Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Didn't Need "Sadie" this time!

A couple of days ago, I got up with pain all though my chest and shoulder areas. When I had my coffee, I could feel a burning sensation going across my chest. As the day went along, I decided that maybe I should get it checked out at the emergency room. I have had two heart attacks in the past...but this pain felt different. After a series of tests, everything was found to be normal. It was decided that I had strained some muscles in my chest. But when did I do it? Could it have been when I lifted a heavy battery out of the car? When I started taking down all the posts and wire cages in the garden and pulling up all the dead plants with deep roots and starting a burn pile? Could it have been moving dirt to fill in holes left in the yard from recent construction? Or, maybe it was the riding the tractor mower for three hours cutting the grass? Regardless, it wasn't a heart attack, which brings me to my story.

First, let my explain, I am a dog person....always have been....always will be and didn't like cats. I had never liked cats, even though my youngest daughter seem to always have them. To me, they were sneaky and not to be trusted. That was when a cat named "Sadie" came into my life.

Gay Nell and I were married in 2000, the same year that we both retired. I was a recent widower and she had been single for about seven years. She was a cat lover and when we started dating, she had three cats. When we decided to wed, we decided that one cat was enough.....that being Sadie, her favorite. I guess we were both spoiled to having our way and she was like a jealous child when it came to sharing her "mom" with me. I could not sat down without her attacking me and trying to claw me. Me, not being a cat person, didn't know that cats like to look outside.....she was always tearing up the blinds and hanging from the drapes. At this point, I declared that "this cat has got to go!" Gay Nell took her to the vets to board her until she could be adopted out. This put such a strain on our relationship, that I finally decided that I could adapt.

So, Sadie came home! The blinds were raised, the garage door was cracked, and the back door left ajar so she could come and go as she pleased. She was a hunter and one day she brought a large black bird into the house with a wing span that reached almost across the hall going into the bedroom. So we decided that we would monitor the back door and let her in and out. Since I got up early to smoke and have coffee, I would let her out in the early morning to hunt and I would smoke and have my coffee in the garage with the door up. Gay Nell was a late sleeper and never got up until around Nine O'clock.

On 9-11-2001, yes, the day of the Air attacks, I had gotten up around 5:00 a.m. to let Sadie out, have my cigarettes and coffee and set in the garage with the door open. While the coffee was brewing, I went out to have a smoke in the gargage. After the smoke, I went back to pour myself some coffee. I took one sip and started "Blacking out" and holding on to the bar. As I slid to the floor, Sadie came in the back door, ran past me down the hall to the bedroom where Gay Nell was sleeping. She jumped up into her face making a loud noise...Gay Nell was annoyed and got up to take her outside and followed her down the hall. When she got to the kitchen, she found me collapsed in the floor; 911 was called.

When the paramedics arrived, I was stablized and wheeled to the ambulance down the driveway. I remember looking to the left and seeing "Sadie" standing beside the drive looking at me with a concern look on her face. When I arrived at the emergency room I was diagnosed with major blockage and when the planes hit the "Twin Towers" in New York, I was having a heart attack. I was again stablized and later shipped to St Lukes Hospital in Houston. There, I was sent into surgery and a stent was inplanted.

That day changed a lot in my life, first and foremost, I became a cat lover and Sadie and I became best friends, Also, that was the last time I have ever smoked a cigarette.....we move to Arkansas the next year and Sadie, being a hunter, enjoyed digging up moles and trapping other small animals. She was ran over on "Mother Day" in 2003. My Friend ......."Rest in peace!"

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Gatlinburg, Tennessee! "Heart of the Smokey Mountains!"

The next morning we loaded up and headed to the smokies. We went through Knoxville, turned south toward Seymour and down to Maryville, then back to Pigeon Forge. There was a high mountain across to Gatlinburg and we wanted to experience the coolness of the mountain air. It was in the high Nineties when we start over and the cool air felt like walking into a "Air conditioned room." There were several pull-overs to give you a chance see the valleys below. You understand why it's called the smokies....the valley looked like it was filled with smoke.

