How About A Swim

In September 1964, the hot spot for Mourning Doves in Texas was George West, a small town in the northern part of south Texas. Grain fields abounded and, for roosting, there were miles and miles of the famed south Texas brush country.
My Dad and I had decided to go ahead and pay for a “day hunt” to sample some of this reportedly outstanding shooting. We called the local C of C and they gave us the name of a rancher booking hunts. We called him and set up a hunt for the coming Saturday.
Arriving in George West, after the three and a half hour drive from my home in southwest Houston, we greeted the rancher and paid him a whopping $10.00 for the two of us. An added benefit was that he wanted to hunt with us, three limits now, and take us a to a special place to shoot. He said the birds were eating him out of house and home and were a nuisance. We said, “Fine with us. Lead on!”

This particular late September in South Texas was unusually hot and by 3:30 PM, no daylight savings time, everything was either wilted or too hot to touch. The only wind was hot and every footstep would stir up tiny dust devils. Some may say, “Too hot to hunt”, but both of us, being tight, had paid our money and would take our chances.

We crammed into the ranchers pick up, this was before king cabs, and he drove us to a half acre stock tank. The tank was surrounded by light brush, just enough for some cover with smooth banks down to the waters edge. At one end was a dead mesquite tree and the tank was right beside a fresh cut milo field. Perfect!

Taking our stations in the brush, and this brush didn’t provide much shade at all, we didn’t have to wait long for the Doves to come to the water – pop, pop, pop, pop, pop and three birds fell, two into the brush and were quickly retrieved, the third fell into the water. The rancher said, “Don’t worry about that one, there will be a lot more fall in and we’ll get ‘em later!”

The birds continued to pile in on us and the shooting was fun, but the retrieving was hot, hot work. We quickly learned to shoot a bird, mark him in the brush and go pick him up before taking the next shot. Those that fell into the water, we just let them float.

As the doves continued zipping in, we took a quick count and had 42 birds in hand and 21 in the water. Bag and possession limit was 72 for the 3 of us. We picked our next 9 shots carefully and made sure the retrieve was an easy one. Soon we had our limit, with 23 in the water.

Unloading my gun, I started looking around for loose rocks or cow chips to chunk at the birds in the water. The rancher stopped me with, “Jon, how about a swim” as he kicked off his boots and peeled down to his shorts? My dad and I followed his lead and soon there were 3 grown men splashing around in the cool water and chunking the Doves back on to the bank! Not a bad ending to a great hunt!

As we dressed the rancher said, “This sure beats working up a big sweat chunkin’ those birds out!”

Getting Ready To Vote

Early November in central Texas doesn’t mean voting, but you can rest assured Texans will turn out in mass to cast their ballot for McCain/Palin, mostly absentee ballots though, because early November means the opening of deer season!

The opening of deer season around here means that a good amount of work will have to be done and that work will start on Monday, September 29.

The corn feeders are full and feeding.


The food plots will have winter wheat and I have to get this in by next Friday. Next comes clearing of the roads, cleaning out the blinds, then clearing shooting lanes and new growth around the blinds. We have been scouting, but I’ll start going out early and late just to see what’s moving around.

Layla and I will still follow our Grandkids and their sports, but there will be no more early morning walks for conditioning, just walking around the ranch and scouting. Except for ‘The Boss’ our hummingbirds have headed south. We’ll stop feeding them next week and our concentration will be on getting ready for deer season.

The last thing done around here is traditional – the sighting in of our rifles on Friday morning before opening day. Never mind we sighted them in last spring, but better be safe than sorry!


This is the most important general election in our Nations history so go out and vote, or cast your absentee ballot, for McCain/Palin and each of us do what we can to get them elected and protect out gun ownership and hunting rights!

Catching Up

Austin’s San Marcos Diamondbacks and Sara’s Copperas Cove Bulldawgs had big wins this week, while Goldthwaite, now 4-1, fell to a big, fast, 2A, team, the Merkel Badgers. Cove hammered Kileen Ellison, 45-0, running their record to 4-0.

