I’m sitting here at my computer on the first day of 2018….Oops…2019. I’m betting I’m not the only one who will have trouble remembering that last year is gone and will have to adjust to writing the correct date of the new one.
At any rate, I have looked back over what I have written about over the past year to share some of the ups and downs; the good and the not-so-good that took place during the past 12 months.
To begin, let me put to rest the assumption that as an outdoors writer, I always use my “skill and expertise” to take my share of wild game. Not so in 2018. I didn’t get a wild turkey gobbler nor did I waylay a deer. I suppose I’m stuck with having to eat chicken, pork and beef in 2019.
The first bit of excitement that created a stir around our area and triggered a column from yours truly was around the middle of January when we had a significant snow fall in north Louisiana. Writing about the rarity of the event in these parts, I commented…” There’s something about a southern snow that puts us in a holiday mood. Part of the reason is that we so seldom see it and our area is not equipped with snow removal equipment. When is the last time you saw snow blowers, snow shovels, snow mobiles and sleds for sale at a local hardware store?”
In February, I was privileged to visit the Union Parish Museum of History and Art and not only viewed the amazing works of artists/photographers/wood carvers et al making their homes in our area, I got to meet several whose works I have admired for years. What a privilege it was to finally get to shake the hands of photographers like Monroe’s Burg Ransom and Choudrant’s gifted artist, Ronnie Barnes.
Fast forward to summer when Ruston had a rare visitor that wandered around town, through carports and back yards. A black bear spent the better part of two days and nights around town eluding capture until my column on July 15 reported this … “Ruston apparently has a big appetite for donuts. We have shops selling Southern Maid donuts; Daylite Donuts; In and Out donuts; and you can get Krispy Kremes at the grocery store. Not only do Rustonites love donuts; so do bears…..In a moment, the bear began sniffing the air catching the scent of the mouth-watering pastries, made his way to the trap, polished off the donuts on the outside of the cage trap and then stepped inside. End of story; the bear was finally captured and Ruston neighborhoods could now rest easy.”
In May, I reported a “wacky” story about fishing. Several years ago, my brother told me about one of the best ways to catch bass; fish with a ‘wacky” worm. This procedure involves taking a straight-tailed plastic worm, sticking a hook at the half-way point so half of the worms dangles from each side of the hook. All you have to do is cast it out and retrieve it with a slow stop-and-go procedure.
I visited a friend’s pond last May and on the first cast, I caught a 5 ½ pound bass. Two weeks later, I fished another pond and since the worm was still in good shape, I caught and landed a 4 pound bass and a few casts later, a 3 pounder. All on the same old rather beat up wacky worm. It’s still on my fishing rod and this spring when I fish again, I’ll have a new plastic worm ready for the hook but be assured, I’m going to give the old worm one more try before retiring it. It does not seem right to abandon a friend that has been so faithful.
Speaking of faithful friends, over my 45 years of writing this column I am humbled at those of you who have stuck with me through all the ups and downs. Thank you and I hope when 2019 (see, I’m getting use to writing it!) comes to an end, we’ll still be good buddies.