Take me back to a simpler time...

Discussion in 'General Conversation' started by Catcaller, Jan 29, 2006.

  1. Catcaller

    Catcaller New Member

    What is it that triggers those memories of your childhood to come back?

    For me sometimes it's a song on the radio. Or maybe rummaging through an old photo album over at grandmas house. Taking my kids hunting or fishing in old familiar childhood haunts jogs my memory too. Old familiar voices from family and friends that I haven't talked to in a spell does it for me as well.

    Memories of a typical fall weekend duck hunting trip when we were kids in the early 80's suddenly came flooding back to me this morning after I hung up from talking to one of my cousins on the telephone. We were 13 year old Kansas farm kids...and hunted every weekend together. I thought I'd share it with 'yall.

    There we were....

    Time was wasting...grandpa told us to be at the road by 6:00 pm. It's 5:42 pm...and the light is fading fast.

    I was wading through a 3/4 mile wide shin deep flooded and very muddy cut milo field with my 3 cousins...we were carrying what birds we killed, our guns, pocketfulls of leftover shells, multiple bags of decoys, ect....with a gorgeous fall sunset in the background splashed with hues of purple and orange.

    It was that few minutes of last daylight that there was left in the day. The time when you see nature at it's absolute best....and feel the connection to the land and your surroundings the strongest. You know what I mean...the time when you realize how small of a role you're playing in the bigger scope of things. It's also the time when the birds just get downright silly, and will come to even a mediocre caller and splash right down without even circling.

    There were clouds of Mallards still swirling and spirally splashing down into the flooded field and pockets of water behind us to feed and roost for the night....before continuing their southbound journey at first light. Distant V's of vigourously honking northern Greater Canadian Geese were on the horizon against the fading back drop of the sun. The distinct squeal of the Wood Duck pierces the thin...crisp...chilly air.

    We kept pressing on towards the road...still 1/2 mile away. You could hear the wind whistling beneath the wings of flights of various species of ducks passing over head...along with the peeps, quacks, and whistles that accompany each individual group of birds. Pintails...Gadwalls...Shovelers...Teal...but most of all...Mallards. Big northern jumbo green heads.

    Each step in the field almost pulls your rubber boots off in the sticky riverbottom mud. We were breathing hard...our breath crystalizing into fog as we panted and puffed as we trudged along in the slop...and still had a long ways to go.

    There on the distant dirt road...300 yards away or better...was my grandpa in his old gold '76 Chevy pickup...honking the horn for us to hurry up. After an eternity of wading through the mud...we were nearly at the road. But...there was still a 3 foot deep drainage ditch we had to cross before we could get to the truck. My grandpa knows this...and gets out of the truck in order to see the ensuing show. Under the guise of asking if we got any birds of course.

    Two of us just wade right through...no problem. My cousin Mike...the youngest of us four...and last in line of our single file formation...stumbled...and grabbed his brother from the rear to stabilize himself...and doing so...pulled them both down into the cold november ditch water...LOL.

    I remember my grandpa rolling with laughter...tears coming from his eyes... as the two practically got in a fist fight in the nearly hip deep water...cursing and yelling at each other. We finally got loaded up into the back of the truck...and rode the 3 miles back to the shop to clean our birds. Some of us were colder than others...LMAO.

    I sure miss those days...No deadlines or commitments. No responsibility other than school...making your bed...doing your homework...and helping grandma do the dishes after dinner....or maybe cleaning your shotgun after a weekend hunting expedition....or changing your line on your reels every so often.

    As a teenager...I know I had to have reloaded a million shotgun shells on my old single phase MEC reloader in my spare time down in the basement during the week....between hunts. ALWAYS looking forward to the next weekends late Friday afternoon, Saturday, and Sunday hunts my cousins and I had perpetually made plans to do.

    I now know how blessed I was to have been able to grow up a farm kid...and have access to hunting and fishing some PRIME pieces of riverbottom real estate. Places that now I have no right to. All one sees these days in those places is purple paint and/or no tresspassing signs....or even worse...LEASED.

    Looking back...I now know that it's very possible to be having the time of your life...and not even realize it.