Austin’s team beat Kyle, 14-6, and yes the Diamondbacks, now 1 and 1, did pass, and yes, Austin snagged it for a nice gain. Next week they travel to Austin, and maybe we can expect more passing.

Here, Austin, 82, is going after the ball on a kickoff.


Goldthwaite was another story. They jumped off to a 7-0 lead and made a valiant goal line stand at the end of the second quarter.

Just before kickoff, Colton, number 65, comes charging out of the smoking Eagle.


However, after halftime festivities, Merkel came out breathing fire, caused a fumble on the Eagles first possession of the second half and turned it into a score. Then came a pass interception that Merkel turned into a score, followed by another fumble and another score, and it was all over! Final was 28-7, and it appears that the Merkel Badgers chose this game to ‘find’ themselves.

The 3 freshmen on the varsity defense, Colton, Tyler and Sergio, can only watch as the Eagle’s offense is stymied in the second half.


A Busy Week

Having just returned yesterday from Las Vegas after participating in a national championship, Senior Softball, tournament, this past week has been a busy one for me. Luckily my Granddaughter, Sara and her Copperas Cove, Bulldawgs, had a week off so last Friday night I was in the stands to watch the Goldthwaite Eagles take on the Mason Punchers. Goldthwaite, ranked 19th in the State in Class 1A, entered the game with a 3-0 record while Mason, also class 1A, was 2-1.

Most high school games take around 2 hours to play, but at the end of this 3+ hour, marathon, Goldthwaite finally prevailed, 49-41. The game produced 2, 200 yard rushers, 2, kickoff returns of over 70 yards, 45 first downs, 854 yards total offense and 3 touchdowns scored in a 33 second period! For a complete summary of this record setting game, go to The Goldthwaite Eagle.

All of this happened to a Goldthwaite defense that, in their first 3 games, had allowed an average of 186 yards in total offense and only 6 points per game. With 11 minutes remaining, Goldthwaite held, what we thought then, was a safe 42-19 lead. In the last 11 minutes the Eagles scored once and Mason tallied 3 times. I believe the entire crowd was ‘sweatin’ as the game ended with a failed Mason on side, kick. Whew!

Early last Sunday I headed off to ‘Vegas to play softball and my team, The Texans, came up short and finished second in the tournament to a Nevada team. This team, ‘D99’, didn’t play against us in Dalton, Georgia and they told us they weren’t going to play in Phoenix. We had never heard of this team and didn’t know any of the players, so I guess we got what we deserved – we lost to an ‘outlaw’ team in a non sanctioned, ‘national championship’ tournament.

Here, The Texans are pictured in a pre-game, prayer.

The Texans are off until October 20th, when we play in the Senior Softball world Championships, in Phoenix. This week, on the road, State ranked 18, Goldthwaite takes on a tough, Class 2A foe, Merkel, while Copperas Cove celebrates home coming and hosts Killeen Ellison

No Posts For A Few Days

Today, I’ll be catching a plane to Las Vegas, to play in the Las Vegas Senior Softball National Championships and won’t have another post until September 25. This is the second of three national championships and me, and the rest of The Texans will be there, trying to win our second in a row!

Wish us luck!


Late Tuesday afternoon I was driving to Lockhart to watch my Grandson, Austin’s, first middle school football game. Kickoff was scheduled for 7:00 PM, but since the first game, B-teamers, finished early, Austin’s game started early and I didn’t get there until half time. Austin’s team, the San Marcos Diamondbacks, were on the short end of an 8-0 score. Just before half time, the Lockhart Lions had driven one in to take the lead..

