Category Archives: Random Thoughts

Things that get “mulled” over.

New Blog Links

Recently I’ve added three new blogs that everyone will enjoy visiting.

[Deer Passion] is a great blog that talks about deer hunting, of course, and the things related to the sport, along with anything else that interests the blogger A recent post has a great recipe for venison, meat loaf!

If you are a duck hunter, or contemplate getting into the fun,[ Acrylic [Duck Calls] will be a site that will interest you. Browse through the blog and be sure to stop at their duck hunting, store.

The last one is  Hunting Knives  . Anything you want in cutlery shows up here. Prices range from under $20.00 up. Check this one out!

Growing Up – Watermelon Patch

As WWII ended, spending most of my summers at my grandma Bryan’s house, outside of Marlin, was an exciting time for me. But, as boys in a rural setting will do, we decided that we needed more excitement than just catching crawdads.

One afternoon, my cousin, Dan, said that he thought stealing some watermelons would be fun. I quickly agreed with him. Our first job was to find a patch with some ripe melons. He figured that down the lane from Grandmas, Uncle Tom Norwood’s patch would be just about ripe.

To both of us, being 10 years old, Uncle Tom was a menacing figure. Tall, erect, a retired schoolteacher and, we later discovered that he was also a former slave. Before, or during, the Civil War, he was born into slavery and at the time he must have been over 85 years old. His wife, Betty, approximately the same age and a former slave too and when we were younger she was a very caring nanny to both Dan and I. Being the closest patch around, we picked Uncle Tom’s.

We figured that it would be better if we stole the melons during the afternoon since the high temperature then would probably keep Uncle Tom inside. Down the lane, short pants and tennis shoes clad, we snuck and ahead, spotting the melon patch. Climbing through the fence we noticed some sticker kind of low, bushy flowers growing among the melons. We soon found out that these harmless looking “flowers” were really bull nettles, Cnidoscolus texanus, or stinging nettles, a very poisonous plant known to kill small animals, even small dogs. The little hairs along the leaf packed a wallop, especially on bare legs!

Finding two ripe melons was easy. The hard part was getting them out of the patch. The first thing I did was to brush against a nettle. Wow, that stung as bad as a yellow jacket (then)! Then Dan brushed against one, howling, and the race was on! Our goal of stealing melons was quickly forgotten as we dropped ‘em and scrambled out of the patch and hightailed it home.

Our legs were on fire as we told our Grandma what we’d done. In no uncertain terms, she scolded us for even thinking of taking one of Uncle Tom’s watermelons, but, kindly, she told us of an old Texas remedy for bull nettle stings, pee on the sting. We peed on each others legs and the stinging abated and we never thought again about stealing watermelons again!

More Bumps In The Night

This is another tale from the Haney Ranch. Mike Mitchell and I went up to help Rick rework his cattle pens, and after a long day and evening finally ate and went to bed late. Later that night, I was awakened from a sound sleep, hearing the “thunk, thunk” of something walking around the porch. The weather was warm as I knocked on the door and went into Rick’s room.

The AC was running full blast and the lump under a pile of covers must have been Rick. “You hear that sound, someone walking around your porch?” I almost whispered. He uncovered, I noticed a watch cap on his head, he rose up and replied, “What sound, animals, I’m sure.” Rick blamed animals again, this was the second time he had done that?

Thinking to myself, how could he hear anything covered up like he was, with the AC roaring and with the watch cap on his head. Later that morning we talked about the “thunking” I had heard and Rick said again, “It’s just those ‘Dillos rooting around.”

The next day more work on the cattle pens, and after steaks, we talked for a while and turned in early and I finally found out why Rick had such strange sleeping habits. Tonight, just like last night was warm, and I wasn’t even covering with a sheet, when I woke up with a start! What’s going on here, I was freezing! Then I noticed the foot of the bed was leaning and I sensed that something/someone was setting on the end of the bed. What’s going on I asked myself, could this be a ghost, no way, I don’t even believe in ‘em!

