I have a plant by my desk in my office that is 19 years old. I know
that for a fact because the people with whom I work gave it to me
when my father died in 1986. The plan reminds me of him each day.
He was a quite, unassuming man who worked hard at a thankless job
and took pleasure in the simple things in life....hunting, fishing,
and spending time at the little cabin on the Warrior River that
he build when I was young. We had great times at the river. We spent
almost every weekend there in the summer. Several people from our
community had places together and it was like a party every Friday
and Saturday night.
It was there on the river that I learned to fly fish for brim and
crappy, to bait a trot line, to water ski, and captain a boat. Every
time I went out on the river in the boat with my dad, he would always
let me drive. I love the sounds, the smells and the sights of the
| It contributed a lot of joy
to my young life.
When Jilda asked me this morning what my fondest memory of my dad
was, my mind immediately went to the time we spent together on the
river. There was one time in particular we were headed down river
to do some late evening fishing and I was driving the boat as usual.
It was a "V" bottom boat with a Super 10 Evinrude motor.
Now 10 horse power doesn't sound like much these days, but that little
sucker would fly. We were headed down river at warp speed, dad was
in the front watching for logs and I was driving. About a mile from
the cabin, he spotted a snake swimming across the river in front of
us and we were past it before I knew what was happening. It looked
like a rattlesnake (yes they can swim) and dad wanted to get a better
look so he hollered for me to turn around. I know his expectation
was for me to let off the gas, slow down and slowly turn the boat
around...but at 10 years old and seeing that big ol' snake, and hearing
dad say turn around, I had a brain drain moment so I pushed the steering
lever hard to the right at full speed and that boat turned around
waaaaay too fast. The top edge of the boat was at water level. Dad,
who had been standing at the time, was now in the river with the rattler.
I freaked, but thankfully I let off the gas. I grabbed the paddle
in case I had to smack the snake, but it was as afraid of us as I
was of him. I pulled the boat up next to my dad and I expected to
get blessed out, but when he got back on the boat, all he could do
is laugh. He said "damn that water felt good." Then I began
to laugh and we cruised slowly back to the boat dock for a change
of dry clothes.
I miss my dad. If your dad is still living, never miss an opportunity
to tell him you love him.
When I was a kid living in
Sloss Hollow (we pronounced it holler) we looked forward to this
time of year. Yes being out of school was a BIG factor, but we also
had kinfolks from up in Indiana and they would always come to visit
in the summer. I'm not talking about a long weekend, but they'd
bring the kids, grandma, grandpa, the dogs and cats and they'd come
for a real visit.
It seems that almost every home in West Pratt would have these summertime
guests and the population would double for a few months before people
started heading back "up north".
Now it might just be me, but those kids from "up north"
seemed to be really gullible. I mean you could tell them anything
and they'd fall for it. My buddy Joe and I painted dried sweet gum
balls purple and we told the kid across the road that if he planted
those "up north" that it would grow a purple tree. He
packed every one we painted in his suitcase. Joe looked at me as
the kid walked away and said "dang, I bet he would have paid
for them thangs." We got creative when it came to things like
the size and behavior of snakes, spiders, and bats. Before these
kids escaped back "up north" they were so paranoid that
the least little thing like brushing a twig against their neck or
the sound of a ground squirrel in the leaves would send their hearts
pounding and they would twitch and squirm for hours. We had a lot
of fun at their expense.
No summer was complete until we took some unsuspecting soul snipe
hunting. I know most of you over the age of 30 have heard of this
activity. You get some unsuspecting sucker from "up north"
and you convince them to accompany you....at night....to go into
the woods and hunt snipe.
you got them into the woods you would say "now you hold this
toe sack and be real quite. Me and the guys will sneak up the holler
there and run them snipe right down this gully and you snag 'em
with this sack. We can sell them snipe to a guy in Dora for $15
a piece." Of course, the guys and me ran as fast as we could
back to civilization and left the poor bag man to fend for himself.
Often times it took hours for them to find their way back home in
the dark. We all had to steer clear of the bag man for a few days
because they sometimes took a dim view of our frivolity.
| When all was said
and done we all had a great time. I talk to my old friends every now
and then and they remember those days fondly.
The summer solstice is this coming week so get out and do something
fun....and if you can play a trick on someone from "up north"
that would be even better.
Here's An Oldie But a Goody
Jerry Grammer dug out an old photo from the archives. This picture
was taking in 1932 and you'll recognize some of the names.
Back row from left to right, Acie Grammer, Barney (Google)Hardin,
Fred Dodd, Howard Dodd.
Front row from left to right, Jessie Knott, Carl Baird, A.J. Grammer,
and Julius Dodd, Apparently they were pickin' and a grinning. Thanks
for sharing Jerry.