Something Fishy

Something Fishy
t Doesn't Get Much Better

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Country Life, the Good Life

     (This was written several years ago, but I decided to post it now here on the blog. It still rings true...)

Most big city folks have no idea what they are missing when it comes to living in this part of the country. 
One recent morning, the dogs not too long after daylight let me know it was time to get up. it was going to be another beautiful day.
I let them out for a brief jaunt, while I filled the trusty coffee maker. With coffee soon in hand and Augie and Buddy (the dogs) now vying for my attention. I settled down in a chair on the porch to watch the sun break over what I call Yellowbank Mountain in Breckenridge County.
The birds were excited too. I could even hear a couple bobwhite quail calling, and the doves were busy getting the day off to a fast start. Flowers were blooming among the weeds, and bees were already at work. (The weeds are part of nature, so it’s a good excuse not to pull or cut these vital parts of nature.)
Several errands called for a trip into town, and as usual I drove the backway through the country. A few miles down the road in a newly cut hayfield, a doe and her twin fawns cast an eye toward my truck, but generally ignored me.
“Wow, that would be a neAT photograph...If  they’ll just stay there...I doubt if they will,” I thought, but it was worth a chance. I slowly stopped the truck, reached down for a camera, turned back around toward the deer. But, Momma Doe already had led her youngsters a hundred yards back into the woods. Their speed must have been remarkable. I missed the photo, but the picture is firmly imprinted in my mind.
No more than a mile or two down the road, a tom turkey nonchalantly walked across the road. He gave me a look or two and wandered off into the woods.
For about five years, I worked in New York’s Wall Street District. It was an interesting experience to say the least. I spent about four months living in Greenwich Village before the family moved out anD joined me in an old home at Mt. Lakes, NJ.
There are some things I miss about the Big Apple and the whole metropolitan area. The bakeries and delicatessens were great, and they were lots of wonderful restaurants and good entertainment. What a lot of New Yorkers don’t realize is we have many of those things here as well as the wonderful outdoors, plus friendly people.
I was amazed early in my big city tour when a nice young lady working in the same office with me was surprised to learn Indianapolis and Louisville have art museums. She had never been more than 100 miles from New York City, and had no concept of life west of the Alleghenies.
I haven't had success in finding hard rolls and some other deli items back here in Kentuckiana, but the mother and fawn, and Kentucky barbecue, plus Bluegrass music make up for a lot. 
After that recent morning when I saw the deer and turkey, and the busy day which followed, I sat in the same chair and watched the sun go down on my Yellowbank Mountain to the tune of crickets and tree frogs, punctuated by an owl in the distance..
The Big City is a fun place to visit, and life there may be fine for some folks, but for me anything we don’t have here, we don’t need. Some hard rolls with butter sure would be good, though.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Labor Day passes, fall arrives