When we got into Gatlinburg, since we had no reservations, we pulled into the first r.v. park we saw. They had a few vacancies, so the management took me on a tour in a golf cart to check them out. The whole park was in a real "hilly" area and the spots were hard to get into. We decided to try elsewhere and drove around. We saw this place that looked like an "Ole timey motor lodge", it had a drive down the side "R.V. Sites", so we turned in. In the rear of the main building was your dream sites of about 20 spots, easy in and out, shade, all hook-ups and a large swimming pool and a new bathhouse. Talk about Luck! We were about a mile from downtown and several stores and business' along the way.

We checked in, the prices were very reasonable, with plans to stay about three days. After our "Junk Food Fix" and a quick tour of downtown, the kids were really to get into the pool. That night, it was so cool and the air so fresh, that sleep was a pleasure after our trip. The next morning after breakfast, we headed into town to see the sights. The main attractions are along the main street with your usual shops. There were several craft shops, eating places, but the main attraction was the "ski lift" that provided rides up the mountain to the top. There was a lodge at the top with a restaurant and sovenir shop for the tourist. You could get to the top of the mountain by car, but the lift was an experience.

The next day, we decided to make the drive across Mt LeConte (elevation 6593 feet) through the Newfound Gap into North Carolina. We went over to the Cherokee Indian reservation and toured their village. The tours were very informative that explained their crafts and cultures. As usual, there are people in the tour that tried to be cute and asked a lot of insulting questions. Our tour guide was a young girl of college age that knew how to put them in their place. After a few more insults, the culprits were asked to leave. While we were there, it started to rain and the tour was cut short.

On the way back across the mountain to Gatlinburg, we came upon a large gathering of cars and people. We thought it was a accident of some kind and pulled over off the road and then discovered it was a Bear sighting. People were running up a hill to a cave, where a "mama bear" was with her cubs. Instead of keeping their distance, people were crowding close to get pictures. After a while, the Mama had enough of this and starting charging toward the crowd, which sent everyone running to their cars. After getting back on the road, we starting smelling something and discovered that someone had stepped in some bear poop.

We left the next morning for the drive back home, going through Knoxville and Nashville before stopping at my brother's home in Jackson for a break before making the final two hour trip home.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Road to the Smokies: 1st stop, Nashville, Tennessee!

That Monday morning, we loaded up to start for the Smokies. Our first stop was to be Nashville, Tn. We arrived in the early afternoon and found a r.v. parking area not too far from Opryland Amusement Park and not very far from the Hermitage (Andrews Jackson's Mansion and Estate). After getting everything set up, we went out to eat and look the area over. We went down to the Opry House, where the Grand Ole Opry still performed. We went down "Music Row", checking out a few shops and buying souvenirs and sight seeing. We returned to the park and made use of the swimming pool, bathhouse and showers.

We were parked beside a older couple that was retired and from Gulfport, Mississippi. They had been traveling for a while and told a lot of interesting stories of their happenings. About two years before that, Hurricane Carla had hit Gulfport, Biloxi, and Mobile, Alabama, leaving a lot of destruction in its path. Their daughter was a T.V. reporter and had to stay at the station for days, so they loaded up the grandchildren and headed north to Jackson, Mississippi. Her husband was in the Military and was stationed elsewhere. They were very interesting people.

The next morning, we went to Opryland Amusement Park that was open at that time. The new Opry House was being built, but not yet open. The park had carnival type rides and attractions along with musicians staged all over the park putting on shows by the hour. We ate lunch there and in mid afternoon, returned to the r.v. park. The next morning, we went to the Hermitage, and found it to be very interesting. If you are a History Buff, this is a "Do Not Miss."
But it is like anything else, once you have seen it, no reason to go back. The next morning we loaded up, said our good byes to the nice couple and headed for the Smokies.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Our First Travel Trailer!

It was in the early 70's when we purchased a travel trailer, in which, to do our camping. A friend of mine had found a little plant in Mississippi that was just starting up and was offering great bargains on small units. He had purchased one and after looking at his, We decided to go over to the plant one Sunday afternoon and see what they had. The plant was located in Bruce, Mississippi about a two hour drive from where we lived.

When we arrived at the plant, they had a large sales lot with several units that had been sold and was waiting for the owners to pick them up. We went inside the plant where they had several units being assembled in various stages, which allowed you to see the type of workmanship you were buying. After a short tour of the plant, we met in the sales office. (The name of the trailers were called "Happy Times" and there are still a few around, but they are very rare.) The trailers were six sleepers and offered a bathroom. We decided to forego the bathroom and instead have a large closet and storage room.

