Memories, Footprints on a Dirt Road

My wife and I had sat down on our back porch to watch the sun “roll away”. In the fading light, we sat to chat about the day’s events then she sat up in her chair and exclaimed, ” I saw where your cousin Charles died last week”. “Hmmmm” was my only reply  and she asked was he about 72? and I said “yeah, that sounds about right” and then we went back to our discussion, our “daily download” stuff as we often do on another despising hot July night as if somehow the discussion will help us to “wash it down” so we can pile on another “plate full” of this hectic summer pace.

You may have never seen me write  this before but, I really do dislike summers. They seem like gauntlets to be ran each year on our way to another wonderful fall, winter and spring, the seasons I do so love. Summer was not always a despot. When I was young, it was a time for the creek bank, the river, skiing, fishing, running trot lines, jug fishing, grabbling for fish along the clay and limestone banks of the Tombigbee river. Now don’t misunderstand, I had plenty of chores to do everyday, Daddy kept a garden and I got more than one “whoopin” about not keeping every last weed out of it. We had all manner of farm animals to keep fed, keep up- in fences and stalls, grass to cut, hay to bale and a thousand other things on daddy’s to-do list. But summer was FUN! 

Now, I dream of Fall and cool weather like a young boy dreams of new cars and girlfriends to share them with, Come on September!  My wife said something about how I am wishing my life away and I said no, just the summer. She then mentioned Charles again and asked me “wasn’t he in prison or something” I said yes, he was in Prison seven years for Armed robbery and she said “your daddy let you get around him?” And I said yes, Daddy thought a lot of Charles and knew he would not harm anyone, that he had just made a stupid mistake as a 17 year old kid who had a crush on a girl friend. I explained to her that after a fight where his girl said she was leaving him since he had no money, he went home in a rage and took an unloaded shotgun up to his local grocery store and robbed them of a few hundred dollars that he had them put in a paper grocery bag. He apologized to the store manager who knew him by name and said he needed the money for ”his girl”. He then took the paper bag of money to her home and called her out to the front porch and dumped it out. After that he went home and waited for the sheriff on his front porch. He was convicted right away and sentenced to 15 years.

When Charles showed up at my Grandmother’s home with a story of his release for good behavior, they did not doubt him and that’s where us kids got to know him. He was a Cool guy in his twenties had a leather jacket and a “Elvis” haircut. He immediately was adored by many of our relatives who were the only people who lived down our dirt road way back in the woods of West Alabama. Charles knew magic tricks, was a consummate artist who could draw portrait quality images of us kids, which he did and gave us all our own “likenesses” to hang in our rooms. He could carve, sculpt, build, fix, play baseball and he just seemed like a big brother to most of us. His skills at hunting and fishing were as good as any of the men in our family and he would out-shoot anyone in a wing shooting hunt such as duck hunting or dove shooting.

Charles grew up on Mobile Bay and his folks made their living from the seas around the area. Fishing, crabbing, working on boats and digging up oysters. He had little education of a formal type and after the label of convict was applied in the early1960s, he had no opportunity to be anymore than a handyman, farmhand type. But Charles was a fellow who loved the outdoors. He was a master at extracting the bounty it had to offer and he had learned well from his father and uncles as they made a living in the outdoors along the bay and the gulf of Mexico.  For two and a half years, he lived with my grandmother and the folks who met him in the community all talked of his prowess in the hunting and fishing sports. His hard work ethic had made him fans of local farmers needing a good hand and he helped bring in crops for many of them.

Then one day, he was helping a fellow with a car repair and someone grabbed him by both legs and pulled him from under the car. He came out laughing but, stopped when he saw the guns drawn by 3 FBI field agents. Apparently it wasn’t good behavior that had set him free two years earlier, it was good “locksmithing”. Everyone found out that Charles has actually escaped and had been hiding out for the last two years, down our little dirt road!

He was shackled and handcuffed hands and feet. He told me in later years, the worst part was the shame he felt when the FBI guys warned others to “stay out of the way of a convicted armed robber” as they returned him to prison. After the shock wore off around our community many people said they thought he was a pretty good guy and enough of them got together, including a farmer, who just happened to be a lawyer and his daddy a Judge, that they went to Charles’ parole hearings and the second time he walked out of prison 18 months later, it was for good behavior and due to the good people on our little dirt road that knew a good man when they met one.

