Saturday, May 30, 2015

My Taekwondo Instructor Passes...

Sad to say today my taekwondo instructor, 6th Degree Master J.D. Olford has passed away. It's been about three years since I worked out or taught a class at his school here in Lufkin but under his instruction Cathy competed for world champ forms and sparring, I competed for world champ forms and Morgan and Mary competed for world champ several times and taught at his school while going to high school and college. We were all state champs several times in our various age classes. You don't get that kind of instruction and through it those opportunities everywhere. 

Thanks J. D. for what you gave us. 


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Power of Water...

With serious threats of flood danger still existing here in Texas and the death toll from the storms still rising I have a few photos I took of people fishing the spillway behind the Lake Somerville Dam. It was quite a situation, possibly hazardous and certainty very wet. They were catching fish but I did not need fish that bad. 
Pretty good dam fishing area. Easy walk down steps to a nice casting platform along the spill way. 

At the top of the steps two big old flat footed game wardens were shaking down a little short man, checking his catch and his license. Folks bringing their catches up the steps were sitting ducks to be checked. I felt a bit sorry for the little short man and if I had been coming up the steps with fish I think I would have told those game wardens to try and write a ticket to some one their own size. 

Guy in the white shirt on the near left and the man and woman in hats are the ones that know what they are doing. People tossing a cast net over the rail got a ton of shad to use for bait. The successful people were catching undersize hybrid stripes (must be 18 inches) and tossing them back. Most seemed close enough for a measurement but no cigar. That's a pretty good fish 3-4 pounds to throw back.  They were also catching lots of fresh water drum. 

I wondered what fresh water drum did with themselves before dam spill ways were invented. Drum can be pretty good eating but must be eaten very fresh, never frozen or they will be rubbery to chew. 

This guy shows his brother in law what he does each weekend. Not a well centered photo but shows the fish on  a stringer and the water they are standing in. 

A good fish in the net and note that one guy has an umbrella out. 
I posted the last photo yesterday. It's Yegua Creek on it's way to the Brazos River. Flooding on the Brazos is reported up around Fort Worth so all that water will soon meet all this water. Also noted was much high water along the Navasota River which also joins the Brazos. 

Prayers for all in Texas affected by this flooding. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Camp Catfish...

Ok so we did it. Camped at Lake Sommerville on about the rainiest weekend of the year. Stuck it out pretty good till the ranger came by right after last night's fish fry and mentioned tornadoes headed our way. He said if it hits all camping in tents need to get in Pop and Geneva's camper. In a tornado I am not really sure what good that would do other than we all face disaster in close quarters.  

We never got to launch the boat as the ramps were all flooded. To give you a bit of an idea how much the lake was coming up here is a photo. Look closely and at the edge of the floating debris that was a trial to the water's edge you can see a small stick Geneva stuck.  The water came 6' passed it over night. The plastic tall stick I stuck and over night it came up one foot, stabilized and held several days. 
Then on Monday morning after Friday night's rain this is what happened. Those sticks are somewhere out there under a rise of at least 20 feet up the bank. 

This is where the the dam empties into Yegua Creek which runs to the Brazos River. I know there are a lot of flood pictures on the internet today that make this seem pretty minor but as with many dams around Texas you can't let it out fast enough. 

This is Camp Catfish after Friday nights rain. 
If we had stayed one more night I think there would have been more water than this. We were lucky weather wise. 

Rocks a rain coat. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Crossing Over...

With all the rain we have had lately crossing over to the other side has been a problem. Lots of flooded roads and some of those are roads that have never flooded before. There have even been some local sink holes and washed out bridges. I personally have not have had any trouble crossing anything lately but a while back on various road trips I had some thoughts on crossing over. They were brought on by driving across bridges to get where I was going. I was traveling, thinking and making photos and sometimes while making the photos I made crossing over the various bridges and roadways harder than it should have been. 

Couple of photos crossing Lake Charles. 

The Atchafalaya Basin. 

Crossing The Mississippi at Baton Rouge

More South Louisiana swamp.  

Crossing over to Galveston island.

Sometimes you run into alligators crossing. Most of the crossings I made photos of were less than ideal. For one thing they are a bit hazy and distorted looking through the windshield. There is fast moving, crowded traffic.There there are the other people in my car. They holler at you and distract you because I am usually driving and they go something like "well if you are going to make pictures let me damn drive!" At least I'm not texting but you get get the idea. Crossing over can be made hard. 

I'd like to think about crossing over like this. There are no photos to make. It's not hazy but it is dark. It's a nice soft dark and not pitch black can't see where you are going dark and things you reach for are just kind of at your hand. You stand at the edge of the water, no high bridge, no streaking traffic, no powerful auto with padded seats but instead there is a narrow boat with a seat just right for you to settle into. The boat is steady and instead of the need for a don't fall in the water grip on the close gunwales your hands fall easy, comfortable to the sides. The air across the water is restful, fresh and you are dressed just right in comfortable loose clothes for the ride. 

And what a ride it is. It's quiet and smooth. No other traffic on the water and strangely enough no lights on the water or on the shore and no cell phone towers blinking in the distance. No water spray and even in the dark you know not to worry about striking an unseen object. There is no work or worry and when the boat noses to the other shore you are out with out getting a foot wet. 

It's the other side. Safe and sound. We make lots of crossings. I'm going to try to make sure I try to make them feel like they should. 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Remembering My Cousin Billy Wayne...

My cousin Bill Wiley or Billy Wayne as we called him passed away yesterday at age 74. His funeral service will be Tuesday in Osceola, Arkansas. I know a lot of my cousins are are sad and I am sad also but I do have Billy Wayne's visit to Texas last summer as a good fresh remembrance and I am glad of that time we spent together.   

