for our departure the next morning.

We arrived at the house to eat bacon and pancakes before Nathan had to hit the road. It was good to be in church that morning, exhausted and thankful to God for His creation, a good wife and good daughters, a good dog, good times, and good friends with whom to share it all.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Fun girls and fun toes! Georgia was a bit more creative with her green clothing today. There is the green frog on her shirt and green leaves in her skirt. Jonesy's shirt is green with gold stars and pants are green shamrocks with pick. Her skirt is multi-plaid and the socks are blue. Annie has a green turtle shirt on with pink socks. Happy Wednesday.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Tutu's galore

Annie has 6 friends whose birthdays fall between Feb. 28 and Mar. 14 and 5 of those girls are turning 2. Instead of us all attending each others parties and buying gifts, we decided to have a gymnastics tutu party. All seven birthday girls wore a tutu.

There was crawling and jumping.

We had chicken nuggets, apples, cheese, bananas and grapes. Annie loves her grapes. Madalyn kept trying to get grapes off Annie's plate. Annie kept pushing Madalyn's hand away and showing her that she had cheese and to leave her grapes alone.
And then there were the cupcakes. Annie blew out her own candle! She tried to help Madalyn with her candle too. The icing was finger licking good!

Jones, Georgia and Mimi came to the party too.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Annie's Shotgun Birthday Party

Annie turned two on Sunday, Feb. 28. After breakfast the girls and I baked Annie's cake. Justin and I had planned a fish fry at the lake on Saturday afternoon but cancelled it because Justin was still in Ft. Worth Saturday mid morning. We then decided that lunch after church would be her fish fry and party. THEN, Justin arrived into Temple around 4pm and it looked like he might get back out on a train Sunday morning. So, we called everyone back and told them we were having the party today at 5pm at the park instead of the lake. The girls and I rushed around getting everything together and then we finished Annie's cake. We ended up having the best time!

We want to send out a thanks to Jazbo Brown, Irv and LouAnn White, The Northrup Family, The Meyer Family and The Todd Cunningham Family for coming out on such short notice to love on our Annie.
Thanks to Mimi Brown, Gran-nola and Papa Crawford, Grandpa and Grandma Hilton, Mrs. LoSharris Cunningham and Dawn and Dylan for sending your love through cards and gifts.
We are so fortunate to have so many who love our family. Thank you.

Happy Birthday Annie Banannie! We love you!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Good Times

I have a week of vacation next week. I’m going to take Jones and Georgia camping one night and then Nathan is coming down to spend a few days camping and fishing with me. Preparing for this upcoming adventure has been reminding me of some of my fondest memories of growing up.
My dad’s side of the family has always enjoyed camping and fishing, and when I was 9 or 10 years old we started a tradition of spending the last week of June at the lake, usually Lake Amistad, on the Texas-Mexican border. My granddaddy, dad and I, my uncles and cousins would spend a week in the Texas heat with no air conditioning, trotlining for catfish and making memories.

I remember seeing my granddaddy’s pick-up pulling into the campground loaded down with all of his gear, a 14 ft Lonestar Boat tied to the top, and pulling his camping trailer.
I remember my dad hauling his 2-man buster boat and our other camping gear in the horse trailer one year.
I remember the year Dad got a boat from my great-grandparents (it’s now my boat, the Versie P) and how fast I thought it was with that 20 horse power Johnson that could outrun my granddaddy’s 12 horse Sea King.
I remember the year I got my first kayak and set and ran my own trotlines.
I remember seining for perch to use on our yellow cat lines.
I remember granddaddy whopping needle nose gar with the boat paddle until the beaks broke and they came off the line. You don’t want one of those things in the boat with you. We never kept carp or drum either, but I remember granddaddy offering them to any black folks that were around because, “They like to eat ‘em.” I still do the same thing, and they are usually accepted with gratitude.
We kept all of our fish in a 3 ft cube steel cage that my granddaddy had built. That way we only had to clean fish a couple of times, once during the week and once just before we went home. Granddaddy was the fastest. He could clean three or four in the time it took me to do one.

I even remember what we ate. My grandmother would send a big batch of Wheatie cookies in a big tin. They would be gone before the week was out. I remember steak night, hamburger night, and fish fry night. I remember the smell of percolated coffee in the mornings with scrambled eggs that were too runny for my taste and biscuits that were burnt on the bottoms and barely done on the tops. My theory is that granddaddy wouldn’t let the his propane oven pre-heat before he put the biscuits in so all of the heat was on the bottom side while the pan blocked the heat from radiating up to the top of the oven. Lunches were leftovers from the night before or sandwiches. Have you ever had a potted meat sandwich?

I remember the windshield I busted out of a ski boat that was parked too close to where my cousin and I were skipping rocks.
I remember some days wishing for a breeze to alleviate some of the heat and other days cursing the wind for making the lake too rough.
Man, was it hot. I remember going into Del Rio on hot afternoons for a chance to “ride in the cool”.
Before bedtime we’d all get our soap and towels and head down to the water for our bath. It was for cooling off purposes more than it was to wash the Catfish Charlie Blood Bait B smell off of our hands. No matter how hard you scrub, that smell doesn’t wash off. It has to wear off.
I remember going to sleep listening to my dad, granddaddy, and uncles talking and telling “Remember that time…” stories.
I remember the summer after my freshman year of college as the first year that I didn’t get to make the trip because I spent the summer working at Pine Springs and the regret I felt about not being there.
I remember when Bro. John started coming along a few years later, and the first time we had females in the camp when mom and Sheila came over for fish fry night at Lake Ivie one year.

The last Last Week of June trip I made was the week before I got married in 2003. I catfish with jugs instead of trotlines these days. I use a throw net instead of a seine to catch bait, and when I can catch it I use shad for bait instead of Catfish Charlie. I clean fish with an electric filet knife instead of a pocket knife and skinning pliers.
But some things remain the same. I’m still camping and fishing. The Versie P is still in the family and still catches fish, I still whop gar with the boat paddle, and I even bought some potted meat the other day.

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