Charles moved back in with my grandmother and her husband for several more years until he married, he stayed in the area and raised several kids and continued to be one of the best hunters, fishermen, gardeners, and outdoor enthusiast that I knew in my early years.  I did not see Charles in the last twenty years. Moving away from home, jobs, kids, careers, all filled up my life and my cousin Charles had his own life to live. He was a very private and withdrawn guy with a redneck wife who was loud and not very nice so none of us kids went to see him after we all “got grown” even though he lived less than 20 miles away.

The news of his passing triggered some good hunting memories, some good fishing memories and some good childhood memories from our little dirt road community where we made a lot of footprints many summers ago.

Bring on the fall!!

Until next week,

Postoak..

World Deer Expo Was HUGE!

BKM Outdoors of Wetumpka was one of the many exhibitors at the Deer Expo, postoak

This weekend, The World Deer Expo was once again held in Birmingham and it was HUGE!  I have been attending it for years and it just seems to get bigger and better with each edition. This weekend’s event was fantastic!  In the world of deer hunting or for that matter, any kind of hunting, the deer show offered it.

I made the drive yesterday afternoon after a morning of yard and pool work that had this ole boy so tired, I almost didn’t go. And then, on the way to Birmingham, I-65 got like a parking lot along several stretches and I almost turned around before I got to Clanton. But, I remembered the fun I had at previous shows and the old friends I often bumped into at the show and I kept my truck pointed north. IT WAS WORTH THE TRIP!

If I can’t be in the woods hunting or at least scouting or looking at a new lease or new club. Then a show the scope and scale of the World Deer Expo is almost as good. I had my every expectation met as I wandered the gigantic event and surveyed the myriad of hunting products and other products from vendor who exhibited at the show. I bumped into several old hunting buddies, three relatives and made some new acquaintances with like minded folks who live to hunt and enjoy the shooting sports and outdoor lifestyle. Each year, I find some good ideas that I can make just like the ones on sale. Each year I find a few new hunting calls, hunting clothes, or other “just flat out unique and I want it” items.

The highlight of the show for me was the opportunity to hang out at the booth of the “Down-N-Dirty” Outdoors Game calls crew and was treated to some turkey hunting discussions with none other than Eddie Salter, Who never seems to change or take on airs every time we talk. He is a genuine legend in the world of turkey hunting but, he never lets it go to this head. We stood around and talked while he and other members of the Down-N-Dirty crew made some of the very best gobbles I have ever heard, except for a turkey in the spring woods.

They have created the most authentic sounding gobble call I have every heard, It is called the “Haint” call. I had heard it last February and immediately bought one at WCI on the northern by-pass in Montgomery. I nearly drove my wife crazy trying to learn to blow it, but gave up during the spring turkey season. I had picked it back up in May and Am slowly mastering it. I actually felt pretty good about my progress after hearing those guys yesterday. They were creating some fantastic gobbles with the “Haint” and I am nowhere that good with it yet. But, I am making progress. A call that Eddie gave me personally yesterday that I found very easy to run is a new mouth call he has designed and is Marketed by Down-N-Dirty is “Eddie Salter’s Turkey Man” call. It is a single frame, three reed call with a V-cut and it sounds sweet! I also bought a Owl Call called The “Boogeyman” and it  is to make hoots, laughs and cackles that mimic a Barred Owl to a tee!  I just wish the “Haint” was as easy to master as the mouth call and the owl call! But, I am getting better and I WILL be ready to use it on some Gobblers next spring. Check out the website for Down-N-Dirty Outdoors!! http://www.downndirtyoutdoors.com/

Another vendor I had a good time visiting with is from right here in the river region. BKM Outdoors is located in Wetumpka and they market a deer supplement that has proven to be a deer draw in a big time way!  Their “Deer Candy” product may be just what you need to get that old buck to “pose ” at your trail camera before the season gets started so you will know where to hang your stand if he comes back around during the season! Contact them to purchase this local treat at bkmoutdoors@yahoo.com and they will be glad to tell you about their product line!

Speaking of Deer attracting products, The food plot specialists at Wildlife Management Soulutions, another Central Alabama company is a great vendor to buy great customer blends of seed products for your food plots as well a wildlife attracting trees and plant. Dale Bumgarner operates this company out of Eutaw Alabama and you really should look at what he has to offer for habitat enhancement! Contact http://www.productsforwildlifemanagement.com/ct.asp

After you take that trophy buck or trophy gobbler you know you want to have it mounted. There were several taxidermist at the event and I found some high quality mounts on display from Barbour’s Custom Wildlife Studio from Columbiana Alabama. If you have one to mount, contact them! barbourscws@bellsouth.net
I met many great vendors with all sorts of outdoor items and I want to list links to them below. I found many of them have very reasonable prices for deer hunts and even better, spring turkey hunts! Which I am all about that!