The second half started with the Diamondbacks driving in for what looked like a score, but a fumble stopped them on the Lions 20 yard line. The Lions then ran 2 plays and then, their big (and fast) tailback exploded around end for a long score. The extra point was missed and we were now down 14-0. No one could catch the big back so Austin was moved from linebacker to free safety, but the big guy never broke another long one

The Diamondbacks then started another long drive and on second and short, the quarterback lofted a long pass for the split end, Austin, who had run a perfect ‘corner’ pattern, freezing the safety, and was all alone for an easy score, but he missed the pass. Three plays later the Diamondbacks scored with Austin getting a clearing block and the extra point was run in making the score 14-8.

After the game I told Austin, “Sometimes you miss a pass, but not to worry, you’ll catch a lot more than you miss!” We’ve all been there; a fumble, an out with the bases loaded, a missed serve, the ball rims the bucket, the world record fish throws the hook or buck fever attacks! He’ll learn from this one and only get better!

Chickamauga, The South’s High Point In The West

Having visited this battle field and walked over the ground my Great Grandfather (Paternal), Brinson Bryan, fought over. I was astonished that so many men could fight over so small an area for 2 days and on the second day, a charge and break through, still influence the outcome of the fight. They were tough guys!
Brinson, pictured around 1850, had come to Texas in 1846, joined the Texas Rangers, and had fought in the Mexican War with Bell’s Rangers, part of Zachary Taylor’s Army.

In the spring of 1862, he was visiting his Grandmother, just outside of Mobile and “joined up” with an Alabama, sharpshooter, Regiment, the 40th, and was later attached to Ector’s Brigade. He was back with his Texas boys!

With Ector’s Brigade, made up of Texas infantry units, Brinson’s portion of the 40th Alabama, took part in the Battle of Chickamauga, September 19 and 20. It was the largest, and the bloodiest, 2 day, battle, of the War, and was a resounding Southern victory. On both sides, over 34,000 men were killed, wounded or captured! Strange, but Chickamauga is an Indian word that means “River Of Blood”!

During the opening of this battle, Ector’s Brigade was sent to reinforce Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, who’s units were fighting on the extreme right flank of the Southern line. This would be the first, and not the last, time Brinson would “Ride With Forrest” and through the heavy fighting of the entire 2 day battle, the Brigade held, prohibiting the Yankees from sending reinforcements to the main part of the fight that was raging less than one mile away, an important bridge, Reed’s Bridge, over Chickamauga Creek.

Still on the extreme right flank of the Confederate lines, on the second day of the fight, Ector’s Brigade charged and broke through the Union lines, causing the Union commander, Gen. Rosecrans, to withdraw a Division from his left to reinforce the break. At that opportune time, General Longstreet, with his Corps, just arriving by rail, from Virginia, smashed into the gap in the Union line, and the chase was on, all the way back to Chattanooga!

After the battle, General Forrest said, “When the Texans charged at Chickamauga it excited my admiration!” I bet it did!

Winning Ways Continued – Week 3

Despite the threats from Hurricane Ike, this past Friday night, September 12, both Goldthwaite and Copperas Cove scored impressive victories.

Copperas Cove traveled north of Dallas to play McKinney and rolled over them 49-14, bringing their record to 3-0. At lunch on Saturday, Sara told me that she got back to Copperas Cove at 2:00 AM and that it was a long trip! Because of the hurricane and its uncertainties, the game was started one hour early. This coming Friday, Cove has an off week, but will crank it back up on the 26th.

In the annual “Battle of the River”, Class 1A, Goldthwaite rolled over traditional rival, Class 2A, San Saba, 35-0. The offense ‘rolled” and the defense was outstanding.

Pictured are the 3 starting freshmen, Colton – 65, Tyler – 11 and Sergio – 70. They played solid games. Sergio stopped up the middle and besides making a lot of tackles, Colton recovered a fumble and Tyler intercepted a pass!

This coming Tuesday, September 16, I’ll be in San Marcos, watching another Grandson, Austin Bryan, play in his first middle school game. He is a running back, another “hitter” and plays on all the special teams. Mikayla “cheers” again on the 18th and Austin, like Colton and Mikayla, is a gifted athlete and an outstanding student.