Deer Camp Blog

Deer Camp Blog- the outdoor column of The Bodock Times- (a satirical periodical) Humor and Hunting at the famous Christmas Place Plantation Hunting Club on the edge of the Mississippi Delta

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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Hanging Tree

Creepy, MS> On the way to the Famous Christmas Place you leave Lexington going west and drop off into the Mississippi Delta to a little crossroad called Howard. A former railroad stop that was once thriving is now an empty crossroad with only a few weatherbeaten old buildings still leaning against each other.
Leaving here you catch a gravel road that winds south against the edge of the hills. The road is old and not kept up very well.Travel this rough and rutted road for about three miles and you will come to the Hanging Tree.
Records show that this was once a happy and thriving community named Blissdale, on the edge of the Great Swamp that still goes by the name Blissdale Swamp. 10 stores and a thriving community based on farming and river traffic that disappeared in bloody death and fire.Leaning over the old road at this spot is an immense tree known to everyone as “The Hanging Tree” The Bodock Times has researched the local records that tell the tragic story of Blissdale. The accounts say that late in the Civil War many brigands and robbers appeared that were deserters looking for spoils. These outlaws from both North and South would join up in groups and terrorize small farms and homes for whatever the residents had. Times were hard and lawless, but the tiny town had survived what they thought was the worst of it.One day a large group of outlaws rode into the isolated town of Blissdale thinking that it would be easy to steal whatever they wanted. They were wrong. The townspeople fought back wounding and killing several outlaws and capturing most of the rest. The town held a quick trial and the outlaws were dragged into the road, ropes were thrown into the branches of the large tree, and the criminals were unceremoniuously hung. The hard spirited townspeople decided to leave them for a while as a warning to other outlaws. It was a hard time in life, and it took hard actions to protect the people there. The old and faded hand written journals we read; record that it was a horrible and chilling sight.
By chance, a Union Cavalry unit came through looking for General Forrest and came upon the gruesome sight. Looking up at the bodies, the Colonel in charge saw that many of the hung men were dressed in blue Yankee uniforms. He became enraged and did not believe the townspeoples’ story about them being outlaws. He ordered the town burned and the mayor and as many as 15 of the other prominent townspeople (men and women) hung as a lesson to the defiant people. They were left with the rotting bodies already in the tree.
The only standing remnants of the once vibrant town is one
old dilapidated home and a crumbling vine covered silo. So disappeared the little town of Blissdale.
Since that time it has been one of the most haunted places in the Mississippi delta. The local people whisper about sights they have seen there and mostly avoid the old road during the day. They will not ever travel it at night; especially on Halloween.
Many people have said that late at night if you are traveling the lonely road and happen to pass under the tree you can see the ghostly bodies hanging and twisting from the giant tree limbs and hear the screams of terror of the people being killed as the town was burned.
Speed up for they say that sometimes a motor will suddenly quit and you will be found hanging from the tree the next morning.