After the plans were decided on, we agreed to pick up the new unit the following Saturday with a cashier's check. We were so excited and thought the next week would never end, but it finally arrived. After taking delivery, we tolled it home without any was a dream to pull. In order to try it out, we took a short trip to the Narrows on Greers Ferry Lake. I didn't hook up the electric brakes, didn't think we would need them, but after a few steep hills, decided that I would hook them up before going to the Smokie Mountains.

The next week, I had a sign painter friend paint a large "Razorback Hog" across the back of the trailer with "Hog Heaven" below it. We were big fans and had just played Tennessee in the "Liberty Bowl" in Memphis and had lost by one point on a disputed play. We were going through Knoxville and wanted everyone to know where we were from. That Saturday, I got the brakes hooked up and working so we could leave on Monday Morning.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Camping on Lake Ouachita at Brady Mountain Resort!

Lake Ouachita, is located in the Ouachita National Forrest of more than 1.6 million acres near Hot Springs, Arkansas. It is one of several lakes in the area that included: Lake Hamilton, Lake Creeson, Lake Millwood and Lake Catherine. Lake Ouachita has 9 resorts and 1 state park, (Ouachita State Park) located on Pine Mountain. With more than a 1,000 miles of shore lines, of which, over 900 miles, that a private home can not be built on the lake front.

In the late 70's, we chose the "Brady Mountain" resort to camp for a week around the 4th of July. At that time, we had a travel trailer and a Jet boat for our camping trip. There was a marina to park our boat in a slip and easy access to the large open waters, in which to ski. You would think that there was plenty of room on the lake, but on the 4th, we loaded up and went to one of the many islands to picnic, swim and water ski. With all our gear and picnic supplies, we made it to the island in two trips. After several hours a thunder storm was coming up in the distance, so we decided to start back across to our campsite before the storm. Again it took two trips, but for some reason the boat felt more heavy and hard to steer. It was after the second trip that I decided to take the boat out of the water for security reasons. I started checking all the gear and found that someone had taken a liking to the "White Rocks" on the island and decided that it would look good around her flower beds........there were rocks hidden in every little nook. I figured that we had about 200 lbs of extra weight..............Bah.........Hum.........Bug!!!!!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Cranfield on Norfork Lake!

Norfork Lake, if you haven't been there to camp out, you have really missed something. It is located about 5 miles east of Mountain Home, Arkansas. Our first visit there was in the late 60's. To get there, at that time, you had to cross a ferry to get from one side to the other. That was before the twin bridges were built and to me took away a lot of the excitement of seeing the lake for the first time. The water was so clear that you felt like you were looking into a swimming pool.
We were there one week around the 4th of July at a campground and boat dock called Cranfield. It is located on the west side of the lake and is on a little peninsula that goes out into the lake. The campground is in the center and there is a boat ramp with swimming beach along a lower road on the east side. Our campsite was across the road from the swimming beach up a small hill. There was a place at the bottom to park the boat, so you could keep an eye on it.

We were there with another family that we always skied and camped with. They had four children and we had three, so there was a lot activity, such as water sking, swimming and sight seeing. We all went over to "Dog Patch, U.S.A." at Jasper, Ar. one day to keep the young ones busy. When we first got there, I had to take the boat over to get a tune-up at a marina, so we took the short trip then. We did a lot of sking on the days before the 4th, but it was so busy on the Holiday that we planned other things. That night we played card games until around mid-night before going to bed. It was very hot, so there was a lot of good cold beer dranked that day.
A short time after going to bed, we heard a noise near the camp and after we investigated, discovered that we had a ice cooler that had been stolen. When we had located the cooler, They had taken it down to the bottom of the hill before finding out that it had no beer. After returning to camp and settling down again, we heard a loud shot-gun blast coming from the next camp down from us and a vehicle sped away. It seemed that the someone had tried to hit their camp and ran to a pick-up to escape, when the camper ran out into the road trying to stop them with the shot gun and was almost run down. He ran to the side of the road and fired a blast into the side of the truck. The pick-up stopped and the driver got out and shouted "You **B, we are going to get our friends in Mountain Home and come back out here and clean this hill off, like Grant took Richmond!" and took off with wheels spinning and leaving tire marks.
The camper went to a pay phone (Before cell phones) and called the Sheriff's Office and gave the discription of the vehicle and what had happened. A officer came by later and said that the vehicle had been stopped with several guns and individuals that were headed back out to the campground. The next morning, we loaded up and headed for home.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Heber Springs with our neighbors!

