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