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Monday, October 30, 2006

Don't Cut your Granny


Campfire, MS> (As told by Hershel Howell)This tale used to scare the heck out of me as a kid! (Editor) Years ago, before Sardis Lake was built, the Tallahatchie River Bottom was a wild and treacherous forest filled with cane breaks, river runs, giant old cypress, scaly barks, and water oaks. The land was swampy with bog holes and quicksand that a person could disappear into and never be seen again. All sorts of wild animals were there. Panthers, some bears, alligators, snakes, wild hogs, and about any other animal you could name. It was also a place made for a young boys’ wild adventures and a true hunters dream. In those days a lot of time was spent coon hunting which combined the both of them.
The boys sat around the big fire, talking and relaxing, as they waited late that night. Far off they heard the dogs hit the trail, and cut loose howls that the boys had never heard before. The spine-tingling howls chilled the young men as they listened to the dogs trail deep into the swamp. Finally, they heard a wild barking and howling as they treed the coon. The boys gathered up their things from around the fire, lit their coal-oil lanterns, doused the fire and headed out. They knew the great swamp well and crossed into the heart of it by walking on hidden deer trails. They led the old pack mule, with no problem, but the wails and barking of the dogs was eerie and the mule fought against heading in that direction. They finally advanced into a small clearing with a tall dead cypress snag sticking up in the middle of it. Holding a lantern aloft, they could see the large pack of dogs frantically biting the base of the tree and fighting among themselves. One group started grabbing the dogs and fighting them away from the tree, while the other group tried to spot the coon. The dogs acted crazy and it took most of the boys to round them up and move them away to a safe distance. Looking way up, they could see a black hole in the side of the dead tree. There was nothing to do but cut the tree down. A fire was started to give some light and keep warm while the crosscut saw was unloaded from the mule. The biggest boys grabbed each end and started sawing while others held back the dogs. The two young men quickly sawed the rotted old tree till it cracked and crashed to the ground. Moving up the tree, they located the hole in the tree and found it was an opening into a large hollow place that was too big to spot the coon. There was also a horrible stench coming from the blackness and no one wanted to stick a hand in there. They laid their lanterns on the log beside the hole, put the saw to the wood and started cutting right across the hole. As they cut deeper into the hollow spot of the dead tree, they heard a terrifying grunting and hissing sound coming out of the black hole. They stopped and pulled the saw out to listen. A rumbling was coming nearer to the cut in the tree and they stepped back. Then a sickening odor rolled out of the hole, followed by a maniacal laugh. The boys froze, the dogs became silent and cowered in fear, and then a horrible black head rose out of the hole. The horrible red-eyed thing looked at the boys, rolled its’ tongue out about a foot and said “ Mind boys, Don’t Cut Your Granny!”, and gave a crazy, horrible laugh.
The mad, demonic sight sent the terror filled boys scrambling as they all broke and ran, as did all the dogs. All of them took off across the swamp as fast as they could. It was claimed the boys outran the dogs back to the house. The mule was never seen or heard from again and none of the boys ever ventured into the swamp after dark again.

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Tornado Cleanup


Shambles, MS> We arrived at tornado alley Friday night and started to work Saturday morning. I pulled the ragged chainsaw out and started pulling on it. Nothing. Pull, nothing, pull, nothing for thirty minutes. Finally it cranked and was so pitiful that it would not cut. Much adjusting and Dads' sage advice later, it finally got where it would run. Of course, the chain was so dull that you could not cut butter.
Cut, stop, pull, sharpen chain, cut, , stop, pull, repeat. this went on most of the morning until someone found the key to Pauls new fourwheeler. Did I mention that it is a Grizzly 660. Wow! We threw down our rusty tools and all went mud riding. Yahoo!! Another fun time. We finished up and headed in. They put out some more rye grass seed that afternoon and Denise and I, plus the kids headed back to Water Valley to walk the Pine Valley Haunted Trail.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The EastGate Phantom