Our family went to Heber Springs one more time with our Sears 9' x 18' tent. It was a July 4th weekend and we were with our next door neighbors. We had just set up our camp with two tents and was getting settled in for the day. I had put the boat in the water and we had taken a few turns on the ski's and was back at camp relaxing when a wind storm came up. All a once we were fighting to keep the tents from being blown away. After securing everything, we discover that the boat had been swamped down on the lake. I had parked it nosed in to the shore and the waves had come over the back. All our gear was in the lake and the boat was full of water next to the bank. How were we going to get it out??? We decided to back the trailer down and hook onto it and try to pull it out, bailing the water as we tried to wench it out. After about 30 minutes, we managed get it back on the trailer and back up to the campsite. After taking everything loose and drying out the motor, we were able to get it started the next day.
It took a couple of days for the wind to settle down, but we were able to get our sking in and had a good time. Our neighbors had gone home and we had to put all the gear in the boat when we left a couple of days later. On the way, we had a blow-out on a boat tire because of the extra weight. This was our last trip with a was time for a up-grade. We located and purchased a used tent trailer.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Learning to Water Ski!

After our trip to Heber Springs with my sister's family on a camping trip, we decided to concentrate on learning to water ski. The closest place to ski was across the Mississippi River at Moon Lake, which was only about 3 miles across the bridge from Helena, Arkansas, which was where we lived. It was not a large lake, but was fairly long and was shaped like a half moon and in the middle there is an Island. It has several retirement homes built around the lake and a public boat ramp with a nice swimming beach nearby. On the weekends, it was very growded with swimmers and boat traffic, but during the week it was very quiet and a nice place for beginner water skiers. We spent many afternoons after work trying to master the art of sking until we all managed to "get up" and became fairly good skiers. The motor was a little small (35 h.p.), so I started looking around and found a fairly new rig with a 60 h.p. motor on a 16 1/2 ft. Fiber Glass boat. The engine was a v-4 and had a lot more power than we were used to and we could now ski double and triple and carry people in the boat at the same time. We had a lot of fun learning new tricks and taking others and showing them how to ski. Now when we went camping, we had to take two vehicles, but we didn't mind because it made it more fun and gave us more things to do.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Vacationing with my sister's family!