    The only thing I enjoy more than reminiscing the old days...is teaching my still young son and daughters how to hunt and fish. Much like my grandpa taught me to do the same...back when everything was still new and exciting.

    It tickles me pink to see that spark of fascination and the light in my 5 year old youngest daughters eyes as she admires the crappie she reeled in all by herself....proclaiming it to be a "Leopard Fish".

    Maybe the good times really aren't over for good.
  2. shania

    shania New Member

    San Leandro, Ca
    Hey Catcaller,

    I just want you to know that I enjoyed reading your post this morning. Like you said - "A song on the radio", "Running into a old friend that you haven't seen since the Good Days of Old" or a "Photo Album" - will do it everytime.

    "It's Nothin' Like the Old School" or "The Good Old Days". :)

    As long as I keep the thoughts of the simpler times / I can overlook some of the things that's are going on in the world today.

    "Great Post" :thumbsup:

    You Take It Easy,

  3. T-Bone

    T-Bone New Member

    South of Dallas
    Y'all are right. Also I had one come to mind yesterday. I went to pick my sister up in Alexandria La. hadn't seen her in two years, on the way back we stoped to get a hamburger. Almost, at the same time we both said, that smell reminds me of when we were kids. We had one of those Ronco Hamburger makers. It made the whole house stink. Kinda burnt meat smell.
  4. fwmud

    fwmud New Member

    Wilson's Mills,nc
    catcaller, Man just had to "rep" you on this post!
    The memories flood back to me.
    I miss my dad so much and my uncles when i read something like this.
    Those are the people who taught me everything about life. My values, responsibility and everything else that is important.
    Thanks again.
  5. willisjj

    willisjj Guest

    Dang good post there. Thank you for that. My memories are very similar, growing up in N.E. Oklahoma and going duck hunting with my Dad. Not only duck, but geese, squirrell, dove, quail and more. I still remember how heavy my boots would get stomping through those muddy fields with numb feet and tired legs, my whole mind not focusing on that though as all my attention was on keeping my gun barrell out of the mud while at the same time watching where I was pointing. All the stuff I too am teaching my kids now. I sure miss those old days though and luckily my Dad is still around. We went with him after Chrismas on my 8 yr. olds first duck hunt which was nice. My son used the same single barrel breakover .410 that my Dad and me both started out on as kids. Anyway, thanks for the stories!
  6. Patmansc

    Patmansc Well-Known Member

    Greer, SC
    Pat Chaney
    That was a way excellent post, Catcaller, made me kinda misty remembering my dad & grandmother and those times "back in the days". Isn't it interesting that the values that we were taught back then are the same ones we teach or children and grandchildren today, even tho at times we weren't too enthusiastic about learning & practicing them ouselves? You should write some of your stories down so that they won't be forgotten.
  7. three_rivers

    three_rivers New Member

    Tupelo Ar
    Doood, its a tough life!;) LOL

    Brian great post! That brings me to the reason why i fish today. It takes me back to a place where time stands still...............
  8. Catcaller

    Catcaller New Member

    Ain't that the truth Danny. That's the reason I fish too. All the stress and worry in the "real" world stay behind as soon as I back out of my driveway. The only time I stress out when fishing is when my boat runs out of gas 3 miles downstream of the boat ramp. When that happens...you're in for a long walk...alone...while your wife stays behind and "guards" the boat. Lol. You ever been there and done that?

    Thanks everybody for the positive responses. That story was just part of a typical fall day spent afield when I was a kid. My grandpa and grandma raised me...and taught me the way to see things as they did. The way they saw things is getting to be a rarity these days...but it still does exist. You'll find it in small town America, and in families that still eat dinner together at the same table. Hopefully it's found where it matters the most...in your heart.

    I'm like Keith...I sorely miss my grandpa and my dad. Those memories like what I posted at the beginning of this thread are sometimes bitter sweet. Dad died going on 16 years ago...grandpa died in 2000. Grandma is 80 years old. It still seems to me that neither one should be gone...like it's not real. To go to their graves...which are side by side...is hard for me to do. As tough and level headed as those two made me by their example...on many occasions I have driven away from that cemetery with tears in my eyes.

