SPRING BREAK, 1987 FEBRUARY 19, 2015 #1371
In 1987, I carried Greg Williams and Jason Daniels on a spring break camp out/fishing expedition to Red River but rain forced us to leave our first camp on dirt roads. We moved from the Chicota area to the Kiamichi River Bridge on Highway 109 in Oklahoma. From my ledger. Monday, March 16, 1987. A gravel road led from the highway down under the ancient bridge where we found a nice camping area. There was even a fish cleaning table with running water. A boat ramp would allow us to launch and fish in either the Kiamichi or motor three miles down to the Red River. Two men came to run their lines. It was a Mr. Cain from Paris and his friend, Mr. Justice from Hugo. We talked awhile and they knew where my house was on Highway 19. Cain was related to the Trapp’s in Hugo and therefore a distant cousin of mine. Cains and Trapps have married back and forth for over a hundred years.
Somebody had given me a Catahoula type dog a few weeks earlier. Jean just hates that dog since he digs in her flower beds, tears up paper sacks in the yard, and does anything he can to aggravate her. I knew better than leave him at home or he might mysteriously disappear while I was on this fishing trip. I already had a dog named Pete that looked a lot like the new one so I named him Re-Pete. The men were hog hunters and went almost every week end. They sure did like the looks of young Re-Pete. Said they would try to trade me out of him when they got back from checking lines. They left in their boat, Jason and Greg set out throw lines, and I cooked the catfish we bought at the fish market by Red River. Justice and Cain came back with their fish, a seven pound ap and ten buffalo from 6-18 pounds.
The men sat by our fire a while and we talked. Justice offered me fifty dollars for Re-Pete. I was sorta flabbergasted to hear that I could have all that money for a dog that Jean had told me not to bring back home. She will probably give me twenty dollars more just for getting rid of him. While I was digesting all that, Justice must have thought I didn’t want to sell Re-Pete, and before I could accept the fifty dollar offer, he offered me sixty. The deal was made and we talked hog hunting. They told me a place I could hunt. Got to a big store at Messer, Oklahoma. One mile west then north three miles. Take right at crossroads and it dead ends at 22,000 acres of government land.
The men hooked up their boat, loaded Re-Pete, and headed home. Said they would be back in the morning. While the boys guarded camp I drove north to Fort Towson for groceries. Back at camp I fried pork chops, potatoes, and onions. After we ate, two men came up in an old pickup with a fourteen foot aluminum boat and a ten horsepower Evinrude. They were going to check their nets. Since I wanted to see how the locals fished I offered them five dollars to let me go with them. They said I could just go free. Downriver a half mile we came to their first net where they had caught a seventy pound ap the week before. Their net had four inch mesh and was nine feet deep. It was tied so it had a “belly” shape and after allowing for the curve was only was five feet tall. They said an eight pound fish was about the smallest the net would catch. The net went completely across the Kiamichi. Corks held the top part of the net open while heavy weights were enough to sink it to the bottom. They called it a drop gill net. Nothing was in the net today and they took it up since rain was in the forecast and it might get washed away if there is a big rise.
This is a quiet place. Sometimes it is two hours between cars crossing the bridge. To bed at 9:00 and by 11:00 it was raining and lightning. Although we were under the bridge it was high enough that the strong wind was blowing rain in on our tents.
Tuesday, March 17, 1987. Stayed awake a lot last night. All our stuff was soaked. Raining steady at 6:30. Three inches of water in my tent. The boys were on higher ground and dry. Somehow we were able to start a smoky fire up under the bridge. Boat full of water. My transistor radio said Mt. Pleasant got seven inches of rain last night. The rain was still going strong at 10:00 that morning so I told the boys to load the gear while I went to take up the trotlines. An eel was all I caught on the lines. I went to the boys’ lines and they had two drum, or gaspergou. The boys laughed about catching more fish than I did. Loaded boat and started home. The Sun came out. Took scenic route home. North to Ft. Towson then to Hugo Lake spillway. Watched people fishing. One guy caught a fifteen pound ap on a lure. On through Hugo and Paris. Home about 2:30 after a fun, but wet, trip.
One liners from Bob Hope. A bank is a place you can go to borrow money if you can prove you don’t need it. A James Cagney love scene is where he lets the other guy live. (For you young folks information, Cagney was always a tough guy in the movies.) She said she was approaching forty and I wondered from which direction. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for Bing Crosby and there’s nothing he wouldn’t do for me. That’s how we go through life, doing nothing for each other.