With the ski boat finished and vacation scheduled for the week of the 4th of July, plans were made to go with my sister and her family on a camping trip into the Ozarks. My sister and husband had 6 boys....3 in the teen-and pre-teen range and 3 in the toddler and baby range. Mike, Gerry, and Vince in the older group and the younger 3 were: David, Norman, and Richard. (who was about 6 months old). With our three: Darleen, Hugh, and Karen, and 4 adults, there were 13 in the camping party. We planned to pull the boat with our car and the trailer (the one I built for the La trip) loaded with all the camping equipment with their car. They came down the night before from Memphis and stayed all night in order for us to get a early start.
We left out the next morning with myself leading the caravan headed toward Little Rock. After we passed Little Rock and Conway we came into Morrilton and turned toward the Petit Jean Mountain. Going up the mountain, we had to circle on the way up......we had never seen anything so high, until we arrived at the State Park. We checked in and sat up camp in a nice area near the lake. It was a small fishing lake, nothing larger than a 10 h.p. fishing boat allowed. The kids got out their fishing poles and caught a few small fish....not big enough to keep, but fun to catch. That night, we had a nice campfire and roasted weiners and marshmellows, told stories and had a good time. The next morning after breakfast, we went to the Win-Rock Farm and took the tour and saw all the prize bulls and inside of some of the cleanest and nicest barns that you could ever see. (Win Rockefellow was Governor of Arkansas at this time and maintained a home at this location. His son, Win Rockefellow, Jr. later became Lt. Governor and was planning on running for Governor, until he was diagnosed and later died from a long battle with Cancer.) We went and toured the Antique Auto Museum, which was stocked with a lot of Rockefellow's vehicles. Most of his cars were maroon or a wine color, which was his favorites. There was also a rubber plant in the basement, that manufactured special tires for the antique vehicles.
We went back to camp and loaded up and got ready to head out for Greers Ferry Lake at Heber Springs. After we had loaded up, My brother-in-law told me that he had heard a noise on the way up the mountain that sounded like the bearings were going out on one of wheels of the trailer. I told him not to worry, if it went out, we would just dump it somewhere since I didn't have a lot of money in it. On the way down the mountain we were again leading the way, when my brother-in-law passed me blowing his car horn and speeding down the mountain around the curves at break neck speed. We followed and tried to keep up with no avail and smoke was pouring from the rear of his car. When he reached the bottom and pulled to the side of the road, the tire blew out, sending the hub cap flying, the doors opening and people rushing to get out of the car. Smoke was everywhere, but everyone was safe. The noise that he had heard was the bearings in his car that was going out, not the trailer. I drove down the road and found a place to unhook the boat, went back and got the trailer with the camping gear. We managed to get their car up to where the boat was to get it out of the way. I loaded all the women and small kids in the car and headed out to Heber Springs. Brother-in-law and the 3 older boys stayed behind with the car and boat. The plan was that I would go to Heber Springs, find a camp site, set up camp and come back for bro-in-law and the boys, Pick up the boat and return to Heber Springs. We would come back the next morning to fix and pick up the car. This was late on a Sunday afternoon and nothing was open until Monday morning.
Everything went as planned, after going back picking them up and the boat, we made it back to camp around mid-night. The next morning, we stopped at a Ford Dearship in Morrilton and picked up parts and fixed the car and returned to Heber Springs to start our camping. That afternoon, we finally got the boat in the water and starting doing a little water sking or at least trying to. Bro-in-law was the only one to get up, but we all gave it a good try. The motor was a little small to get anyone up with riders in the boat, so we quit for the day. We were able to take all the kids for a good ride on the lake and had a good time.
The next morning after letting the kids swim and boat ride, we had lunch and my sister and family had to return to Memphis to go back to work the next day. They would take the trailer back with them and we were staying a few more days. We would load the camping equipment in the boat when we returned least that was our plans. That afternoon a storm started coming in and the rain started....water was pouring off the tent all night long. The next morning everthing was wet or damp. With the wind blowing it was getting cold. About 10 a.m. a friend that we knew that lived in Heber Springs came out and took us to her house and fed us a good hot meal. The longer we sat there, the more we decided it was time to load up and go home. We went back to camp and loaded up everything wet and went home. After getting home we had to set it back up to dry out for few days.......

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Our first ski boat!

After our trip to Holly Beach in Louisana, we continued camping at Sardis Lake and decided that we wanted to give water sking a try. I had been noticing an old boat parked in a yard in the area that we lived. The owner worked at the same place I did, so I started talking to him about it. It was a 14' Aluminum Ski boat with a 35 h.p. motor. He hadn't used it in a long time....the last time used, he had a flat tire on it and not having a spare, he had drug it home and bent the axle and ruined the tire and wheel. I went by to look at and check it out. The motor was in great shape and started very quickly with a fresh battery. It had two windshields that went with it.....the canvas top was a bunch of rags and the seats were all rotted and other words, it really looked bad! We settled on a price of $100.oo and after borrowing a tire and wheel, I pulled it home.
When I got home and backed it into the driveway, I was so proud of my treasure and no one would come out to look at it. I backed inside the back yard out of sight and started taking it apart. I took the motor off and all the controls and pushed it off the trailer. I flipped the trailer over and took the axle off and took it to a welding shop where they heated and straighten the axle. I next went and purchased a new tire and wheel and reinstalled the axle and wheel to the trailer. After repacking the wheel bearings, I removed the wood runners on the trailer and replaced with new wood and carpet. I spray painted the trailer and had it looking like new. By this time, the family was getting excited , started helping finish stripping the boat down to get ready to paint. After a couple of days, we couldn't wait any longer to try the boat out. We put the unpainted boat back on the trailer, installed the motor and controls and took it to the St Francis River to try it out. It ran like a dream, which added to the excitement of getting the boat ready. We went back home and really got serious about getting the boat finished. We finished the stripping of the old paint, repainted it white with red strips down each side, redid the seats with new vinyl, installed the windshield with a new canopy. We were now ready to start learning to water ski!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Camping At Holly Beach, La

