Sluggo In Tulsa, Ok.

This past week Sluggo and his team, “The Texans”, played in a national qualifying Senior Softball tournament held in Tulsa, Ok and they won their 70+ age class, qualifying for the Softball Players Assn., National Championships to be held in Dalton, Ga. this coming September. The team, pictured below, is composed of men from all over the state, and has been playing together for many years having won National Championships in 2003 and 2004.

Sluggo rips one to drive in two runs!


Sluggo is pictured below getting an “All Tournament” kiss from the tournament director. Lucky for him, that’s his wife Layla!


Darrell And Dewayne (pronounced Deewayne) Revisited

Darrell had gone to north Georgia to help one of his girlfriends move to a new trailer park leaving Dwayne (pronounced Deewayne) home at their place between Cartersville and Kennesaw Mountain. During the past week, Dewayne called my hunting partner Chad Harmon, now deceased, and said that he had found a couple more coveys of birds along a creek we had frequented the past season.

Pictured is my Brittany Spaniel, Beechnut’s Rooster Cogburn, or Rooster, who played a part in this drama. A great tireless hunter!

We arrived at the designated “meet” after lunch on the following Saturday, my morning being consumed with coaching my team, the 12 year old, Sandy Springs Saints, to a win over the DeKalb Yellowjackets in a hotly contested Georgia Youth Football game. We held them twice within our 5 yard line in the last quarter, to preserve our 7 to 6 victory.

Ready to shoot some birds, we let out Rooster, my Brittany, and began our hunt along a flowing creek, lined on both sides by harvested Soy Bean fields. Dewayne’s dog, “Old Slick” had been rendered “hors de combat” by a big tom Cat and was unable to hunt with us. We were soon into the first covey and dropped two, fat Quail, the balance of the birds flying into some thick cover on the other side of the field. Dewayne, ever the gentleman, said, “I’ll go root those birds out of the cover. Both you all want to come with me?”

We didn’t find the “flushed” covey, but clearing the thick cover, Dwayne in the lead, there standing before us, looking at us, was a Turkey. No fall season in Georgia, so I yell at Dewayne as I see him raising his shotgun, “Dewayne, don’t sh, Bam, oot! He had just dispatched a domestic, hen Turkey.

Lifting up the bird, he exclaimed, “How about taking a picture for me?” We declined! Two weekends ago his twin brother Darrell had shot a Rooster out of a tree and now Dewayne shoots this Turkey. Dewayne takes the Turkey back to his old truck and we take this opportunity to end our hunt.

Chad or I never went back to hunt with the twins, Darrell and Dewayne (pronounced Deewayne).

Living History

Before I get into todays story, after you read this click on Outdoor Bloggers , and look at the new promotions they have on their message board.

Today is Memorial Day, that had its beginnings in 1863, as Decoration Day, when Confederated dead were remembered in the South, with red, white and blue bunting, placed upon their graves. I thought it fitting that I post this story from my family’s history. This story was first told to me by my Uncle, Roy Bryan, who was an eye witness to the events of December 7, 1941. Roy passed away several years ago and I believe that his story should be recorded and retold


By Jon Bryan

How could this have happened? That was the Nation’s question on the morning of December 8, 1941. Roy Bryan’s question was how did I, a civilian, end up in a shallow trench on a beach on the island of Oahu, with a 16 gauge, Winchester, sawed off shotgun, watching the sun come up over Diamond Head, waiting for the inevitable Japanese invasion?

It all started on December 6, a Saturday. Roy, 25 at the time, was a carpenter and had been doing some interior work on a Battleship for the Navy where he had become friends with some of the Sailors. There was a big party in Honolulu that night and he was going to it with his Sailor friends. He hoped it wouldn’t be an all nighter, because he had also planned to go fishing later in Aiea Bay, eat an early breakfast and sleep most of Sunday.

The Bryan family has always had an urge for new, different things and to keep moving west. Roy was my Dad’s brother, and my Uncle, and his urge caused him to leave Texas and migrate to Hawaii in 1939. By then, he was already, like his Dad, Peyton had been, a skilled carpenter and there was plenty of work available in the Islands.

