Scrapbook One Hundred Twenty Eight…

scrapbook

JANUARY 2015

 

In a Tuck

In 1952, my buddy Sammy Myers and I were Buck Sergeants in the Air Force, stationed in Greenville, South Carolina. Our job was repairing airborne radars and flying radio operator on C-82s and C-119s.

noguardSammy and I enjoyed a friendly competition with each other on a personal level. Compared to him, I was shorter, less obvious, and more talently disadvantaged. But I had the instincts of an adventurer, and he didn’t. Maybe that gave me a slight edge in areas where results could easily be measured.

One such place was The Tower. (I hated that thing with a dedicated cynical fervor.) I don’t even want to remember how high off the water it was, but it was enough high for me. I had jumped off the Leon River Bridge at home a few times so I knew how long the fall time was – it was forever, or at least that thought came to me.

IMG_1354d1sSammy and I dove off the intermediate level a few times, and jumped off the top a couple. Then he made a nice swan dive from high up that barely broke the surface of the water. I figured he was warming up to do a dive that I didn’t even want to think about. He appeared too nonchalant for my taste.

“Do a ‘show off,’ and I’ll take your picture,” Sam dared from ground. I just stared. The pressure began to build, and it was so terrible my mind went into spacial overload for a few seconds.

While standing on the top, in the #1 position, my entire life flashed before my eyes. Did I dare? I’d done a few 1 ½ forward somersaults from a ten foot springboard, but I didn’t do them very well. Now it was put-up or shut-up time. My smile was a misnomer and I knew the desire in my heart was at odds with reality, but I was drawn to the seductive glamour of Sam’s camera.

IMG_1354a1sWith a deep breath and a giant spring, I left the platform in a tuck, which opened too late, and my dive quickly unraveled into an over-rotation that landed me flat on my back. Whatever confidence I had was knocked out of me with a sudden traumatic jolt. The blistering pain was almost visible and my embarrassment rang out in exaggerated decibels.

“Got it,” Sam yelled, “They heard the splash in Memphis! You almost made it, Buddy, try it again. I have one more shot on the roll.”

With all I could muster, there I stood again in the rarefied #1 position. But this time I was mad … mad that he’d ask me to do it again after I’d just maimed myself, and mad because with his street level imagination, he thought I wouldn’t try.

If I’d over-rotated trying to do a 1 ½, what if I stayed in the tuck a little longer and went for a 2 ½. Ha, I’d never even thought of that before, but what a great idea. To forget my previous mistake would be done at my own peril. That was for sure.

IMG_1354b1sWith the thought that talent has no loyalty, I left the platform in a tighter tuck than before, thinking that I wanted to see the sky twice as I rotated, then quickly open and enter the water.

And to my great surprise and satisfaction, that’s exactly what happened. The dive was not very pretty, but it was there, and both my body and tattered ego were intact. Sam got the picture, and congratulated me with a pleasant sincerity that felt really good. I never climbed the ladder on that tower again, and I still haven’t.

Scrapbook One Hundred Twenty Seven Point One…

scrapbook

JANUARY 2015

 

Here's a fly that I tied which could be posted on Forrest's Scrapbook127. This is an extended body dry fly.  This type of fly is rather difficult to tie, because you need to criss-cross wrap the thread out to the end of the body and back in mid-air off the hook, and let the delicate tails extend beyond the body.   But it allows you to use a smaller, lighter hook which usually stays above the water, and you achieve a very realistic mayfly pattern.  There are no Jungle Cock eyes, but there is ginger hackle, fine grey deer hair body and tail, and foam wings cut to shape and colored... The downsides of this tie are that it's very time consuming to tie and vulnerable to damage.  If you catch a trout, it may be history.  But then you caught a trout.   Halogetter


