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Sunday, July 20. 2014
As WWII ended, spending most of my summers at my grandma Bryan’s house, outside of Marlin, was an exciting time for me. But, as boys in a rural setting will do, we decided that we needed more excitement than just catching crawdads.
One afternoon, my cousin, Dan, said that he thought stealing some watermelons would be fun. I quickly agreed with him. Our first job was to find a patch with some ripe melons. He figured that down the lane from Grandmas, Uncle Tom Norwood’s patch would be just about ripe.
To both of us, being 10 years old, Uncle Tom was a menacing figure. Tall, erect, a retired schoolteacher and, we later discovered that he was also a former slave. Before, or during, the Civil War, he was born into slavery and at the time he must have been over 85 years old. His wife, Betty, approximately the same age and a former slave too and when we were younger she was a very caring nanny to both Dan and I. Being the closest patch around, we picked Uncle Tom’s.
We figured that it would be better if we stole the melons during the afternoon since the high temperature then would probably keep Uncle Tom inside. Down the lane, short pants and tennis shoes clad, we snuck and ahead, spotting the melon patch. Climbing through the fence we noticed some sticker kind of low, bushy flowers growing among the melons. We soon found out that these harmless looking “flowers” were really bull nettles, Cnidoscolus texanus, or stinging nettles, a very poisonous plant known to kill small animals, even small dogs. The little hairs along the leaf packed a wallop, especially on bare legs!
Finding two ripe melons was easy. The hard part was getting them out of the patch. The first thing I did was to brush against a nettle. Wow, that stung as bad as a yellow jacket (then)! Then Dan brushed against one, howling, and the race was on! Our goal of stealing melons was quickly forgotten as we dropped ‘em and scrambled out of the patch and hightailed it home.
Our legs were on fire as we told our Grandma what we’d done. In no uncertain terms, she scolded us for even thinking of taking one of Uncle Tom’s watermelons, but, kindly, she told us of an old Texas remedy for bull nettle stings, pee on the sting. We peed on each others legs and the stinging abated and we never thought again about stealing watermelons again!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Random Thoughts at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, March 30. 2014
This is another tale from the Haney Ranch. Mike Mitchell and I went up to help Rick rework his cattle pens, and after a long day and evening finally ate and went to bed late. Later that night, I was awakened from a sound sleep, hearing the â€œthunk, thunkâ€ of something walking around the porch. The weather was warm as I knocked on the door and went into Rickâ€™s room.
The AC was running full blast and the lump under a pile of covers must have been Rick. â€œYou hear that sound, someone walking around your porch?â€ I almost whispered. He uncovered, I noticed a watch cap on his head, he rose up and replied, â€œWhat sound, animals, Iâ€™m sure.â€ Rick blamed animals again, this was the second time he had done that?
Thinking to myself, how could he hear anything covered up like he was, with the AC roaring and with the watch cap on his head. Later that morning we talked about the â€œthunkingâ€ I had heard and Rick said again, â€œItâ€™s just those â€˜Dillos rooting around.â€
The next day more work on the cattle pens, and after steaks, we talked for a while and turned in early and I finally found out why Rick had such strange sleeping habits. Tonight, just like last night was warm, and I wasnâ€™t even covering with a sheet, when I woke up with a start! Whatâ€™s going on here, I was freezing! Then I noticed the foot of the bed was leaning and I sensed that something/someone was setting on the end of the bed. Whatâ€™s going on I asked myself, could this be a ghost, no way, I donâ€™t even believe in â€˜em!
Still freezing I said to the â€œwhateverâ€, â€œIâ€™m not afraid of you. I am a Christian and you donâ€™t scare me!â€ Then something really strange happened, whatever it was on the end of the bed got up, I could feel the end of the bed rise as if a load was removed, the â€œwhateverâ€ moved away and the room returned to a normal temperature. Personally, â€œitâ€ never bothered me again.
The next morning, when Rick and I had a chance to talk alone, I told him about my encounter the past night. His reply was, â€œI donâ€™t want to hear it.â€ He was uncomfortable I could tell, but I went on with the entire story. He replied, â€œI have heard things go â€œbumpâ€ in the night before, but I have to sleep out here three or four nights a week. Why do you think I run the AC all year, even in freezing weather, wear a watch cap and cover up with all of those quilts? I really donâ€™t want to talk about it.â€
It sounded like Rick was afraid of the â€œwhateversâ€ out here. This was the end of the story until the next time I came up.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Random Thoughts at 14:22 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday, March 7. 2014
New Yearâ€™s resolutions are a necessary evil and I donâ€™t subscribe to them any one bit, but to think that I made a quasi-resolution that I would go on a 5 day, posting schedule, really burns me up! Having made the quasi-resolution I had no idea at all that I would encounter computer problems, I was trying to move all of my stuff to Laylaâ€™s PC, with Randyâ€™s help and as someone famous, Robert Burns to be specific, once said something in this regard, â€œThe best laid plans of men and mice sometimes falter and gang awryâ€
My plans certainly faltered and gang awry, so much for the 5 day posting schedule, but I hope to resume posting somewhat regularly. Maybe not 5 days exactly, but never again will I make a quasi- New Yearâ€™s resolution, you see what trouble this led too!