The party, like all big parties, was loud and crowded, but the exceptionally pretty girls kept him there to almost midnight. His Sailor friends invited him to come back to the ship with them and spend the night there. He replied, “No thanks buddies, I’m going fishing in the bay and sleep most of tomorrow. I’ll see all you all on Monday.”

The fishing was good as usual and he had a nice “mess” for supper that night. The morning was breaking and he enjoyed the sight of Ford Island and Battleship Row across the bay from him and thought it was a good time to be rounding up his gear and heading back. From out of the north he could hear airplanes, not unusual because our Country was beefing up our Pacific defenses since our relations with Japan were worsening.

The planes kept coming, and when they cleared the hills, he could see they weren’t the big, B17s, that had been ferrying in, just single engine planes that didn’t look like the F4F’s or SBD’s that flew off of our Carriers. Strange, but as the planes came screaming in, he could clearly see the red ball on the wings and fuselages, just as the first bombs and torpedoes were released, their targets being our Battleships – Japs!

Feeling the concussions from the thunderous explosions, his first action, with his mind racing, as the Battleships were being hit, was to get behind a Coconut tree and peer around and watch the spectacle. He clearly saw the Arizona, or the ship berthed beside it, being hit and a great explosion and thought of his friends aboard who had invited him to spend the night with them. The poor guys! Then, the torpedo planes had finished their work, and along with their fighter escort, were leaving.

He moved to gather up his gear, when he heard more planes approaching from the east. More Jap planes and he snuggled down behind his tree and watched the bombers pound our Pacific Fleet. The harbor was all confusion, ships exploding and maneuvering to keep the channel clear, fires raging on the ships and on shore, sirens screaming and black smoke spiraling skyward! A scene from hell! And, even though he had watched every minute of the attack, but for fate, he could have been more in the middle of it and doomed on the U.S.S. Arizona!

The Japs flew away and Roy thought, we are at war with Japan. Finally moving off of the beach he tried to drive toward Pearl Harbor, but the roads were closed. He was stopped and told to report to “such in such place” and await orders. Martial law had been imposed and he guessed all able bodied men had been “drafted” into service.

The officials were positive the Japs would invade the Islands, Oahu especially, and, he was right, all able bodied men were guarding the beach for the next several nights. No invasion, but the World and the Hawaiian Islands, along with Roy, would forever change after that day, December 7, 1941!

A True Texan

I recently posted stories on my blog about my Great Grandfather’s, Brinson Bryan and Shaw Wallace. No reminiscence of my youth would be complete without a mention of my Grandmother, Linnie Ross (Sanders) Wallace.

Pictured in 1946, is my Grandmother, Linnie Ross (Sanders) Wallace, 1866-1953, my Mother, Ruth (Wallace) Bryan, 1895-1979, my Sister, Helen Ruth Anthony 1923-2003 and my Niece, Cheryl Anthony 1944-1964. Four generations of Wallace women. Because of at least 2 house fires, this is one of the very few pictures of my Grandmother Wallace.

My first memories of her were singing to me and telling me the story of the following song, author unknown:

“Backward turn backward o time in thy flight,
Make me a child again, just for tonight.
The tears on my pillow, thy loving watch keep’
Rock me to sleep Mother, rock me to sleep”.

Her mother died in 1877 when she was 11 years old.

Linnie’s Father, Levi L. Sanders, spent 3½ years fighting with the 6th Texas Cavalry during our Civil War. Being born in 1866, she was a “Civil War Baby Boomer”. She was a Texan and a “Rebel’s Daughter” and taught me the First verse of Bonnie Blue Flag”. It was first the Regimental song of the 8th Texas Cavalry, Terry’s Rangers, and later the anthem of the Southern States.

“Bonnie Blue Flag”, by Harry McCarthy

“We are a band of brothers and native to the soil,
Fighting for our liberty, with treasure, blood and toil.
And when our rights were threatened, the cry rose near and far,
Hurrah for the Bonnie Blue Flag that bears a single star.

For southern rights hurrah,

Hurrah for the Bonnie Blue Flag that bears a single star.”

She also made sure that I knew what “Decoration Day”, now known as our Memorial Day, was and how it started. Before the end of the Civil War, in the Spring, Southern ladies began placing red, white and blue “bunting” on the graves of the Confederate dead. This practice spread all over the South and in 1868, in the North, May 5, was officially designated Memorial Day.

