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Walking To Charleston And Bad Dreams by Eddie Trapp, January 22, 2015

From my ledger back in 1986-1987. Tuesday, December 30, 1986. While out for the Christmas/New Year holidays several of us walked from my house on Highway 19 to Charleston. Our game was coons, crows, and coyotes. After hitting Brush Creek we traveled south toward South Sulphur. Our crew was Billy, Hunter, and Matt Poteet, Cade Alley, Larry Trapp, Greg Williams, and me. A coyote ran across the France Meadow but we couldn’t get a shot. Two drives were made in the narrow strip of timber between Brush Creek and Post Oak Creeks. Some of us would circle ahead and hide while the others walked toward us. No coyotes were seen on the drives. At the levee break east of Highway 19 Bridge, Billy found a five foot long rat snake that we call a chicken snake. Unusual for this time of year.
Since coon skins are bringing a good price this year they were on our agenda. Larry saw a coon in a fork of a tree and we shot it. When we would see a hole in a tree we would climb up and have a look. Usually this is a productive winter method for finding coons but not today. At the levee break we turned east through the Indian Mounds and moved on. By 3:00 we decided it was time to turn northeast and walk across open pastures in order to get to the Charleston Store before dark. Most of us had on rubber boots but the others feet got cold as water came over the tops of their leather hunting boots.

Tuesday, January 6, 1987. Jean went to Austin for a few days for job training updates. She has to take a test in a few days. I went to see Cooper play Chisum. We never got started. One of the worst defeats I remember as we lost by forty nine points. Officials called terribly. We would have lost anyway but they made it worse. Saturday, January 10, 1987. Ronnie Green, Norris Click, Jason Toon, Bret Williams, and a few more camped out in a shed on the Worden place at Longridge.

Sunday, January 11, 1987. Jean came home from Austin tired and depressed about 9:30 last night. Worried about test. I guess it caused her to dream wild dreams such as follow. Greg was playing in some woman’s barn and it caught on fire. Jean was stomping on the fire as it came out from the underpinning. A man in Cooper had a snow making machine and was covering his house with snow. A mean man was cutting peoples’ heads and arms off. A bear was after somebody running them up the side of a mountain. She was either so worn out from the Austin trip or the dreams that she slept until 2:00 p.m. After church Bret and I drove two pickups to Red Branch at Kensing and left one. Dean Houchins and I had a boat that came untied and we were going to float to Kensing to look for it. Left Bluff Bank at 2:20 and floated east. Dean got cold on the way, got out at the Woodard place at Longridge, and walked out across the pastures to find a telephone to call for someone to come get him.

On the trip we saw beavers, ducks, and deer. Since my pickup was on east at Red Branch I needed to get on down there before dark. I was afraid I couldn’t make it in time and would not see the small mouth of Red Branch. At 5:11, I passed the mouth of Lake Creek. I would paddle a while then dip water out of the small, leaking boat a while. At 5:33, I got to Red Branch and tied the small boat. Maybe the lost boat will show up someday. It is the V bottom we call the Mississippi Queen that Larry and I floated on the Mississippi River back in 1984 going to the World’s Fair. Today, South Sulphur was running about four feet high and the trip from Bluff Bank to Red Branch took a little over three hours just floating and not paddling much.

Sunday, January 18, 1987. Last Sunday afternoon Dean and I floated the river looking for the Mississippi Queen. This afternoon I was hanging around the Charleston Store and Larry called the pay phone. He wanted to float from Kensing to Highway 37 and look for the lost boat. Dan Worden and Shane Ingram rode with us to Kensing and dropped us off. I paid them ten dollars to drive Larry’s pickup to Highway 37 and leave it so we would have a ride home. River still up several feet. Left Red Branch floating about 2:30. Big power lines crossing river at 6:05. To bridge at 7:00 after dark. Saw lots of beavers on the way. Larry had a small headlight. We had a gallon bucket with a charcoal fire in the boat to warm our hands and feet. Thirty five degrees. Snowed some. Water in the bottom of the boat was frozen by the time we got home. To be continued.

Now up to 2015. Billy McCarter continues to show out as Saturday he fished from the bank by himself at Cooper Lake and caught fifteen blue catfish. The largest was 53 pounds. Yes, 53. Weighed on accurate scales. He sent me a picture. The picture weighed two pounds. Several more of the blues were in the twenties and thirties. Billy releases all the big fish and only keeps the smaller ones. Friday, Junior Larkin and I launched a boat at Doctors Creek and barely squeezed through the shallow place at the mouth of the cove. Water temperature ranged from forty next to the bank to forty two out in the middle. Fishing was slow but we hope for better this week.

Old sayings: Useless as a milk bucket under a bull. Better a plow mule than a crippled horse. Busier than a one eyed cat watching nine mouse holes. Why a blind man on a running horse could see that.
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