    They live on in spirit...I can feel their hands guiding me as I teach my kids the basics of sportsmanship, and help them hone their outdoor skills and technique. I can feel them sometimes when I'm alone on the same old Neosho river that the three of us used to fish. Many times I'll have a voice in my head that tells me to anchor here and fish those holes you always pass up because they're too close to the boat ramp...Don't be in such a hurry! Be patient...why do you think they call it fishing and not catching! Or cast there...along that seam in the current. Or...you'd better not let that dog get away with doing that, or you'll always have problems with it....correct it NOW...while it's still a small problem.

    Is it me doing that?? If it is just my own thoughts...they sure do have the same ring and rhyme that grandpa or dad would use when they'd say it. Then again...maybe the acorn really doesn't fall far from the tree.

    Who's to say? All I know for sure is that I to this day am still working for the weekend...so I can get out on the Neosho and drown a few perch...and hopefully am able to catch a few of whatever I'm after.

    But...even if I don't catch anything...well...I guess that's ok too.
  9. Dano

    Dano New Member

    Catcaller, great post. I think about the past all the time.
    I do a lot of remembering/thinking when I go fishing.
    I miss the old days, also I miss my family , 2 brothers, Mom and Dad, . All have passed on . I'm only one left. I do have an Uncle, couple of cousins and Aunt that we are close too but they all live bout 275 miles from me. I'm lucky to have my 2 Sons, one Grand Daughter and wife of 25 years next month .
    I dont see life without them. The good old days I sometimes wish I could bring back.
  10. Ulizth

    Ulizth New Member

    St. Clairsville, Ohio
    Great post!

    Actually brought a tear thinking about old times . . .:crying: . . .

    Now that I put myself together, the only thing I have to say is:

    The only thing that ever stays the same is change . . .but that does not mean it has to be bad now. Life is what you make of it. It can still be grand in many ways.:)
  11. redneckdrum

    redneckdrum New Member

    GREAT POST CATCALLER! Kinda gives ya a l'il hope that thing's can git better in this world so we can relive life as we once knew it.
  12. Catcaller

    Catcaller New Member

    If 'yall would like to hear a few more stories like the first one...let me know...and I'll post another one. If I can manage to remember them...I have a ton of old memories from when we were kids growing up fishing and hunting the Neosho river valley back in the 70's and 80's.

    I just don't want to get annoying by over doing it, and repeating them if nobody wants to hear them. Let me know what 'yall think...and I'll go from there.

    Kinda busy today making preparations for the superbowl...but I'll check back probably tomorrow.


  13. shania

    shania New Member

    San Leandro, Ca
    Hey Brian,

    I'm busy with the same thing (gettin ready for the Superbowl). I'm having a few people over to watch the game, but talking about good times should always be looked at as a good thing.

    I like reading any post that puts a smile on my face. :)

    "Have Fun Today" :009:

    Take it easy,
  14. Itch2Scratch

    Itch2Scratch New Member

    Ivy Bend on LOZ, Missouri
    Brian thanks for the great post, it sure jogged a lot of memories with my Grandpa. Sure miss that Old man and the things my friends, cousins and brother did back in those days makes me wonder how we are still here...LOL.
    Appreciate your sharing.:)
  15. Catcaller

    Catcaller New Member

    Timeline: Fall 1980....

    I was spending the night with my cousin Ray and his brother Mike out at his grandma and grandpa's house. Ray and Mike stayed there with his grandparents every other weekend. The property was situated right next to Fly creek....waaaay out in BFE. (Not sure if everybody is familiar with the term BFE....but we used it alot. I'll give the BOC approved version in here....Bun Fudged Egypt. With a tiny amount of imagination...one can probably realize the term we used)

    During the daylight hours we'd traverse the 240 acres of his grandpas mostly wooded property...Mike usually carrying an old scoped Marlin 39A lever action .22 that belonged to his grandpa...Ray packing his grandpas 1960's Belgium Browning 12 gauge automatic... and his own Winchester .22 auto rifle...slung over his back. I was carrying my grandpa's Remington 1100 20 gauge lightweight...and a Remington pump .22 rifle...slung over my back.