One of the greatest adventures of our camping was the time we went to Louisana to visit our sister and family that lived in Lake Charles. This was a trip that Delbert, Ruby, Gayle, Debbie, Helen Fant's daughter (don't remember her name), Maybe Cammie or Rose ( one of Delbert's sisters), Myself, Naomi, Darleen, Hugh and Karen. Eleven people in all the group.We had planned this trip for several months and was planning on taking a side trip to Holly Beach, a resort, we thought, south of Lake Charles along the Gulf of Mexico. I had found it on the map and it sounded interesting, so that was where we would go.!We had just started camping and was getting tired of the blow-up air mattresses and decided to buy some surplus army cots to go with our tent. I went out and found an old trailer that was laying in some people back yard and decided to fix it up to carry our camping equipment. It was more like a axle with a flat bed and only had one wheel. I paid the man $7.00 for it and went to the junk yard and bought a wheel and tire for $3.00 and pulled it home. I fixed up the frame and built a wooden bed on it, painted it up and installed new tail lights. We loaded all the camping equipment and our luggage in it and off we went to Lake Charles.
We left early one Monday morning with Delbert & Ruby's crew following us and made it to Lake Charles late that afternoon.Francis and Leo was waiting on us and we went out to eat at a Sea food Buffet and went Bowling. Francis and Leo was big at that time in Ham Radio and had this large rotating Antenna on top of their house. They had a radio room set up in the house and talked to people all over the world. We also met several of their Club members and had a good time while there. We stayed 2 nights and them took off to Holly Beach....We asked them to go with us, but they laughted and said "No thank you"......which should have told us something.
After we left Lake Charles and went south.....the trees disappeared...nothing but sea grass as far as you could see. The area was very deserted with no buildings in sight. We drove along this narrow road and finally saw a weather beaten building in the distance. As we got closer, we discovered that it was a old country store. We were all looking for a bathroom or a bush to get behind, when we noticed several old wooden outhouses. We had noticed a sign several miles back that said that Holly Beach ahead, so we figured it was close by. With the store this close, we decided to get a few supplies before we proceded to the campgrounds.
We went into the store and bought a few things and went to check out and asked the clerk how far it was to the beach and campgrounds. He looked kind of funny at us and said "Well, the beach is out back and you can camp anywhere you want?"We left out of the store and drove around to the back and over a sand dune and there was Holly Beach! A long "Dirty" sandy beach as far as you could see, pigs roaming around in the Garbage, it was a sight to behold. Hurricane Carla had come through before this and nothing had been cleaned up. We drove along a road about a 100 feet from the water and decided to set up camp. We unloaded and set up the tent and put all the cots inside.....there was room for all eleven to sleep inside. We cooked up a meal and cleaned up and decided to go swimming in the Gulf of Mexico.....thrill, thrill!
Later we found that the pigs were getting ready to raid us to get food. After all the food was locked up and the sun went down, the Mosquitoes started swarming in so everyone got inside the tent. We could shine a light on the top of the tent and see all the mosquitoes plaster on the top. Needless to say, no one left the tent that night. During the night, you could hear the water slapping along the shore and it made you slept so well.....the next morning the sound was getting closer. The "Tide" had come in and was up almost to the edge of the tent.After we got up and ate breakfast, we loaded up and headed back to Lake Charles. After swimming in the salt water, we all washed off with a water hose in Francis' yard and headed back to the great state of Arkansas!!1
Posted by Arkie38 at 9:43 PM 1 comments

Blanchard Springs Caverns!