Our family legends say that during the latter part of our Civil War, some type of significant event occurred between her Dad, Levi Sanders and Sul Ross, the Brigade Commander of the Texas Cavalry Brigade and future Governor of the State of Texas, causing Levi to say that he would name his next child after him and Sul replying he would pay that child’s way through college. Legend doesn’t say what the event was, but my Grandmother, Linnie Ross Sanders, born in 1866, was named Linnie Ross, and she told me that Sul Ross paid her way through college at Baylor, then located at Independence, Texas.

Another very interesting story that she told me several times, and was recently verified by another of her Grandson’s, George Pyland, my Cousin, was that when she was 5 years old, of her seeing Cynthia Ann Parker. Cynthia Ann was captured by Comanches in 1836, lived as an Indian for 24 years until she was re-captured in 1860 by Sul Ross leading a company of Texas Rangers. Cynthia Ann had 3 children, her oldest son being Quannah Parker, the last War Chief of the Commanches. Quannah surrendered to Col. Ranald McKenzie, “Three Fingered Kenzie” being his Indian nickname, and then Quannah led his people to the reservation in Oklahoma and later became and extremely successful businessman.

Cynthia Ann’s Brother, Issac Parker, was a neighbor in Van Zandt County, Texas, of Levi Sanders, Lennie Ross’ Dad, and she tells of seeing Cynthia Ann several times and how she “scared” her. Never re-adapting to civilized life, Cynthia Ann Parker died of a “broken heart” in 1871.

Linnie taught school in East Texas for several years before marrying Dr. Harmon Elliott Wallace, my maternal Grandfather. Before the turn of the 20th century, Linnie and Harmon moved to west Texas where he practiced medicine for over 20 years. They had 8 children, 7 surviving to adulthood, including my Mother, Ruth Wallace Bryan. Their oldest son, Horace Harmon, was not in this 1915 era picture. He was away playing professional baseball. I visited the house in the background in 1949 in Ovalo, Texas, west of Abilene and at the foot of Bald Eagle Mountain.

Linnie Ross was a fine Christian lady, a good Grandmother to me and a credit to our state!

Tagged By A “Meme”

I got tagged by a Meme that looks like it started in Mississippi, went to Canada and now finds itself in central Texas. I was told to tag 8 other bloggers and we are supposed to adhere to the following rules.

Players start with 8 random facts about themselves. Those who are tagged should post these rules and their 8 random facts. Players should tag eight other people and notify them that they have been tagged. If you can’t tag 8 do as many as you can.

I can provide 8 things about me. Before I get into them, I know many will find it hard to believe that someone from Texas, has difficulty bragging, or talking about, himself. I do!

  1. I am a Christian and a Southern Baptist!
  2. I love my Wife! I love my Children and my Grand Children. They are the reason that I started writing down all of my outdoor adventures.
  3. I am a Texan. I am a fifth generation Texan. I love my state! My kids are sixth generation Texans. I have been all over the world and people, anywhere, always seem to know about Texas.
  4. I am very conservative. I am not very politically correct. I think it is a sign of weakness. I enjoy listening to Rush Limbaugh.
  5. I have played baseball and softball all of my life and currently play Senior Softball. My team has won two national championships and I am in the Texas Senior Softball Hall of Fame and the Softball Players Association Hall of Fame.
  6. I love hunting, fishing, shooting and writing about these passions.
  7. I am a member of the Sons Of Confederate Veterans. All 4 of my Great Grandfathers fought for the South during the War of Northern Agression. I see no problem with the Confederate Battle Flag. In fact, the first song I ever learned was “Bonnie Blue Flag”, the Southern anthem. My family traces its roots back to the 1600’s in the U.S. and we have served our country in all of its wars, including the Revolutionary War.
  8. My ranch is in Mills County, Texas, just outside of Goldthwaite, almost “smack dab” in the middle of our fine state. It could be “Any Small Town, USA” and is a great place to live and raise kids. This Sunday, in honor of Memorial Day, the Churches in town are sponsoring a picnic in the City Park and most of the town will be there.

Now, my secrets are out, I should tag some folks, but almost all I share links with have been taken, so I shall just “Pass”.

