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Wednesday, April 22. 2009
My company sponsored an annual event for our customers and the occasion for 2002 was a golf outing at an exclusive country club, southwest of Katy, Texas.Â The club, located along the drainage of Buffalo Bayou, was on the Katy Prairie and was still a haven for ducks, doves, quail and alligators!Â The geese, up to a million in the past, had, years ago, moved to other haunts.Â When the geese were there, I had hunted this area many times.
The club offered a challenging layout, with lots of water hazards and sand traps.Â Our customerâ€™s executives enjoyed the opportunity for the relaxation and appreciated my companyâ€™s hospitality.
When I played golf, the low 90â€™s were my norm, then, in 2001, I took lessons, from a former PGA tour player and friend and was never the same.Â My slice took on epic proportions; my grounders were frequent, lost balls increased and, once, playing with three of my salesman, I actually threw a sand wedge into a pond. Retiring from the game (and sticking to softball) in 2004, 2002 found me hosting this golf outing.
My game and temper were under control and my score through sixteen holes was 82.Â Trying to focus on only the next shot, and trying to silence the little demon in my mind telling me that maybe Iâ€™d be in the low 90â€™s for a change, I stepped up to the tee box and looked down at the potential horrors lining the fairway.Â A dogleg left with a flowing creek all the way to the green; on the right, a berm and sand running sixty yards from the two hundred, yard marker and behind the berm, a seasonal pond.
I teed off on seventeen and my slice that had been in check all day, returned with a vengeance as the ball sailed over the berm and settled behind it.Â Maybe I wonâ€™t be in the water and can salvage something out of this mess.Â Luckily, since my lessons, I had become a fair player out of hazards since I was in them most of the time!
My playing partner, a close friend and an executive in one of my old accounts, had also sliced, but was in the sand on the fairway side of the berm. He jumped behind the wheel and we sped off toward our balls.Â He kindaâ€™ slowed down as we approached the berm, but as we reached the top, he hit the brakes hard!
Right below us was my golf ball and right beside it was a monster, ten, foot, alligator!Â The noise of the cart, or the ball hitting it, had awakened the beast and it looked up towards the cart.Â It wasnâ€™t more that ten feet from me as my friend said â€œWowâ€ and quickly backed the cart down off of the berm.Â He inquired, â€œ Will you play that ball or drop over by mine, Hahaha?â€ Â
Fading on the last two holes, I ended the round with a 97, better by ten strokes than usual, but I told my partner, â€œThe â€˜gator cured my slice!â€Â
Posted by Jon Bryan in Sports at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday, July 25. 2008
During the summer of 1848, my, 3G Uncle, Buck Barry, and some of his friends had an interesting swimming outing in the Trinity River.Â Earlier in the year Buck had sailed from Charleston, S.C. to Galveston, then bayou-boated up to Houston, where he hired teamsters to take him to Bazette bluff, on the Trinity River, east of the present town of Corsicana.
We â€œtrolledâ€ it on toward us, and then, the man on the bank shot the â€˜gator.Â It floated for about a minute then sank in three feet of water.Â The bloody water and bubbles made us think he was dead, so we formed a line abreast and began searching for it with our feet.Â Soon, a stout young man, John Oâ€™Neil, stepped on the â€˜gator and shouted, â€œHere he is!Â Iâ€™m standing on him.Â Iâ€™ll dive down and bring him up.â€
John dived, but the â€˜gator was very much alive and until the shore was reached, a lively fight ensued.Â First John was on top, then the â€˜gator and we saw the shot had broken the â€˜gatorâ€™s jaw and it couldnâ€™t bite John, otherwise it would have drowned him.
The â€˜gator then took full possession of the battlefield, swimming around in a circle, daring us to intrude on him again.Â Another shot took care of the gator and we knew it was fatal because the â€˜gator sank without a struggle.Â We formed another line, found that it was dead, and brought it to shore.
Buck doesnâ€™t say what they did with the â€˜gator, but Iâ€™m sure it was eaten.
Today, the Trinity River is still â€œfullâ€ of â€˜gators!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Ancestry at 08:05 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, March 21. 2007
Our first trip was with our neighbor, Dave Miller, a WW II veteran and former student at Texas A & M College (now University) and his son Benny, to an oxbow lake off of the Brazos River, south of Richmond, Texas. This was a very â€œprivateâ€ lake being on a large State Prison Farm.
Another Uncle of mine, A. C. Turner, Uncle Ace, had returned from the war and was back working for the Texas Prison System and had arranged for us to fish on this lake. He was Rehabilitation Director and, at that time, the Texas Prison System was self sufficient and even showed a profit. Drugs, illegal immigration and our Federal Courts fixed that! Uncle Ace went on to become Warden of The Walls unit in Huntsville, then to the State Parole Board, rising to its President.
This was my second trip to a Prison Farm. Here, on the Brazos River, the inmates seemed happy and waved and spoke to us. My first was to the German Concentration Camp in Temple, now the site of the V. A. Hospital. These were â€œhardâ€ guys, Afrika Corps troopers. They were sullen and took immense glee that when a plane flew over them, they would raise their shovels and rakes and pretend to shoot at it, then congratulate themselves on a â€œhitâ€!
We drove to the lake, inflated the boat and then â€œtook turnsâ€ fishing out of the life raft. Benny and I went first and learned quickly the art of paddling a life raft. Our first attempt resulted in an inglorious circle! Our fishing results were better, several small Bass, which we put on our communal stringer and we headed to the shore and turned the raft over to our Dads.
Left on the bank while our Dads were working on the Bass, Benny and I caught some grasshoppers and went to bait fishing for Bream and Perch. Not much wind, a real nice afternoon and we noticed a snag drifting near our spot. It drifted up and stopped and quit drifting. Being 9 and 11 years old we thought nothing of it and kept fishing.
Our Dads were headed back our way with a couple of more Bass on the communal stringer and Dave Miller yelled to us, â€œWhatâ€™s that in the water out from you?â€ Being young we answered, â€œWhere?â€ My Dad said, â€œBoys, watch where I cast,â€ as he cast a wooden, Lucky 13 plug, toward us and across our â€œsnagâ€.
He twitched his rod tip and reeled one turn at a time, â€œWalking The Dogâ€ back over the â€œsnagâ€ and the water exploded and a big, it seemed five or six foot long, Alligator, our â€œsnagâ€, clears the water in a twisting, mouth open, teeth showing jump, makes a great splash as it returns and then takes off, at top speed, pulling the life raft behind it. My dadâ€™s Calcutta rod is dangerously bent, he is yelling because the â€œGator is stripping the line from his reel, and having no drag system, only his thumb, which is being blistered, to put pressure on the line and try and stop the run. The â€˜Gator jumps again, the plug pulls loose and comes flying back toward my Dad and, a ducking Dave and settles on the water behind them. â€œWhoopeeâ€ exclaims Dave, followed by a â€œDamnâ€ from my Dad, as both anglers paddle back toward us.
Laughingly, my Dad told us â€ â€˜Gators like to eat little boys if they can catch one and this one was sizing both you all up for a dinner.â€ Silently we packed up the raft in its plywood box and we did not enjoy his attempt at humor!
In a picture box display, in the main hall of my ranch house, are all of my Dadâ€™s old fishing plugs, including the tooth scarred, wooden, Lucky 13 that he â€œWalkedâ€ over the â€˜Gator.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Fishing at 10:29 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
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