    Ray and Mike's grandpa had no idea they had his guns out ACTUALLY using them, instead of letting them collect dust in the closet. But...the beauty of it was that he'd not miss them...one because he never used them...two because he wasn't home! Lol

    Their grandpa wasn't much of a hunter...preferring instead to work sunup to sundown in the fields....or whatever it was that he did. We didn't care what he did...as long as he left the house bright and early...allowing us to sneak out and put a few more miles on our boots. Their grandpa was a solemn and crotchity old man...and he would have thrown a major HISSY fit if he knew they were using his guns...but their grandma was much more understanding of our cause.

    She'd go to town and buy shells for the us three to shoot...and tell us..."Now you boys go out and have a good time...but be sure you have those guns back in the closet before your grandad gets back....or I'll be sleeping in the dog house....Again"...and then she'd laugh long and hard. I'm still not sure why she let us...we were just glad she did. There was probably more to the story...we always wondered if there was....but we never asked. Instead going by the old logic of "Never look a gift horse in the mouth". Lol

    She'd pack us some sandwiches, chips, candybars, Slim Jim beef jerky, and a six pack of Pepsi that she picked up in town along with the shells into an old Army ammo bag for us to eat during our frequent safaris into the wilderness of the southeast Kansas riverbottoms. She'd tell us to be sure and get her a few rabbits and squirrels...or even better...a few quail for her to cook up. Looking back today at her kind old soul...I sure do miss her. They just don't make people like her much anymore it seems like.

    We'd start down the trail leading out of the backyard...past the numerous sheds that dotted the area of the yard...the cows looking nervously at us as we locked and loaded our weapons. We always had more than enough shells...we would stash our unused ammunition from the last trip in the loft of the old barn as we would head back in....and then tell Ray's grandma that we ran out shooting at turtles in the back pond...so's she'd bring us back more than she usually would have...had we still had leftovers. She was more than happy that we'd kill the turtles...she used to cuss them out loud for eating her chicken liver as she'd try to catch catfish.

    After we retrieved the stashed shells from the "ammo dump"...as we called it...we'd come to the low water creek crossing...wade through Fly creek...all the while just itching to catch movement around the creek banks. A hapless turtle, frog, or snake was just plain SOL. (Shoot out of Luck...once again using a little imagination fills in the blank...lol)

    We'd trudge up the steep bank on the other side of the creek...crossing the fence at the low spot that we could crawl underneath it. From this point on was a cow free zone...meaning free game to fire at will....although we were always aware of the direction of which way our bullets would fly.

    Ray and I were the more accomplished hunters...Mike being 3 years younger than us. Who was the best shot between the two of us? That subject at times raised considerable debate...raging at times. We'd shoot at turtles with our .22's in the local ponds and creeks...keeping score as we did so. It was always an even outcome. As far as shotguns...we never bothered to keep track...we were both also equally good wingshooters as well. Not many birds escaped if they flushed within range.

    Ray and I used to tear up the local turkey shoots. I can't remember how many times we'd shoot all day and miss very rarely shooting at the clay pigeons they throw over the Neosho river. It wasn't uncommon for us to win a dozen turkeys during one shoot.

    Anyhow...back to the creek crossing....Ray and I would carry the shotguns at the ready for flushing quail...Mike was the eye in the sky. He'd watch for squirrels as we scanned the ground for birds and rabbits. Taking special care to approach silently as we neared one of the 4 ponds on the property...just in case there were ducks sitting on one of them. We'd even pass up easy shots at a squirrel or a rabbit to avoid spooking a duck off the pond. It was nothing for us to belly crawl 50 yards or even more in order to get into range to pop a few rounds at a few resting teal, a sprig of pintail, or a raft of greenhead mallards. That was big and exotic game for us back then.

    We would keep pushing on...past 2 more ponds...taking time to kick every brushpile...and wading through the huge blackberry patches in an effort to flush something for us to shoot at. Most times we knew exactly where we were going. We were headed for the back pond...which had a nice stand of cedar trees next to it. The ground inside the batch of cedars was free of the briars and brambles that the rest of the place was ate up with.