Here are a bunch of those Wiley cousins. From the left is Billy Wayne's sister Mary Lou, me, in front is Betty Sue, my mom, Billy and Dixie. 

More cousins at a fish fry at my house, Justin, Billy Wayne, Glenn, Morgan and Cathy. 

Thanks to Billy Wayne's sister Mary Lou and husband Mike I have a trove of pictures of Billy Wayne. Here is some old ones. 
11th Grade Wilson, Arkansas High School

He was a Razorback. Second year University of Arkansas. Back in the old days the only frivolous long distance phone call we ever got to make was to talk trash when the Hogs played the Horns.  

With his mom Winnie Lou and dad Gilbert.

With sister Mary Lou. 

He was an old south Tabasco sweet tea kind of guy. 

Billy Wayne was preceded in death by his wife Sara. Of the nearly three thousand Wiley photos I have I could not find a real great photo of them together. It might be in there somewhere and I can add it later. Hope these fond remembrances and photos give some comfort to his kids Janet and Steven and the rest of the family.  

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Strand of Oaks...

Here's a band, Strand of Oaks that is not exactly new to us but they are out with an album released in 2014, Heal that is a more electric, more rocking than the folky type sound on a cd we had by them called Leave Ruin.  Stand of Oaks is essentially a guy called Tim Showalter. We saw them at the Hogs for the Cause BBQ Cook Off in New Orleans. They are playing all the big festivals this summer. 
Seems over the past few years Tim has had some challenges. Marriage broke up. His house burned down. I think a period of homelessness. A bad car wreck. According to the internets some problems with weight. Somehow through all this he decided to rock out. The songs still have some sad content and is music of alienation as with the title "Heal" it's to make you better. I think he is happier playing and rocking these songs out. This band had a huge electric sound. 

This was a new guy in the band. I did not get his name but this was his third show with this group. You would not have guessed it the way they played together. These all seem to be dedicated Fender Musical Instrument guys, amps and guitars. That's a big headstock late 60s-early 70s Competition Mustang Guitar. It's hacked up with a humbucker pickup added in the neck position. 

Left handed bass dude. A rocker. 

As I say pretty huge guitar sounds and both six string players seemed to be using extensive pedal boards I would have liked to get a look at to get a variety of really big reverby sounds. I made a friend while watching this band, the kind of friend who you just start talking about stuff you both like and never trade names or meet again. We talked about the guitar sounds and this guy said that he had worked for famed producer Daniel Lanois when he based himself in New Orleans recording albums for the Neville Brothers and Bob Dylan. I"m a big fan of Lanois and have many of his recordings and records he has produced and recently read his book "Soul Mining." 

Me and my friend hit it off so well that he later brought his boyfriend over and introduced us. Nice folks to watch a show with. As I looked around I think I noted quite a few folks who who were also watching this show who might fall into that alienated outside looking in category that Strand of Oaks is trying to heal in this music. I look forward to where this music may go. I think this guy is on to something pretty good and he is humble and real about it. Not always the case in show business. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Enough About the Grandchildren How About a Day at the Dog Park...

In addition to keeping Austin weird Morgan and Ali keep some of my grand dogs. Here they take Nell and BD to the dog park. 
Used to I kind of make fun of the dog park and the people taking their dogs there. Maybe I was scared of the dog park and it was kind of like how you might not like other people if you are fearful and don't understand them and don't like them but I understand the dog park better since I been myself. My people seem to take their dogs there everyday and there is now one in Lufkin. I don't want someone to sic a dog on me or anything because of something I said or because I was afraid. Those big ones (the dogs not the owners) can smell fear. 

I noticed that all these folks at Morgan and Ali's dog parked seemed to kind of know each other and know each other's dogs and who was nice and which dog played well with other dogs and so on. It's a good place not only for the dog but for people also. 

Here is BD. That stands for Big Dog. He is smarter than he looks and plays well with all. He does like the water. 

This next photo is not as serious as it seems. The boys were just playing and they both like the water. 

Ali says "go play with Morgan. I am going to try and get Mary to jump through this hoop." Mary is having none of that. Just like me she insisted on getting a treat before she jumped. Don't know why she had that stick in her hand. 

After a good muddy play BD gets hosed at a state of the art dog washing station. He didn't like it. One time when Morgan was 4 years old and we were having a crawfish boil. We were having a nice wet spring  and he slipped off and played in a mud hole just like BD did. He came walking back up with only the whites of his eyes visible through a layer of good old East Texas gumbo mud. I was pretty much left with no choice but to hose him just like BD gets hosed here. Only difference I did not have that leash to hold on while Morgan bucked and jumped and liked it about the same amount that BD did his washing.  

This dog belonged to one of the other dog parkers. He was big, hairy and liked the mud also. I think he liked his washing but I was glad I did not have to do it. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

We Ate All the Fish...

Another fish fry has come and gone. People that did not make it have been assured there will be more. There were no fish left. I ate the last of it today between two pieces of bread, splashed with hot sauce and crowned with a pickle.

I know I had a good time and I think everyone else did also. Thanks to Runt for helping me cook. Thanks to all who came, played music, ate and had fun.

Fish was not the only thing to eat! 

Runt Cooks! 
There's a new blog character, Wanda. 

Morgan jams with Mike and Danny. 

Terry and Gerald, more new blog characters. 

Buddy and Betty, they know what to do at a fish fry! 

"...I know I've seen that face before," Big Jim was thinking to himself "Maybe down in Mexico or a picture up on somebody's shelf..."Bob Dylan from "Lilly Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts
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