Did you ever have a thought strike you about a trip that occurred several years ago and find yourself trying to count the number of friends who were on that trip that might still be living?
That happened to me just here recently and some of the names involved will probably spark a memory or two for some of you readers. There were a couple of instances that happened on the jaunt that were quite amusing at the time and should still bring a smile or two.
The event happened to be a trip to Toledo Bend Lake that runs along the Texas and Louisiana border; in fact, a fishing license from either state sufficed as far as fees are concerned.
There were eight in the party that had reservations at Lowe's Creek on the Texas side of the reservoir. There was a majority of those who were either Democrats at the time or who had been at one time, which figured into a piece of the humor.
The last town we passed through was Hemphill, Texas.
Just before this we entered an intersection at which there was a six-pack of refreshment being passed from one vehicle to another along side each other. Unbeknown to us, a state trooper was behind us and saw what was in progress and turned on his lights. His admonishment was to make sure the driver isn't partaking.
Naturally, it required two vehicles for the party and all their gear. Included in the group were: Bill Easley, Jim Patterson, Cecil Davis, Don Carr, Herschel Stehlik, Bob Mitchell, Almon Maus and Joe Ellis who had fished together previously, not as a group but individually.
Lowe's Creek was a good camp. Units were modular, and we paired off two to each one. The facility had made arrangements for guides for each pair in the lake that had only boat channels cleared of timber.
Roomies aren't in my memory, except Ellis and Davis took the big unit agreeing to do the food preparation. Each one in the party had brought their favorite foods, which were frozen for the trip.
At the first meal, Joe Ellis realized there were six potential Democrats in the group and made his announcement, that he would do the dishes so long as he wasn't criticized for his cooking. Anyone who did raise a question about the food would get kitchen police the remainder of the stay.
A cooking debt resulted after Don Carr threw a piece of spaghetti on the wall -- it stuck, and he declared the meal ready!
Actually, fishing wasn't all that productive, it was one of those instances where we should have been there yesterday or should have staid longer.
Guides worked hard, even in one day of extremely windy weather. One of them took a fancy at Joe's bringing his minnow bucket to the dock thinking a crappie fishing time might be possible. The guide, known as "strict" in those parts, told Joe "pick out a strong stump on the way out to the lake and he would let him out with his "minner" bucket and pick him up on the way back at noon."
The party all enjoyed this one.
The bait store at the resort was moneymaker since each morning there were stories about the catches on the previous day being on a particular bait, which was never the same as the day before. Everyone bought for that day's fishing.
Kids of the area made good pocket change with their electric knives at the cleaning station, often having a fisherman's catch cleaned by the time he gathered his gear and got to the car.
Of the eight in this party, four or half of them are no longer with us, which probably prompted this column more than anything else.
Cecil Davis, builder of a first resort on Table Rock Lake, Rod 'n' Reel Resort; Don Carr, KFC developer in several states; Almon Maus, Monett lawyer later serving on the Missouri Court of Appeals and Joe Ellis, Cassville lawyer and confident of the late Congressman Gene Taylor, both benefactors of Cassville in industrial development.
Oops! The information I had about leaf removal was accurate, except I had the name wrong. I called the contractor Chris Collins, when actually his name is Chris Yockey. He's professionally known as Yock. My only explanation is -- one of those senior moments.
A reminder: it's just three days from now, Dec. 7, the date 71 years ago that Japan pulled their sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, thrusting the U.S. into World War II.
It's now 17 days until the official beginning of winter.
And, in case you have forgotten, there are 21 more shopping days until Christmas. That would have been three shorter had Missouri's Blue Laws not been repealed years ago.