This is an extended body dry fly. This type of fly is rather difficult to tie, because you need to criss-cross wrap the thread out to the end of the body and back in mid-air off the hook, and let the delicate tails extend beyond the body.
But it allows you to use a smaller, lighter hook which usually stays above the water, and you achieve a very realistic mayfly pattern. There are no Jungle Cock eyes, but there is ginger hackle, fine grey deer hair body and tail, and foam wings cut to shape and colored…
The downsides of this tie are that it’s very time consuming to tie and vulnerable to damage. If you catch a trout, it may be history. But then you caught a trout.
Halogetter

This is my first Fly to ever make. I learned a couple things while making it. 1) I could use a third hand. 2) It's alot harder than it looks. Don't bother asking me what kind it is because " I don't know "  and  I'm sure it doesn't fit into any class... Anyway , this is my Fly to enter into Forrest's  " Fly Challenge "  Focused

This is my first Fly to ever make. I learned a couple things while making it. 1) I could use a third hand. 2) It’s alot harder than it looks. Don’t bother asking me what kind it is because ” I don’t know ” and I’m sure it doesn’t fit into any class… Anyway , this is my Fly to enter into Forrest’s ” Fly Challenge “
Focused

Scrapbook One Hundred Twenty Seven…

scrapbook

JANUARY 2015

Holy Feathers

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This cape was one of my father’s favorite objects. It came from the Jungle Cock, which was a fowl indigenous to India.

Jungle Cock

Jungle Cock

Flies made from its feathers were popular among trout fishermen in the 40s, but not so much anymore. The “eyes,” as we called them, were always tied on the hook in pairs, one on each side.

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There was a time when the bird was classified “Endangered,” which meant no one in America could legally buy, sell, barter, or import the feathers. They became so scarce that a frightened stillness fell over the entire fly-tying community. Fishermen spoke in hushed whispers about the law that seemed unreasonably punitive. But the war was going on and there were other big issues to think about.

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I caught a nice brown with this fly, and you can see how it got chewed up. I retired it to a place of honor in my ornament box. I used a lot of peacock herl on my streamers, but never made two the same. The fish didn’t care, because they were so hedonistic in those days they’d eat anything that looked like a bug, and Jungle Cock eyes made them all the more ferocious.

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My special fly box still contains about 200 Jungle Cock flies that I made as a teenager. They were so handsome I retired them also. No malodorous fish was going to chew those beautiful bugs.

If anyone can make a better looking fly than this one, and post its photo on Dal’s blog, I’ll give them a quarter. Just send me a SASE,

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Each fly my father sold was impaled upon one of these little advertisements.

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Scrapbook One Hundred Seventeen Point Five…

scrapbook

JANUARY 2015
Posted by Dal-

You might be wondering what to do with your mammoth tusk fragment from Forrest. Chuck and Terry made a really attractive shadow box for theirs with text from the original Scrapbook entry by Forrest, the fragment and the note that came with the piece of tusk.

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The text in the shadow box reads:
“Mammoths roamed all over the Americas, and if you get way out into the countryside you might find one. That’s what we did, and we were many miles from a road on a friend’s ranch in northeastern New Mexico. We first found a large mammoth tooth. The enamel plates had broken apart and the wear patterns said it belonged to a very old animal. A mile or so farther, as we walked along a softly flowing stream of water, I discovered a tusk. It had been exposed to the elements for a long time because the ivory had dried and layers were popping off in fragments. I guessed it was a mammoth because mastodons are not commonly found in the Southwest. I started excavating in the cement-like clay that engulfed the tusk. It was a hot summer day, and the bursitis-inducing work with a small handpick progressed slowly. Meanwhile my ranch friend scavenged the surrounding area, searching for artifacts. Suddenly he discovered a knife eroding from the bank. It was of useful size and made of Edwards Plateau flint. Heavy damage on both blade edges indicated that it may have been used to cut meat from bone. We knew that tool could not be associated with the mammoth because the flake patterns were not Clovis technology, and Clovis man was the only human known to kill the great beasts. I continued working as the sun burned low in the sky. Finally the tusk was completely uncovered and I took this photo. The mammoth tusk weighed 70 pounds when we lifted it into the bed of the pickup. Over the years it has dried and crumbled into a sad semblance of what it used to be. If one should grasp a chunk of an ancient mammoth in one’s hand and close one’s eyes, who knows what thoughts might flow into one’s fertile mind? I always intended to go back to my friend’s ranch and dig out the mammoth skull. But it’s been thirty years since I walked along that softly flowing stream of water, and now, at age 84 …  it’s just too much for me. ”

This is the note from Forrest that came with the tusk specimen.