One More Cast

In 1970, the spring and early summer fishing for Trout had been as good as it gets. I had set a new personal record with a seven pound trout caught just out from Greens Cut.

We had not had a damaging freeze on the coast for sixteen years and game fish and bait fish stocks were at record highs. Weather permitting, the Galveston Jetties were loaded with keepers, the weather had cooperated and our freezers were already full of filets.

I had received another promotion with the large computer company and with that had purchased a beach house at Jamaica Beach, ten miles west from the end of the Galveston Sea Wall. Launching at Jamaica Beach I was now five to ten minutes from some great bay fishing spots, Green’s Cut, the Wreck, Confederate Reef and North and South Deer Islands. My favorite South Jetty spot was only thirty minutes by boat.

My son Brad was eight years old and had been fishing with me for the past two years. He was fun to take along, he could bait his own hook and never grumbled about getting up early or cleaning the boat and tackle.

My Uncle, and his Great Uncle, Alvin Pyland, Unkie, and I had planned a trip on a Friday morning to sample some of the great Trout action, under the birds, on the east side of the Galveston causeway.

This area, ten or twelve square miles, bounded on the east by the Texas City dike and Pelican Island, on the south by Galveston Island, on the north by the mainland and west by the causeway had been a consistent producer all spring. I told Unkie to be at The Pleasure Island Bait Camp, our bay fishing headquarters at 7:30 AM and be ready to fish.

Brad and I had the boat in the water by 7:00 AM at the Jamica Beach launch ramp and started our fifteen minute trip to Pleasure Island Bait Camp. I noticed storm clouds in the Gulf south of Galveston Island. Rain coming. What’s different about that?

After picking Unkie up at the bait camp and buying one quart of shrimp, we headed out to find the birds. Trout feeding on Shrimp, push the Shrimp to the surface, where Sea Gulls see the disturbance, and always looking for a free meal, the Gulls literally swarm over the Shrimp and feeding Trout. This is fast and furious action, Trout are “jerked” into the boat without using a net, and many times we would use artificial baits rather than taking time to re-bait the hook.

Seeing several groups of birds in the distance we speed toward the nearest ones and begin a morning of catching Trout as fast as we can, and a morning of, we did not know then, high adventure.

We noticed the storms I had seen earlier had moved almost to the Island and storm clouds were gathering north of us over Hitchcock and Texas City. Being in the bay, in a seventeen foot, deep vee, Lamar boat, we felt secure since we were but a short run back to the Pleasure Island Bait Camp. Then the southern storm moved onto the Island, and we found out later that it dropped ten inches of rain there and shortly most of that fell on us.

We kept fishing and catching Trout, the northern storms getting closer. We paused to look at them and noticed they both seemed to stop right at the edge of the bay. Storms north and south of us, and birds working, we started back fishing. I have since learned to not “tempt” Mother Nature. All of a sudden a large electrical storm, lightning popping all along its front edge, filled the gap between our northern and southern storms, heading east, right down the bay and right toward us. We were one mile east of the Causeway and it was about one mile west of it. Plenty of time, keep fishing.

Craak! Boom! Lightning hits a channel marker not three hundred yards from us and Unkie utters his infamous remark, “I’ve got time for one more cast.” He casts and hooks a nice one, which we take valuable time to land. During his fight with the fish I get Brad’s life jacket on him and don one myself. Craak! Boom! Another bolt hits a channel marker not one hundred and fifty yards from us. “Let’s get going,” I yell as the rain starts to batter us.

Really getting pounded by the storm, we notice we can’t head back to the bait camp. Almost a solid wall of lightning between us and the camp, and the storm is still heading our way. Full speed ahead to the northeast, our only partially open choice. Northeast of us lies the Texas City Dike, a nine mile red granite wall built out into Galveston Bay (this was some of the last granite mined at Marble Falls, Texas). Its purpose is to smooth the bay waters for the Texas City harbor and channel, however, and I repeat, however, we are heading in on the rough side! The wind hits us now, the waves building up, all working to slow our speed. We barely keep ahead of the lightning, but the rain is awful!