Chaney, Ms> There is an old road (the Gray Rock Road) that winds west to east across the center of the famous Christmas Place. If you follow this road, it leads to the old village of Coxburg on a paved county road. This is just a crossroad in the middle of nowhere now, but go south on this road for a mile and you come to a red metal gate that leads into the backside of our property. This area can only be reached by going around on the paved road. The sharp, steep ridges and deep hollows across the bluff country is too steep to push roads into that area. It is quiet and very lonesome over there, and everyone that hunts over there agrees that someone or something is over there too.
Guests would hunt there, come in and ask about the strange man they saw in the woods. Members hunting there have almost all seen a sinister looking man peeping at them from behind a tree or slipping stealthily through the woods. Several times in the afternoon, someone would say that there was a man in their stand that jumped down and ran away as they walked into the field. They have yelled at him to stop but he disappears into the shadowy hollows.
Burney paid little attention and like me, he made jokes and fun of people reporting the strange happenings. The mysterious figure became the EastGate Phantom. This is funny during the day, but at night it is not. Burney learned this first hand.
The moon shaped field there had been worked and planted very well and the grass was thick. Deer sign was everywhere and Burney laughed the superstitious idiots off that tried to scare him before he left that afternoon. He took his fourwheeler, traveled the old road, found the paved road and followed it to the gate, got into the stand quietly and got ready. The afternoon was fun with several small bucks coming out, lots of deer eating and playing in the lush grass, but no big bucks as the sun made it’s way below the horizon. Slowly the deer left the field and the air turned colder as an early full moon rose in the sky. The moonlight gave him about 10 extra minutes to hunt and he listened hard for any sound of a deer coming his way. Just as he knew it was too late and that if a deer did come out he couldn’t see it in his scope, he heard measured walking coming straight to him down the edge of the field. He froze and strained his eyes to see the deer.
He was unnerved to see a man striding his way. Burney did not move hoping the man would leave before he saw him. The thought of the phantom did not come to his mind until the man stopped in a patch of moonlight not 20 feet away.
A tall man in a ragged black suit gazed up at him. He grinned a wide, wicked smile up at Burney that revealed a pale face, horrifyingly scarred. The face scared Burney but he did not move, his finger slipped over and eased the safety off his .270.
The man reached inside his coat and pulled out a long knife. He held it close to his chest, then pulled the knife up and ran his tongue down the long blade. He raised his head and pantomimed the slitting of his throat. When he raised his head to do this, the moonlight seemed to reflect off of his eyes for a second. He then pointed his arm in the direction of the road and gave a truly evil laugh, turned, walked away and disappeared into the night.
Burney was terrified and mad at the same time and got down ready to use his gun or beat the hell out of the crazy man. As his feet hit the ground he realized that the phantom had told him that he was going to cut his throat as he went back to his fourwheeler by the road. It was a long walk out, with him keeping his rifle ready and shining his light at every noise and shape along the way. Just as he reached his four wheeler, he heard a bone-chilling laugh. The insane laughter was coming closer as he tried to get on the fourwheeler and get it started. Finally it cranked as another gibbering crazed laugh sounded almost on top of him. He jumped on the machine and took off like a bullet.
No one has hunted the area in two years.

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Killer Tornado Hits Christmas Place

Cyclone, MS> Paul"Hot Weld" Jones called on the phone and screamed "A tornado just hit the Christmas Place" He added "Everythings OK, except that it knocked trees down across all the roads" Hershel "ASAP" Howell was ecstatic! He quickly organized a giant work party. He hit his speed dial and called Rex.
"Rex, Trees are down at the camp, I'm organizing a big work party to clean it all up" "GET your Chainsaw!" Rex answered "OK, How many people have you got?" He answered "Just You" and hung up.
Desperate times call for desperate actions, Rex started calling the members.
Briinnng! "Burney, a tornado hit the camp, we need chainsaws and all hands this weekend.""UHHHHH... so sowwy, Mr. Burney, no live here, he move to Okiehoma, no speak Eenglish call back after deer season" CLICK!! That was strange, I didn't know he was moving out of the country.
Briinnggg! "Paul, need help, a tornado hit the Christmas Place, we need help and chainsaws. Silence..... "I would love to help, but I am squirrel hunting with rich doctors and lawyers, more important than you peons. I will be with you in spirit!" CLICK!!!!
Brinnggg! "Mark, help! Tornado hit the Christmas Place and roads are blocked" He answered " Rebels, blah, blah, Auburn, Coach O, Grove, Go Rebs, Hotty Toddy! Rebs!" CLICK!! funny I didn't invite Coach O. Hell, who was left?
Brinngg! "Trent, need chainsaws to clear road at Christmas Place this weekend" He said "I will be on the tractor and when I finish I will be scouting. CLICK!!!!
I did not even know you could run a chainsaw while sitting on a tractor.
I hung up and realized, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Paul and The Hidden Mine