Our second trip camping after getting our tent was to Blanchard Springs, which is just north of Mountain View. The Caverns has been discovered and open up for tours since when we made this trip. We arrived at the park late in the afternoon after getting lost several times. The road down the mountain was unimproved at that time and was a adventure if you met anyone because it was so narrow. We arrived at the park and crossed a natural bridge fording across as if we were in a Covered Wagon of the early days. Off to the right, there were kids jumping off the cliffs into what looked like a foot of water. We thought that someone was going to break their necks. We found a camp site back in the trees and set up camp. There was no picnic table or electical service there at that time. We had our Coleman Lantern for lights and Coleman pump-up stove to cook on. This was before the grilles were there and you had to go into the woods to get firewood for a fire. This was a must because there were a few mosquitoes around...not to mention the snakes, bears and other wild animals around. After we got our tent put up and was cooking supper, there was a man with several boys following him coming down the trail. They stopped and started talking to us about all they had been doing. It was a Boy Scout Troop and they had been the ones that we had seen jumping off the cliffs into the water. They were camped not far from us and after supper, we all visited around the campfire and roasted marshmellons and talked. They had been out in the woods hunting different herbs and plants for their projects. They had brought us some Root-a Berry tea and wanted us to sample it, which we all did and believe it or not, it was very good if you sweeten it. The troop was scheduled to leave the next morning, so we said our farewells when they went back to camp.Again, we got to try out the blow-up mattresses and our tent. It got a little cool at night, but we slept very well that night. The next day, we got a chance to try out the cliffs and the swimming hole. The water was so clear that what we thought was shallow water was indeed very deep, hence the reason no one broke their necks when jumping from the cliffs. We spent about three night there and it was so was in late August and a very good way to end the summer before the kids started back to school.
Posted by Arkie38 at 6:52 PM 0 comments

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Family camping trips!

Our family always loved to camp, something that I still like to do. When we started out camping it was very different than it is today. There were no Rvs or air conditioners, things that is a must today. My family was invited to go camping at Sardis Lake in Mississippi one 4th of July by friends at work. We were told that they had plenty of room, so come on down and join the crowd. We loaded up the old Station wagon, a few groceries, a cooler or two and struck out. When we arrived at the camp site, there was one tent set up for their family and no one else. Another couple, with two kids, who had also been invited showed up like we did expecting to have somewhere to sleep. We should have known when we showed up and they acted surprised that the invitation was only to be nice and to let people know that they were going camping, but we made the best of it.
We all got together and had a good time around the campfire and kids roasted hot dogs and after swimming all afternoon were ready to go to sleep when bedtime came around. We backed the old station wagon in under the trees and put down the tailgate, made pallets in the back and they were in business. The rest of us slept in lawn chairs, on cars or pallets on the ground. In all, we had a great time camping and the next week, we went to Sears and ordered a 9' x 18' tent and we started getting ready for our next camping trip. When the tent came in, we learned to set it up in the back yard and went by Fred's Dollar Store and picked up some blow-up mattresses and took off for Sardis Lake.
When we got to the lake, we found a smooth shady spot under the trees that was close to the swimming beach. There was a cold shower that you pulled on a chain and the water sprayed you off. After we had cooked that night, using a pump-up Coleman stove, we blew up the air mattresses and spread them around the tent and started trying to go to sleep. After about 15 minutes, Karen started crying: " I want my bed"... After a while, she started crying: " I want a drink of water".... I got up and got the water cooler and went down to the store down the road and make her some Ice water and brought it back. This satisfied her and she slept the rest of the night. The next morning after breakfast, the kids, Darleen, Hugh and Karen, went to the beach and swimmed until lunchtime. After lunch, while they swimmed, we started packing up the tent and everything. When we were ready to go, they wasn't wanting to go and we almost had to drag them from the beach. They kept getting away and running from us. Our Old station wagon had 4 doors and when we put them in one side they would come out the other. This went on for several minutes with them crying and running, with everybody in the camp ground laughting. We finally got them coralled and secure in the car and left for home. That was our first camping trip by ourselves, but not out last.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Going fishing with my pal.....AL

Growing up you always read stories about Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn...well, this story reminds me of that. Dad was a farm manager in east Arkansas and there was about 5 farms under his supervision. One of them was a farm down below Bear Creek Lake along the St Francis River, known as the Grey Place. On this place there was a Black gentleman named "Al". Al was my buddy mainly because he always bragged on me for being able to drive a tractor at my age (9), and I of course, ate it up. One time while dad had something going on down there on the farm, Al and I planned a fishing trip.