We keep heading northeast and keep getting pounded by the storm, wind, rain and four- foot waves, which are huge for the bay and the distance between the wave crests is probably only ten feet. Very rough! Wave tops in the Gulf are twenty-four to twenty-seven feet apart in four-foot seas. Lots of up and down for us, and luckily the drain plugs in the boat do their job. At least we don’t swamp. Looking down, I think Brad likes this and glancing over at Unkie, he doesn’t have a care in the world. I’m scared to death!

Plowing on through the rough water, we finally spot the dike and can make out a bait camp on our side and head straight for it. Closing on the dike, I anchor the boat with the bow pointing into the storm, which has slacked off some. We get out of the boat and wade to the shore/dike and some smart aleck on the dike says, “Kinda rough, wasn’t it?”

An Igloo Full Of Keepers

In the spring of 1966, severe floods over the Trinity and San Jacinto Rivers and the head waters of Buffalo Bayou had flushed out Galveston Bay. The bay water was fresh and muddy and almost all of the bait fish had left and taken up residence at the jetties and along the beach front, quickly followed by the Trout, Red Fish and Flounders. This presented a real opportunity to catch some fish.

Four of the Igloo full of Specs we caught.

This particular day, Wednesday, May 3, 1966, my Dad, being retired, and I, had decided to sneak off early in the morning, fish our South Jetty spot and be back in town by 10:00 AM so I could make some afternoon appointments.

We bought one quart of shrimp and put it in the internal bait well on the new, 16ft Falcon, then put the boat in at Bobby Wilson’s Bait Camp and sped at thirty-five miles per hour around the East Beach Flats, no more wading for us (only if it is too rough to get around the end of the South Jetty). No problem today since the wind was blowing lightly out of the north- east.

Just after sunrise we motored up and slipped up close to the Jetty, quietly dropping the anchor and letting out line. The anchor caught and we looked up and down the jetty, we were the only boat out. We ended up thirty-five or forty feet from the rocks, in ten feet of water. The depth dropped from zero to ten feet in forty feet! The tide was flowing to our left toward the beach. It is funny that when the tide is flowing out of the channel you get a reverse effect on the Gulf side of both jetties. Bait fish were crowded against the rocks. We knew the Trout were here.

Daddy had a new, red Ambassadeur 5000 reel with fifteen pound line, mounted on a six and a half foot fiberglass “popping” rod. Just the right tackle. I was armed with a Mitchell 300 spinning reel, ten pound line and a semi-stiff, six and a half foot spinning rod. Ok unless I pick up a big Red or Jackfish. We were free shrimping with a BB size split shot attached about ten inches above a small, treble hook. Trout poison! For the record we had two coolers, a foam one for food and drinks and a new forty-eight quart Igloo for the fish. Funny thing, at that time, Igloo was one of my customers.

We baited up and cast toward the rocks, dragging the shrimp slowly along the drop off and whamo, whamo, we are both into two very nice fish. We began the “Jetty Shuffle”, which is circling around the boat, passing rods under each other to prevent tangling, all while keeping pressure on the fish. We netted both fish in the same landing net, removed the hooks and placed them in the new forty-eight quart Igloo cooler. The fish were identical, twenty-six inches long with their tails curling up the side of the cooler. We shook hands, baited up and cast out and whamo, whamo, two more nice fish! We repeated this over and over until we had the new, forty-eight quart Igloo cooler full to the top with a minimum of ice left in it. Twenty-nine Specs’, all twenty-six or twenty-seven inches long, almost two hundred pounds of fish. All of this in less than two hours!

Looking up, I see Wes Thomas, another “jetty pro”, and one of my old college and baseball playing buddies, pulling up slowly outside of us. I yelled across the water, “Wes, our cooler is full so let me pull up the anchor and you all ease in here and you can catch some fish.”

I saw in the next days Houston Chronicle that Bob Brister, the OutdoorEditor, wrote that the “jetty pros” hammered the trout at the NORTH Jetty. Funny, I guess he really could keep a secret.

Just gutting the fish, we got back to Houston well before 10:00 AM and sold most of the fish for over $100. My afternoon appointments were no problem.

My “special” spot is still there and still a fish haven, less than a mile in from the end of the Gulf side of Galveston’s South Jetty. I have caught a whole lot of fish in my life from Florida, to the Gulf of California, to Hawaii, but no day equals the quantity and size, or the fast, furious action that Daddy and I had on May 3, 1966.