Still freezing I said to the “whatever”, “I’m not afraid of you. I am a Christian and you don’t scare me!” Then something really strange happened, whatever it was on the end of the bed got up, I could feel the end of the bed rise as if a load was removed, the “whatever” moved away and the room returned to a normal temperature. Personally, “it” never bothered me again.

The next morning, when Rick and I had a chance to talk alone, I told him about my encounter the past night. His reply was, “I don’t want to hear it.” He was uncomfortable I could tell, but I went on with the entire story. He replied, “I have heard things go “bump” in the night before, but I have to sleep out here three or four nights a week. Why do you think I run the AC all year, even in freezing weather, wear a watch cap and cover up with all of those quilts? I really don’t want to talk about it.”

It sounded like Rick was afraid of the “whatevers” out here. This was the end of the story until the next time I came up.

Problems, Problems, Computer Problems

New Year’s resolutions are a necessary evil and I don’t subscribe to them any one bit, but to think that I made a quasi-resolution that I would go on a 5 day, posting schedule, really burns me up! Having made the quasi-resolution I had no idea at all that I would encounter computer problems, I was trying to move all of my stuff to Layla’s PC, with Randy’s help and as someone famous, Robert Burns to be specific, once said something in this regard, “The best laid plans of men and mice sometimes falter and gang awry”

My plans certainly faltered and gang awry, so much for the 5 day posting schedule, but I hope to resume posting somewhat regularly. Maybe not 5 days exactly, but never again will I make a quasi- New Year’s resolution, you see what trouble this led too!

So I’m back on my old computer, just wishing that I had succeeded in switching out the PC’s!

To The Winner Go The Spoils

Having won the Mill’s County General’s Store Big Buck Contest, the buck having scored a gross of 141-1/8, but when it was scored by my taxidermist, Mickey Donahoo it scored a gross of 142-6/8, anyway it was a big one! But my mind goes back to a fateful day in September, 1999 I believe, when I caught and released, the biggest speckled trout of my life!

Carl Pittman, deceased now, was with me on that fateful day, September 5, 1999, as we stopped and bought bait, live shrimp, at the Pleasure Island Bait Camp and we zipped through Galveston Harbor and cruised out to the jetties, south jetty in particular, to sample the trout fishing.  We pulled up to my favorite place, carefully slid the anchor into the water, it held and we cast out our rigs, standard rigs for the jetties, just a split shot 12 inches above the hook, a small treble hook, hooked to a live shrimp, we were in business.

It wasn’t long before the action started, we were sacking up the specks we probably had 8 or 10 when I had a big hit!  At first I thought it was a big redfish from the head shaking, but when it circled the boat, I knew it was a big trout, big it was, but after a 10 minute fight, and it fought all the way into the boat, Carl slipped the net under it and it was my fish!

Wow, we measured it and it was 29 inches long, had already spawned and estimated its weight at 9 pounds, a king sized speck.  Thinking, If I had caught this fish on, or before, August 31st, I would have won, The Upper Coast Division of The Star Tournament, the CCA Tournament and I would have won a new boat, motor and trailer, (along with a big tax problem)!  What a difference 5 days made.

Having caught (and eaten) several state record fish, catching and releasing this speckled trout and thinking of the millions of eggs she has spawned over her life, I was glad that I released her.  Winning the Tournament wasn’t a big deal to me sure the notoriety would have been fine, but I could do without the tax problem!  Thank goodness the prize for winning the Big Buck Contest wasn’t $30,000 big!

Well, as I’ve said before, you win some and you loose some, that’s life!

Multiplied Problems

Layla Ann Bryan, a wonderful wife and Christian lady, passed from this world at approximately 1:30 PM on Thursday, October 24,2013, the docs told us that she would wheel chair bound and couldn’t speak. Having a living will that said, an emphatic no, to any type of artificial means of keeping her alive, our family honored her wishes.