So Iâ€™m back on my old computer, just wishing that I had succeeded in switching out the PCâ€™s!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Random Thoughts at 16:16 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday, February 7. 2014
Having won the Millâ€™s County Generalâ€™s Store Big Buck Contest, the buck having scored a gross of 141-1/8, but when it was scored by my taxidermist, Mickey Donahoo it scored a gross of 142-6/8, anyway it was a big one! But my mind goes back to a fateful day in September, 1999 I believe, when I caught and released, the biggest speckled trout of my life!
Carl Pittman, deceased now, was with me on that fateful day, September 5, 1999, as we stopped and bought bait, live shrimp, at the Pleasure Island Bait Camp and we zipped through Galveston Harbor and cruised out to the jetties, south jetty in particular, to sample the trout fishing. We pulled up to my favorite place, carefully slid the anchor into the water, it held and we cast out our rigs, standard rigs for the jetties, just a split shot 12 inches above the hook, a small treble hook, hooked to a live shrimp, we were in business.
It wasnâ€™t long before the action started, we were sacking up the specks we probably had 8 or 10 when I had a big hit! At first I thought it was a big redfish from the head shaking, but when it circled the boat, I knew it was a big trout, big it was, but after a 10 minute fight, and it fought all the way into the boat, Carl slipped the net under it and it was my fish!
Wow, we measured it and it was 29 inches long, had already spawned and estimated its weight at 9 pounds, a king sized speck. Thinking, If I had caught this fish on, or before, August 31st, I would have won, The Upper Coast Division of The Star Tournament, the CCA Tournament and I would have won a new boat, motor and trailer, (along with a big tax problem)! What a difference 5 days made.
Having caught (and eaten) several state record fish, catching and releasing this speckled trout and thinking of the millions of eggs she has spawned over her life, I was glad that I released her. Winning the Tournament wasnâ€™t a big deal to me sure the notoriety would have been fine, but I could do without the tax problem! Thank goodness the prize for winning the Big Buck Contest wasnâ€™t $30,000 big!
Well, as Iâ€™ve said before, you win some and you loose some, thatâ€™s life!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Random Thoughts at 12:18 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, October 30. 2013
Layla was all about speaking, at her Senior Softball tournaments she always handled the giving out the awards, she was active in her Church and she kept me in line (with some difficulty). Sheâ€™ll be missed terribly, but we know that soon weâ€™ll all be joining her Heaven!
Saturday, October 19. 2013
Sunday morning a week ago, my wife, Layla, who is diabetic, had a heart attack! She woke me up around 12:30AM complaining of chest pains and her hands were numb. Calling 911, they came immediately and took her to the hospital in Hamilton, where they didnâ€™t have a cardiologist, so they took her on to Scott & White in Temple, Texas.
Tuesday before last Layla had a triple bypass, then on Monday, last week, she had 2 arteries opened with stints. Her condition is still critical, today, Saturday, the 19th, she is still in a medically induced coma, but the docs will try to wake her up tomorrow.
Layla is the number 2 person at Softball Players Association, she is very religious and a regular attendee at the Church of Christ. The entire softball nation and people all over our country are praying for her and with Godâ€™s help she will return to us!
Needless to say, there will be no posts on this blog until she improves.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Random Thoughts at 11:30 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, September 21. 2013
Having been away from the writing board this past week, it hasnâ€™t been any fun, it started out Saturday the right way with a dove hunt with Randy, we got 5 birds, but all white wings! Feeling yucky the whole time, the doc finally diagnosed my malady, I was given some pills, told to take them, not to miss one then I would be fine. The wonders of medical science, obviously!
Fall came in with a roar! A 2.5 inch rain storm, a 15 MPH north wind, along with mud, which we hadnâ€™t had any to speak of in over 6 months, now everything is muddy and slick! But, being in drought conditions, weâ€™ll take the mud.
Last night was Goldthwaiteâ€™s homecoming and Mikayla showed her colors in a big way. She won the football beau title and to top that off, she won Homecoming Queen, not a bad night. The football team didnâ€™t win though.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Random Thoughts at 10:44 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, May 19. 2013
This past Wednesday I had my right knee â€œcleaned outâ€, cleaned out from bone chips, cartilage chips, along with spots of arthritis and Iâ€™ll be â€œstumpinâ€™ aroundâ€ for a week or two. The same doc that told me that I didnâ€™t need a knee replacement did the surgery and heâ€™s been keeping me playing Senior Softball for 5 years (after I was told by 2 docs that Iâ€™d need a knee replacement within a year). Such is life!
Surprisingly, there is some pain. When I go to bed at night, thinking the surgery would be a literal walk in the park, turning over is a great problem coupled with me being a restless sleeper, I wake up a lot! Last night, it was quite hot in our house and I checked the temp and found that it was 83, 83.8 to be exact. With the temp forecasted to be over 90 today, I hope our A/C man makes Sunday calls?
An old saying says, â€When it rains, it poursâ€. Itâ€™s certainly pouring on us now, but â€œthingsâ€ will get better!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Random Thoughts at 11:27 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
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