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The text under the note in the shadow box reads:
“Look quickly down, there is a chunk below you are welcome to touch.”

 

 

Scrapbook One Hundred Twenty Six…

scrapbook

JANUARY 2015

Personality Galore

You know, I really hate to brag about some of my stuff, especially since Tesuque just won the Blue Ribbon for being the best pet on the internet. But honesty compels me to admit that I possess the most interesting hat on this blog.

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Click on this photo to see the hat close-up.

 

Her name is Mildew. She was given to me by the son of a guy named Dither who hunted coyotes in the Bosque. He was lanky and spoke with a slow kind of drawl that made him look taller. He was wearing the hat when he died, and no one can explain why it exploded from the inside out. Maybe the bob wire hatband had something to do with it. In any case, I’m not going to ever wear the hat.

I hereby make the assertion that Mildew has more personality than any other hat within word distance of Santa Fe, and I dare anyone to challenge that claim.

See the hats of those who were brave enough to take up Forrest’s challenge HERE.

 

Scrapbook One Hundred Twenty Five…

scrapbook

JANUARY 2015

Fire Cracker

Skippy never had a plan B because he always expected his plan A to work. He functioned on the periphery where most kids his age didn’t even think to look, me neither. But he couldn’t forever control unexpected outside interferences.

When he was seventeen, he erected a New Year’s firecracker business at the corner of 3rd Street and French in Temple, near the high school and next door to Smith’s Drug Store.  His good friend, Leroy Calhoun, who had a few bucks saved up, became his partner.

School was out for the holidays, but all the kids still were hanging around the social soda fountain at Smith’s, and waving past the firecracker stand.

The second day a couple of giggling girls walked up to flirt with the two enterprising business men. One purchased a fuse bomb, lit it, and tossed it over the counter at Leroy, thinking it would be a fun joke. Except that the dangerous apparatus landed on some Areal Bombettes, which promptly detonated with a furious ricocheting blast that was heard clear down to the cemetery, two miles distant. The entire store inventory of holiday explosives joined in the mighty discharge. A local newspaper reporter noted that a box of dung fuse-lighters landed over by the school gymnasium.

Both Skippy and Leroy, with hairs afire, were blown onto the 3rd Street yellow center stripe. One observer lamented that tires were screeching as speeding cars careened through the burning debris and secondary explosions, trying to dodge human bodies and dangerous burning devices.

The first I knew about it was when my father yelled, “Quick, Bubba, get in the car, Skippy’s been blown up.” When he saw us walk into the hospital room his face lit up with a wide grin. It was easy to see how proud he was. But what a pitiful sight, with a blackened face, and bandages covering his body. Father just shook his head as if to say, “Well, at least he’s still alive.”

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After a few minutes, Irene Vance, who was Skippy’s girlfriend, entered the room with her cousin, whom I had not met. Her name was Peggy Jean Proctor.

Irene Vance

Irene Vance

I don’t remember what happened to the two giggling girls, but I suspect they stopped giggling at the first flash. Skippy recovered and married Irene. Peggy and I started dating and were married eight years later. That was sixty-one years ago and almost nothing has changed, except Peggy has gotten prettier and I’ve gotten older, which must be one of Madam Nature’s major design deficiencies.

Forrest, Peggy, Irene, Skippy in back, Donnie and June

Forrest, Peggy, Irene, Skippy in back, Donnie and June

Poor Leroy Calhoun was classified 4F as a result of the firecracker episode, and it prevented him from being drafted during the Korean War.

I’ve jammed a lot of oral history in these 515   words, but I’ve also left out a few things. Skippy trampled the grass around some pretty interesting events during his fifty years, and I was a tag-along observer with him for my share. I don’t know who decided that we can’t go back and do it all over again, but I don’t subscribe to it. Can anyone help me?