I got up real early and went down to the Grey Place with dad and we got there around 6:oo a.m. and I took off for Al's house. He was cooking breakfast in the kitchen and of course, he wanted me to eat with him. He had made a large pan of homemade biscuits and had fried up some eggs. He also had some syrup to put on the biscuits along with homemade butter. After breakfast, he got a large syrup bucket and filled it with the leftovers to take fishing. We went and dug up some worms, put them in a can and got out the cane fishing poles. Off we went walking down the dirt road and across several fields for about a mile or so and came up on the banks of the "Mighty St Francis River." We got out our cane fishing poles, baited up with worms and boy we were in business. I guess it was around 9 a.m. when we started fishing and boy was we pulling them in. Al had brought a big jug of butter milk and had put it in the water to keep it cold and at lunch time we had a feast on breakfast left overs and butter milk. You know me, when I get through eating, I want to take a short nap, but Al said that we couldn't stop while the fish were we fished on and the sun got hotter and hotter. After a while, I had enough of this, so I stopped fishing and found me a shade. Al kept on fishing and after catching several more, announced that we needed go so we would get backin time to clean the fish. I remember going back was the longest walk of my life and my butt was dragging. When we got back dad and another guy was waiting on us. We all jumped in and cleaned the fish and took a mess home with us. Our family all had a good fish fry....thanks to Al because I only caught about 2 or 3 fish.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Night Darleen almost saw Santa Claus

Darleen was always the one that was always telling Hugh and Karen that there wasn't a Santa Claus. One Christmas Eve, I was sitting in the den and picked up a red and white Christmas cap....the kind you always see in your decorations and decided to play a little trick. The kids had just got to bed because Santa wouldn't come unless they were asleep. Of course, Darleen was telling them that there was no Santa and they were sitting in the middle of the bed mulling over this. I went outside and around to their bedroom window and starting scratching on the screen and peeking inside with the red and white cap over my face. Darleen was the first to see me and her eyes turned real big. She started waving at me and saiding "Hi Santa Claus". Hugh and Karen started crying and screeming and running back into the front of the house to tell their Mom that someone was at the window. I ran back around the house and back into the den and sat down in my chair.
When they came into the room, Darleen, all out of breath and crying kept saying that it was Santa Claus! I went outside and checked all around and came back and told them that I had talked to Santa and he said that he was in a hurry and if they didn't get to sleep that he was going to skip their house. They then took off running and jumped into bed and never made another sound. That was the last time I heard Darleen tell anyone that Santa Claus wasn't real.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Jerry the High-Tailer

I think everyone has heard about Jerry sitting in my face when he was about 5 years old....might as well get it over with. He knows that I am still waiting to get even.......might do it this year a the Sib.bash.

In case you haven't heard the story...we were bed-partners growing up and when he came to bed....I acted like I was asleep and kept rolling over to his side of the bed. Well, to make a short story of this, he pulled down his underwear and sit down in my face. Needless to say, I came up in a hurry and He went running to our Mom, who saved his life. He time is coming!!!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

My Dad's little Model A Ford!

As a young boy growing up in rural Arkansas in the late 30's, 40's and 50's, you didn't have a lot of material possessions that you could brag about, but I had one thing that I was so proud of. The 1929 Model A Ford that my Daddy bought in the early 1940,s. I know my family was proud of this car, because I far as I can remember, it was the only car my Daddy ever owned. I so loved this car that anywhere my daddy went with this car I expected to go too. My Dad, who was known to take a few drinks, used to take me with him when he went to see the "Bootleggers" of that time. I was so small that he had to take diapers and change me in the car seat. I would always cry if he tried to leave the house without me, so mom would get me ready and he would take me along. He always thought that I just wanted to go with him, but really it was the car.

Mom, also, must have proud of that car and wanted to learn to drive so bad. My dad wouldn't teach her, so when he was at work, she decided to try her hand at driving. She got the car out and was driving around in the yard and was so proud of herself, until she ran into the side of the house and torn off several siding boards. She managed to get the car reparked and got hammer and nails and repaired the side of the house and sweeped out all the tire tracks before dad got home.

I remember one time that dad gone to town in the car and was gone most of the day and had a few drinks. There was a large wooden gate in the front of our house and was kept closed and had to be opened to enter. I heard my dad coming in the model A Ford and he was driving real fast. Thinking he was in a real hurry, I ran down to open the gate so he could enter. My mom could tell from his driving that he was drunk and started running for the gate. I was standing beside the gate holding it open when she grabbed me and got out of the way, when dad turned in and knocked down the gates and never stopped until he got to the house. A little while after that, dad came home from town in the wrong car. It was just like our car and was parked where dad usually parked and the keys fit so he drove it home. Mom managed to get the car back to town and picked up our car. Needles to say, Dad's little Model A Ford was sold shortly after