Scrapbook One Hundred Twenty Seven…

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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 Twenty Six…

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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…

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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