Check out; http://www.kyantlerco.com/ for a great Kentucky hunt!  For a great deer hunt or very memorable bass fishing trip right over in West Alabama, check out http://dreamlakelodge.com/ they have a legendary bass lake that has been featured on many outdoorshows, including ESPN. Cornbelt Whitetails offers Illinois hunts and had some pics of monster bucks thay have taken http://www.cornbeltwhitetailoutfitters.com/

In Ohio try http://www.carlislelegacywhitetails.com/ for monster bucks! In Kentucky check out http://kentuckytrophybucks.com/ I plan to call these folks for a spring turkey hunt! They have got an awesome place!

I guess the ultimate solution in hunting is to have your own place and in Alabama’s Blact Belt there are some amazing properties for sale just check out my old friend Monroe Payne and Black Belt Land and Realty for a place of your own! http://blackbeltlandllc.com/

If you missed the Deer show, you missed a great event but, no need to worry! The Buckmasters show will be right here in Montgomery next month so mark it on your calendar NOW!  and check it out at http://www.buckmasters.com/resources/expo.aspx

Until next week,

POSTOAK OUT……. DOORS

 

 

 

 

 

The Alabama Gun Collectors Show Today in Birmingham was Great!!

One way to make an outdoor, hunting, shooting, collecting enthusiast happy is a great event that is going on this weekend. It is the summer gun show at the Birmingham Jefferson Civic Center going on this weekend in the North Exhibition Hall. The Gun collectors association holds four shows a year and each one is well worth the trip! My oldest Son, Hunter and I are the normal participants and we meet my Father in Law and Brother in Law from West Alabama at the show and end it by going to lunch.

It is a tradition we have enjoyed for close to two decades now and we have bought, sold, traded for many rifles, shotguns, pistols, knives, swords, bayonets, old silver coins, war memorabilia, and other assorted collectible items. It really is like a candy store for guys who love guns and we all “are one”!

My youngest son Walt, is at home for the summer from college and went with us today so it was an even better day for him and his brother to have fun together and for “old dad” to enjoy them both as a “guys day out”.  The summer gun show really helps to break up the summertime blues and helps us to hang on until hunting season gets here and dove season is only a couple of months away!

At today’s show, I was glad to see a real good turn out of folks but, did not find too many bargains to bring back home. We only took a pistol and an old British bayonet to sell or trade and came back home with both of them. I did purchase an 1877 French long bayonet with scabbard for a decent price and should be able to get a fair profit from it on E-bay or the Bulletin Board. I also picked up a couple of old shotguns that are pretty neat, one of them is an old LC Smith Double Barrel and the other is a very nice Colt Double Barrel which is a very rare gun that should bring a premium price.

Gun trading really is a great hobby and very gratifying. My other favorite trading, buying hobby is silver coin collecting. However, I was very disappointed today at how high everyone had their silver coin prices set despite that silver price has traded downward over the last few months. Needless to say, I did not buy any coins today and considered going back tomorrow and selling some of mine if I could get the kind of price they were asking!

Anyway, it was another good Saturday to enjoy time away from the rigors of work and have fun with my sons and that makes for good memories to enjoy for years to come.

Last Saturday I went fishing over in Tuscaloosa at my brother in law’s and fished a pond they stocked about three years ago with F1 Tiger Bass. If you have never fished a pond or lake with a good stock of those bass and you get the chance, DON”T pass it up! These fish hit like a normal bass twice their size and are great fighters all the way to the bank or boat.

Even though the weather was sunny and HOT, they were still relatively active and I caught 26 or 27 and kept 6 to fillet for a future meal, before retreating from the heat to go visit my sister and brother in law who live within site of this particular pond. After a 3 hour visit, I returned at dusk to the pond for what I thought would be the best action of the day and on the first cast, I had a big girl with a bad attitude nearly snatch the reel from my hand! I finally reeled her in and did the “Bill Dance” thing since we release all the biggest and smallest back in. I fished for another 30 minutes without a strike and called it a day. The bass had been much more active during the mid day when it was hot and windy than in the cooler, calm evening. I believe when the water got calm, they got spooky and would not bite. I had noticed during the day when they were biting best, I caught more fish in areas of the pond where the wind was pushing water than I did in the corners where the bank protected the surface from the wind.

