The high school graduation season is finally over. Saturday, June 6, Jean and I attended the Cooper High ceremony to shake hands with grandson Casey Williams and great nephew Travis Darden. Congrats to all the graduates. At the reception I talked with long ago student of mine, Charley Jackson. During track season Coach Silman and I would carry the boys to Liberty Grove near where Coach Falls now lives and have them run to our primitive track at the football field. Many times I would run back with them while coach Silman drove the bus and encouraged the stragglers. I took a lot of pride in beating all the young men back to the track. Then along came Charley. Try as I might, he would always beat me, then turn around with his big grin as I came in a few seconds behind him. Charley was an exceptional runner, winning a lot of awards in his fourteen years as a Marine sergeant. He told me he lives in Paris now and still runs five miles each morning. Charley has always been an inspiration and a winner.
The graduation fever has even spread to the newspapers. Recently I got a giggle from looking at a cartoon in the Dallas Morning News. You know how independent most cats are and you can’t get them to do anything unless they want to. This cartoon showed an empty auditorium complete with podium and microphone. A banner stretched above the stage declared, “CAT OBEDIENCE SCHOOL GRADUATION.” You see, the seats were all empty because none passed the obedience class.
The morning after graduation, Jean and I left for Galveston at 5:30. Several fish such as whiting, sharks, catfish, red drum, and lady fish were caught although action was slow. Junior and Carol fished with us and Junior caught a four foot eight inch shark that put up quite a battle. The first three days gave us green water and low wind. Then, after a few days of high waves and rain we decided to start home. During our week stay, Ronny and Anita Glossup happened to be in the area doing genealogy work. They came by to visit two days and we rode around Galveston. At a stop sign we were behind a car with a fish emblem on the back. You may remember years ago in this column it was mentioned about the fish being a secret sign used by Christians to identify each other. I told Ronny most of the fish are facing left and some people say if the fish is facing right it is possibly a devil worshipper or someone anti-Christian. The next day on our trip home I got behind another car and it had a fish on the back. Would you believe the fish was pointing straight up? What are the odds to be talking about the fish emblems and the next day see my first one ever pointing up?
As the Glossup’s rode around with us we talked about shredding pastures. Both Ronny and I have heard older folks call it “threading.” My grandfather McFadden lived south of Paris near Glory and always used the threading term. They do sound a lot alike. The late Willis Gene Smith of Sulphur Bluff was originally from Fouke, Arkansas. We both have heard him call it threading. How far does “threading” go? How many of you have heard this variation of shredding?
The third weekend each June, the Owa Chito Festival is held at Beavers Bend State Park—except for this year. Due to the flooding the event has been moved to Broken Bow City Park. The dates of June 18-20, this coming weekend, will stay the same. Free admission. Lots of fun and games for all ages. No canoe races this year. Thursday night entertainment will be a Battle of the Bands with Mud Feather, Jim Smithart, and Two Gun Justice. Friday night will be Jerry Tims Band, Red Roots, and Debra Black. Saturday night will be the winner of the Battle of the Bands and headliner Mac Powell. Mac was born on Christmas Day 1972 in Clanton, Alabama. He was a member of the Third Day Band. In 2001 he won the Gospel Music Association Award for male vocalist of the year. I listened to him on the internet and he sounds a lot like Brooks and Dunn. Next year the festival will be back at Beavers Bend if the weather cooperates.
Last week the flathead catfish was discussed until I ran out of room. Here is some more about the “ap.” Average length is 25-46 inches. The world record of 123 pounds and 61 inches long was caught in Kansas. Maximum recorded lifespan is 24 years. Males are able to reproduce at four years of age when six inches long. Females at five years and seven inches. Range is east to the Atlantic, south to the Gulf, west to Arizona, and north to Canada. These catfish cannot live in full strength salt water which is 35 parts per thousand but will survive in five ppt. They prefer live prey. Size of egg clutch varies with size of the fish. They lay 2600 eggs per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body weight. Raising this species in commercial farming operations has not been successful due to their tendency for cannibalism. Many people regard the flatheads as having the best meat of all catfish. (With me it is a close race between the blue, the flathead, and small channel cats fried whole. How well you trim red meat and fat has a lot to do with the taste.)
A deformed porpoise was accidentally caught from a large fishing ship. It had feet. As the men prepared to throw it back somebody suggested to get the ship doctor to amputate the feet so it would be able to swim like a normal porpoise. The doctor came down to look and would not remove the feet. He said that would be “de-feeting the porpoise.”