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Skippy on Silver

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Skippy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scrapbook One Hundred Twenty One Point Seven…

scrapbook

JANUARY 2015

Melissa has an unruly health issue that has her in a pensive mood to write stories for her grandsons. She has a nice way of expressing her thoughts that I suspect are similar to what each of us has felt on occasion.

At a time when our world is casting dark shadows over the land, maybe it’s now that we should reflect back to our basic human instincts, and remember what’s most important in our daily lives. Here is one of Melissa’s stories. f

The day I ran away from Home

Me and Tippy

Me and Tippy

It was 1962 and I was 8 years old. I felt like no one cared about me or even knew I was around. The night before I had been playing outside and it had gotten dark. I was being so brave by staying outside in the dark. When I went to come inside the front door was locked. That sort of puzzled me so I went around to the side door which was glass and it was locked to. I looked in and didn’t see Dad or Mom sitting in their chairs. I ran to the back door and it was also locked. I was sort of half panicked and went back to the front door and looked in the door which was glass also and everything was dark. I sat on the porch for a moment and tears came and I went to the back side of the house and climbed up the pipe and went in the bedroom window and then just went to bed thinking and crying that no one cared about me. Just left me outside and everyone had gone to bed I guess but didn’t even check to see where I was. Something like that can work on a kids mind. So the next day I was going to run away. I got my little blue and white record player with the handle on it and took out the player and it made a little suit case. I put coco my little stuffed dog in, a couple dollars and went down stairs to the kitchen made me a sandwich and got an apple and was all ready to run away. While I was walking down the hall to the front door here comes dad. He asked, “where you going”? And “whatcha got”?  I told him I was running away cause no one cared about me and told him what I had in my box, cause I always told my dad everything. He said, “okay, but first you need to say goodbye to all the animals cause they will surely miss you”. I said okay and he said, ” I hope you come back and visit”, and I said okay.

So I headed out, said goodbye to the horses, then the cats and when it came time to say goodbye to my dog Tippy, I just cried and cried….then I headed out the driveway to the park and when I got there, I sat and ate my sandwich and hugged my little coco and cried some more and then just ran back home.

I am pretty sure that Dad knew I would have had a hard time leaving the animals and especially my dog.

Melissa-

 

Scrapbook One Hundred Twenty Four…

scrapbook

JANUARY 2015

Lost My Spot

There are a few fault lines in my aptitudes. I can tell because sometimes the spell checker in my computer starts to smoke. And I perform typos with a physical dexterity that no one can respect. But it’s my word arrangement and memory loss that bother me the most.

You see – once I went fishing with Joe Billy Bob. He was an acquaintance from the neighborhoods. Most people called him JBB, but I called him JB for short. I caught a nice fish and with it he took my photo. I mean he took my photo with it.

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Here it is, and I wrote on the back, “Rainbow 28”, 11 lbs, #8 fly, 6 lb tippet.” I was using a Midge Blue Dun. But I didn’t make note of where I was fishing at the time. Can you imagine that? And now I don’t remember where that spot is.

But JB does, only he won’t tell me, thinking that since I can’t remember, he’ll keep that knowlege for his very own personal use. He didn’t catch a single fish that day and probably was put off that I skunked him with three others about the same size, and a nice brown.

Finally I capitulated with JB because I really wanted to know. I promised him that if he’d remind me where we were fishing that day, I’d leeve him my prize Pflueger Medalist reel.

PMReel

A prized Pflueger Medalist reel

Instead of telling me, he suddenly disappeared, and his wife had no idea where he went, except that his fly rod also was missing, and so was his box of Midge Blue Duns. I just don’t understand the way JB thinks. What are friends for anyway, if you can’t use them?

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Midge Blue Dun

 

Well, that’s the sad story, and I really don’t know what else to say, except that if anybody can tell me where I caught that beautiful rainbow trout, I’ll tell them a secret that I haven’t revealed to anyone – ever.