But, isn’t that part of the best about being outdoors? Observing, considering, strategizing about which method, which materials, which presentation will bring you the desired results as you seek your quarry. Whether it is a big F-1 Tiger Bass, a limit of doves taken by finding the best “spots” in a field that the doves choose to fly over, Getting that deer stand set-up down wind over a promising deer trail or finding the strut zone of an old boss gobbler. Those are the cerebral stimulating exercises in the outdoor world and I love each of them so much that life without hunting, fishing and the shooting sports would be a terrible torture for me.

Next Weekend is the HUGE World Deer Expo in Birmingham so I will be right back up at the BJCC to enjoy some more outdoor sports indoors! Hope to see you there! Check it out !  http://www.birminghamdeershow.com/

Until next week,

Post Oak OUT……. doors

Gun Show Picks 7-14-12

Gun Show Finds, Old Shotguns and Bayonets found today at the gun show in Birmingham. postoak

 

The Things I do for my Wife!

Farm Pond Bass Fishing is Great!

Postoak with a nice Bass !

I got up a little before daybreak this morning, jaw set, mind made up that today I was going to get a serious amount of yard work done! Weed trimming, limb trimming, pool cleaning, a couple of minor repairs to the old home were all “as good as done” in my mind. But, then, I walked out on the back porch to sit and drink my morning coffee and when I swung the door open, I heard it and felt it in the air, RAIN!

It was a light rain that was so silently falling, I was clueless until that point that I swung open the door. My first thoughts were “well that will make for a good cool work day” and my resolve was not shaken. Three to five “sips” later and I felt that resolve melting in the soft morning rain. I thought about how I needed to drive my wife over to her dad’s place in west Alabama so she would not have to.

After all, she has been on vacation since the third and working hard with my youngest son and his fiancee’ on wedding plans and shopping all over the place so she is very tired! I thought about how I could be good to her, see her dad, who I love like a father, and provide help and encouragement in her efforts to support him like she does every other weekend when she travels to his home to buy, groceries, cook him some hot meals and make him some storage meals, she is a very good daughter to him.

Plus, If I took her over there, I could go fishing! Not that I really want to, but there is not much more for me to do and the lakes at my brother in law’s place are just 20 minutes up the road, well 30 minutes, but what is 10 more minutes. If the weather stays cloudy, the fishing would be great! Not that I really care, I am just trying to pass some time while she spends time with her father and I need to get out of the way. She really just needs my support for a little while any way and for me to drive her over there in my new truck.

Man, the things I do for my wife! Like driving her over to her dad’s in my new truck that I really don’t want to drive and listen to the new XM radio and play with the “Nav” ”Sync” and ”Blue Tooth” systems. But, I will do it! Then I will get out of the way so she can spend quality time with her dad! I Will be a good husband and get out of the way by going fishing! Besides, my fishing tackle is ready to go, all I got to do is walk out to the shed and grab it and a cooler for some obligatory cold refreshments (Diet Cokes) to accompany me to the lake.

I wonder if my wife understands the things I give up for her! Like a whole weekend of lost yard work just so I can drive her over yonder in my new truck and then stay outdoors and away all day so she can enjoy time with her dad while I am fighting mosquitoes and grappling with smelly fish and consuming some cold liquids to avoid a heat stroke while I keep a sharp eye out for a big old water moccasin! Dang! I am a pretty good feller!

Just a few words about my new truck, I recently bought a new Ford (the King of trucks) from Stiver’s Ford in Montgomery. I didn’t want to, but my 2007 F-150 Lariat was approaching 150,000 miles so I figured it was time. I drive about 30,000 miles a year and needed to make the move. I reluctantly bought an F-150 Lariat that is loaded with more ”bells and whistles” than I wanted, but they made me a deal that was so good, even I was able to afford it! If you want to get you a new Ford truck or Car, go see Gary Montgomery at Stiver’s Ford. I am a very skeptical buyer and had viewed their commercials as just that, promises from a car dealer. But, with me, price does sell me a truck and they proved their point!

An upcoming Outdoor event in the near future that you really should attend is the Alabama Deer Expo in Birmingham set for July 20,21, and 22. I have attended it every year since it was just a little show, now it is a Monster of a show! You will have a great time and if you are like me, it will help you make it through another hot summer while you anticipate our fall hunting seasons! Check it out!http://www.birminghamdeershow.com/

Until next blog, I am gone fishing today! (for my wife)

~postoak~