        Labor Day weekend marked the unofficial end of summer. There will be more warm weather, but it is the beginning of the end of the hot stuff. We’ve gone from 100 degrees to a morning long-sleeve shirt.
In 1894, Labor Day became a federal holiday. While some union people and other workers celebrate the day for reasons related to labor, for the most part it has gone the way of most other holidays in that it is a day off and a long weekend to have a good time.
Labor Day pretty much marks the end of summer, the time a guy is no longer supposed to wear white pants, and the start of college and pro football, as well as the kickoff of hunting seasons.
Leaves are beginning to swirl to the ground. Their color is changing. Particularly, the change is starting in my two Walnut trees out back. It may be part that fall is coming. It may be in part the serious dry weather we have experience the past several months.
This morning as I sat on the deck with my dog, Tyler, drinking coffee and enjoying the cool before another hot day. I heard four shots. Suddenly, I remembered early goose season has arrived. Someone may have goose for a Labor Day meal. Yes, fall is enroute.
After the extremely hot, dry summer, I look forward to fall. It probably is my favorite season. However, I have very little enthusiasm for what follows. Winter. 
It is true, Winter has some virtues, although the old mind struggles to enumerate many. It seems the number shrinks as my age increases.
However, summer really isn’t over. There will be more warm days and the water temperature is still warm. It is a time when big catfish are feeding prior to winter months. There isn’t a better time to land a big catfish. Their feeding frenzy, especially in rivers and big lakes, usually lasts through the middle of September when the water begins to cool.
And when the water begins to cool, it marks a time for crappie fishing action to pick up.
Once the leaves begin to turn color and drop, many anglers are ready to put away their rods and reels for the year, but if they do they will miss a lot of good fishing.
Crappie fishing can be goof in the fall as it is during the spring spawn. In fact, it can be just as much fun and productive as there are fewer people and boats on lakes and streams making noise and spooking the fish.
Fall crappie fishing can be a bit more challenging than spring action because often the fish are more scattered. They are harder to find. They also may be more unpredictable.
During the fall, the water temperature eventually becomes about the same at all levels and crappie can be found at most any depth. However, once you find them, they can be caught.
In the fall, crappie seem to prefer minnows over artificial baits as they starting feeding themselves for the coming cold-weather months--at least that is my experience.
If you decide to use artificial baits, it is a good idea to keep them smaller. One-to-two inch artificial minnows seem to work well.
If you are fishing clear water, crappie plugs, small jigs, bladebaits like Road Runners, work well. Often combining a lure with a live minnow will attract fish faster and more often.
Night fishing works well during early fall. Lights which attract bugs also attract fish.
A cookout with fried squirrel and fried crappie and homemade slaw-Uhmm...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

9/11, I could have been there

My head is filled with thoughts related to 9/11. They are numerous and difficult to organize. That may be the case for many Americans.
I know exactly what I was doing when the first twin tower was hit. My wife Phyllis and I had made plans to attend an outdoor writer’s conference. We planned to take our motorhome, so I had scheduled some minor maintenance at a Tell City automotive garage.
When I arrived at the garage with the motorhome on the morning of 9/11, a radio was playing in the back of the shop. A newsman was talking about a plane crashing into a World Trade Center tower.  A short time later, the second plane hit. Being an old news guy and retired Air Force officer, it didn’t make sense. 
The rest of the day, and for several days, I was glued to the television and radio. It was hard to believe. I couldn’t get enough information.
The thoughts and mind-pictures from the scene poured into my head, and my heart. I felt for the victims, their families and their friends. And to me, the physical loss of the buildings also was like losing a friend.
For four years, I rode the train from Mt. Lakes, NJ, to Hoboken, then boarded the PATH (Port Authority Trans Hudson). Rode under the river to the train station in the basement of one the Twin Towers. Each evening, I made the reverse trip.
I can still see the escalators which carried me daily up from the lower level station. There were sandwich shops and restaurants. I often visited them for lunch.
There also were other restaurants higher in the building.. And if I remember right, in the early days of CNN, the network had an office there that covered Wall Street. I sometimes worked with its reporters.
Windows on the World was a wonderful restaurant atop one of the towers. The food was good, but the view was even more spectacular. I remember attending a Christmas party there. The view at night was breathtaking.
I worked about a block and a half away in media relations for AT&T. It still is hard for me to imagine or believe the towers are gone.
One day a wacky guy using suction cups on his hands and feet decided to climb one of the towers. Fred Heckman, the former news director of WIBC in Indianapolis, was a good friend. He called me and asked it I could see the climbing guy, who I think called himself,”The Human Fly.”
“Sure,” I said. The next thing I knew I was live on WIBC providing an account of the nutty guy’s climb. In fact, I did several reports for Fred.
I have many memories of the now missing beautiful buildings. I still see them in my mind.
Had the timing been a bit different, I could have been in one of the towers.
My fear is that something similar will happen again. It is hard to protect against people who have no respect for human dignity, for life, and freedom.
We do the best we can.