Layla was all about speaking, at her Senior Softball tournaments she always handled the giving out the awards, she was active in her Church and she kept me in line (with some difficulty). She’ll be missed terribly, but we know that soon we’ll all be joining her Heaven!


Sunday morning a week ago, my wife, Layla, who is diabetic, had a heart attack! She woke me up around 12:30AM complaining of chest pains and her hands were numb. Calling 911, they came immediately and took her to the hospital in Hamilton, where they didn’t have a cardiologist, so they took her on to Scott & White in Temple, Texas.

Tuesday before last Layla had a triple bypass, then on Monday, last week, she had 2 arteries opened with stints. Her condition is still critical, today, Saturday, the 19th, she is still in a medically induced coma, but the docs will try to wake her up tomorrow.

Layla is the number 2 person at Softball Players Association, she is very religious and a regular attendee at the Church of Christ. The entire softball nation and people all over our country are praying for her and with God’s help she will return to us!

Needless to say, there will be no posts on this blog until she improves.

Lack Of Posts

Having been away from the writing board this past week, it hasn’t been any fun, it started out Saturday the right way with a dove hunt with Randy, we got 5 birds, but all white wings! Feeling yucky the whole time, the doc finally diagnosed my malady, I was given some pills, told to take them, not to miss one then I would be fine. The wonders of medical science, obviously!

Fall came in with a roar! A 2.5 inch rain storm, a 15 MPH north wind, along with mud, which we hadn’t had any to speak of in over 6 months, now everything is muddy and slick! But, being in drought conditions, we’ll take the mud.

Last night was Goldthwaite’s homecoming and Mikayla showed her colors in a big way. She won the football beau title and to top that off, she won Homecoming Queen, not a bad night. The football team didn’t win though.

A Hitch In My Get Along

This past Wednesday I had my right knee “cleaned out”, cleaned out from bone chips, cartilage chips, along with spots of arthritis and I’ll be “stumpin’ around” for a week or two. The same doc that told me that I didn’t need a knee replacement did the surgery and he’s been keeping me playing Senior Softball for 5 years (after I was told by 2 docs that I’d need a knee replacement within a year). Such is life!

Surprisingly, there is some pain. When I go to bed at night, thinking the surgery would be a literal walk in the park, turning over is a great problem coupled with me being a restless sleeper, I wake up a lot! Last night, it was quite hot in our house and I checked the temp and found that it was 83, 83.8 to be exact. With the temp forecasted to be over 90 today, I hope our A/C man makes Sunday calls?

An old saying says, “When it rains, it pours”. It’s certainly pouring on us now, but “things” will get better!

Texas Independence Day

As a true Texan, 5 generations worth, I’m proud of my State, proud of its founders, proud of its heroes, proud of the Alamo, although the results weren’t to my satisfaction and doubly proud when General Sam Houston led his men to a rout of Santa Anna at the battle of San Jacinto in 1836! Being a 5th generation Texan carries no rewards except knowing in my heart that my relatives built a wonderful place to live and raise my family.

As Bum Phillips, former coach of the Houston Oilers, said “My dad’s buddy Bill had an old saying, he said “That some people, Texans, were forged from a hotter fire.” “Well, that’s what it is to be Texan. To be forged from a hotter fire.” This is the same Bum Phillips that said, when asked why he didn’t wear a hat inside the Houston Astrodome, “My Momma always told me not to wear my hat indoors!”

Along with Texas Independence Day, Texas A&M University, the seventh largest University in the nation and the largest University in Texas, also celebrates its Muster on this day, April 21st. The Aggie Muster is held to commemorate Aggies who have passed away the preceding year. In years past Musters have been held in foxholes and on ships of the Navy, now they are held in Afganistan, or wherever Aggies are present, maybe ballrooms or steakhouses or in the case of Mills County, Texas in a bank’s community room, also Aggie Musters have become one of Texas A&M’s most revered traditions!

When Suzanne and Randy were seniors in high school I told both of them, “You can go to college anywhere you like, but the money is going to Texas A&M!” Of course, both are now former Aggies.