    We'd get there...and first things first.... start unloading my backpack that we always made Mike carry. Then we'd make Mike go gather fire wood...while Ray and I set up camp. We'd erect the tarp lean to. Gathering bundles of cedar boughs to pad the ground we'd sit on. Then comes building the ceremonial fire. We'd make a green willow rotisserie to roast some of what we had managed to shoot thus far on our trek through the woods to the camp site.

    Next came opening the can of pork and beans or progressive chili I had snuck out of my grandmas pantry before I had left my house. We'd cook it in the mess kit my grandpa had got for me at the Army surplus store.

    We'd then disassemble the sandwiches his grandma had packed for us...frying the baloney or salami on the fry pan over the open fire. Those were some of the finest meals I ever remember eating. Fried baloney...beans...and roasted rabbit, squirrel, quail, or the occasional bonus duck....and drinking the by now warm cans of Pepsi. Good stuff Maynard....we'd say...Lol.

    After our meal....we'd tie the backpack to a piece of nylon cord...and hoist it above the ground with whatever grub we had left over...as to avoid a marauding critter from raiding our afternoon lunch as we went back out on the hunt.

    We'd then Rambo across the neigboring farmers fence...traveling light...and raid the forbidden hunting grounds of old man Martin's property. We never did get caught...but it was evident to the three of us that we could not be taken alive by the crazy old man...who would shoot us on sight as he constantly patrolled his property. We just knew it....Lol. We made a pact to NEVER leave anybody behind if he managed to wound one of us.

    We'd always get more game on his property...because no one was allowed to hunt on it. After the great raid...we'd cross back over from Indian country to friendlier confines...and go back to our camp.

    Time for round two...we'd stoke back up the fire...and cook some more grub. Afterwards....sitting around the fire underneath the cedar trees...we'd talk about the things on our 11 year old minds. Serious issues....like what would we'd do in case of nuclear war. We had plans to hijack Ray's dad's truck and drive north to the Canadian border and live off the land...just like what we were doing at that moment. I had sent off for a Canadian tourism map...we'd take it along inside my backpack...hilighting our route with a yellow magic marker...and plotting our escape from the ensuing holocaust. writing down on a piece of notebook paper all the supplies we'd need...insulated clothes (After all...Canada does have a cold winter)...our guns....my reloader...fishing poles and tackle...a few cases of strike anywhere matches...water purifier tablets...an outiftter tent with a wood stove in it just like the one in Cabela's...and a few cases of pork and beans. We planned on killing or catching everything else to feed ourselves...Lol.

    We'd sit there for hours talking away the afternoon....making plans for the future...cutting up...and teasing poor Mike mercilessly. When you're a kid...out all alone...shooting game...and having a base camp to fall back on...in the company of what really amounted to your brothers...nothing else really mattered....EXCEPT....getting those guns back in the closet before Ray's grandpa got back home. Which was still a few hours away.

    And when you're 11 years old...that's an eternity.
  16. rednecksportsman511

    rednecksportsman511 New Member

    Birmingham, AL
    Great post, catcaller.
    I always remember my childhood days when I think about runnin around the woods in the summer and not havin a care in the world. Wasn't that long ago, but it sure seems like it.
  17. Deltalover

    Deltalover New Member

    Tracy Calif
    Good stuff Catcaller! A great story to keep a great tradition alive! Those were the days!
  18. SilverCross

    SilverCross New Member

    Fairbury, Illin
    Great posts Catcaller, sure kicks up a lot of memories. Wish I could go back to the fifties or sixties and just stay there. You never had to lock your house back then or your car. A fist fight was all that happened and when one went down the fight was over, now you get shot instead. Thinking about the hours spent out around the creek. I use to start fishing at 5am and quit at 9 pm, then when I got home dad and I would clean all the fish. Next day mom would make us a great meal. I was never lucky enough to know either of my grandpa's but my moms mother was fantastic.

    Hey Dano, what day is your anniversary, ours is the 27th of March and it will also be 25 yrs.
  19. olefin

    olefin New Member

    Thanks for those great and very interesting stories!

    It brought back memories of school days, of saving my lunch money for a couple days to buy a box of 22 shorts.

    My grandparents were long gone by the time I came along. I've enjoyed the stories my brothers told me about them. Also I've never had any grandsons... my granddaughters are not much into fishing, guns or hunting.