Wisdom From The Wood (11/06/2014)

Nov 14, 2014

I have always heard that history repeats itself and after the past week, I am a stronger believer in that happening. Sixty years ago on Halloween, Elaine York and Paul Woods were united in marriage. Very few people that I know would venture into the marriage on a date like that as there are all kinds of ghosts and goblins associated with Halloween.

We met at a church sponsored Halloween party at the Priest farm on Township Line Road. We hit it off and after two years of dating, decided to make it a permanent venture and to remember our first encounter by setting our wedding on that same holiday. (And besides, it would be easy for me to remember my anniversary date.)

Just about the only thing I can remember about that particular Halloween 60 years ago was the weather. It was bitter cold with a strong north wind. The next morning, the temperature had dropped to 8 degrees above zero. We did something I had planned without Elaine’s knowledge: a little duck hunting trip. Believe it or not, I carried her across a slough to the area that I figured to bag a duck or two. I manage to get a hen mallard.

Elaine had received a Good Housekeeping cookbook at one of the bridal showers and it contained recipes for cooking wild game. For wild ducks, it called for stuffing the body cavity with apples and pinning strips of bacon to the breast before baking. It was as good as Mom cooked.

As was written about last week, she was her dad’s fishing buddy and also held small game that he cleaned after a successful hunt. Before getting tied down with three kids 15 months apart, she did some fishing and even tried squirrel hunting but she had trouble locating the squirrels in hickory trees. Her hunting ventures were not as successful but she did catch her share of fish when she went.

The hunting and fishing tradition continued in our family as the two boys both were brought up with hunting and fishing training. Both sons were good at fishing.

While looking for pictures for our 60th anniversary celebration, lots of pictures turned up of successful catches and kills recorded on film.

I visited with one of my formed DAR workers the other day. When Bob Thacker opened the door and welcomed us in, one of the first things he said was “I sent the picture of Herb (Piper) to Bill (Herb’s son) the other day.”

snapper-smAnother find of Elaine’s in her photo search was a newspaper clipping of a former neighbor, Walt Weisbrod and the 80 pound alligator snapping turtle. He caught it in Black River on a trotline many years ago.

Weisbrod and his son Charles (both now deceased) were fishing in the Clay Banks area about three miles north of Poplar Bluff. Back in those days, large alligator snappers were frequently caught in both Black and St. Francis rivers. Those turtles are on the endangered species list at the present time.

The most recent large one that I have heard of was caught by Leroy Romine on upper Black River. He showed it to a boat load of anglers as they came by where he was tied. He had the turtle on a rope and one of those in a boat took a paddle to get the turtles head where he could see it and lost a chunk of his paddle as the turtle bit it. Leroy said after the game warden checked it, he turned that monster loose. I don’t know if it was weighed or not, but it was a big one.

Most hunters this weekend had a young person in the woods trying for a deer but there was very little hunting in our particular area. My wife and I heard one rifle shot near the house but it wasn’t very close as I know the wind brought the sound to us, making it appear closer than it actually was.

My intentions were to go with my great-grandson, Brayden Glass, but with the wind blowing and the leaves drying out I didn’t think he would have any luck. Besides, our two families were better employed cutting firewood. We have 11 days coming up that we hopefully will put meat in the deep freezer.

There is one UKC wild coon hunt that is in reasonable driving distance of our area. Summersville will have a hunt November 8 with entries closing at 7:30 pm. It is a hunt only. A few years ago they had an active club but I haven’t seen advertisements on any event there in quite a while.

I’ll leave you with this parting thought: It is never too early to think about safety for the upcoming firearms deer season.