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Father's Day 2005
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 river.

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.

Once 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


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