Sierra Madre, MS> It all started with a scouting trip and a chance finding of a rusty skeleton key. Paul was making a wide sweep across the famous Christmas Place Hunting Club looking for signs of a big buck to hunt opening day. He had reached a sheer bluff that cuts across the property and found a deer trail that wandered into the thick brush at the base of the cliff. Fighting 10 foot high sticker bushes, thorn trees and thick honeysuckle he forced his way along the trail hoping to find an opening that might be a hidden honey hole for a big buck. The narrow trail hugged the base of the sheer bluff until the overhanging wall seemed to be a threat of collapsing on him. In fact, numerous small parts of the wall had recently caved off making it difficult to follow the rocky trail.
Easing along, watching for deer sign and keeping an eye on the bluff looming above him, he looked down and saw a small rusty piece of metal in the trail. Reaching down he pulled it out of the dirt and saw that it was an old skeleton key. He wiped it off on his shirt, wondering where in the world it had come from. As he started to slide it in his pocket, he realized that he had reached a sharp turn in the wall and there had recently been a large cave in as part of the wall had broken away and fallen. Moving up on the rubble he noticed several pieces of old planks along with a broken and rusty kerosene lantern.
He squatted down to look at these items and then noticed a hole at the base of the fall, leading into the side of the cliff. The small opening looked man made to him and he eased over and peered inside. It was jet black but he could make out wooden bracing and smooth walls just inside. He reached in his pocket for the flashlight he carried on scouting trips, turned it on and shined the light inside. All he could tell was the tunnel lead deep into the hillside. He grabbed a piece of the old wood plank and started to dig out the opening.Soon, he had opened it up enough to crouch down and step inside. He looked above him and felt safe that the wall above would not collapse any more, shined the light in and moved inside. The floor was packed smooth, the walls were also smooth and cut through a layer of clay that had been smoothed with a trowel. Several rough hewn braces had been added to support the tunnel along with several small recesses that held old lanterns.
He thought to himself that it was a goldmine but realized it was probably a shaft to keep food and milk cold for some family long ago during the summers. Then he reached the door. A large oak door bound in iron. He reached out and tried to open it but no luck. Shining the light he saw the keyhole and realized that he had the key in his pocket!
He stood there very quietly, scared and excited, listening for any noise. He glanced back at the light from the opening twenty feet away. Heart beating wildly, he pulled the key out, wiped it on his leg a few times, spit on it and eased it in the lock. Unbelievably, it turned smoothly and with a loud click the lock released and he pushed the heavy door open with a loud creaking sound.
Not stepping in, he shined the light into a large round chamber. The room was filled with wooden boxes. He saw that some said dynamite on the side. Others had the name Jacob Walz on the side. A large table was in the center of the hidden chamber that was half covered with small rocks covered in dust. A large piece of parchment was held down by an old lantern. Paul stepped into the room, and studied the boxes without touching anything. He moved to the table, ignored the rocks and studied the paper. Shining his light and blowing the dust off, he realized it was an old map that had a mountain range labeled Superstitious Mountains, some dim writing in the corner that appeared to be compass bearings and had a trail on the map that led to a large X. He started to get the map, but the edges crumbled with the slightest touch. He started to move the lamp away to try to roll the map up and then gently moved a few rocks off the edges.
He didn’t notice that the old door had silently closed behind him until he heard the slight click as it snapped shut. Panic gripped him as he instantly imagined himself locked in and dying in the darkness. He rushed to the door with everything else forgotten and tried to open it. He pulled, he jerked to no avail, and then he even yelled for help but realized that he was totally alone. The feeling of being buried alive almost made him lose control as he saw the small flashlight was getting dimmer. He closed his eyes a second and tried to think. Opening them, he tried to work the old key in the lock but it wouldn’t go in from this side of the door. Looking close, he saw that the keyhole was almost closed shut from rust. Breathing deeply he finally remembered his father always telling him to stay cool in an emergency. He looked around and grabbed a couple of the rocks from the table, he stuck one in his pocket just in case, and used the other to gently tap the key into the lock. After several gentle taps, the key slid in.
He dropped the rock and tried turning the key back and forth until, finally, it gave and unlocked as before. He jerked the door open against the wall as he dropped the key in his pocket, there was a small rumble that made a few small rocks and a bit of dirt fall from the ceiling of the chamber. It was time to leave and bring back help. He quickly moved down the tunnel, and heard the door once again click shut just before he moved out into the sunlight. Deer hunting forgotten, he hurried back to camp as the sun went down.
Paul told us of his adventure that night as a huge storm whipped the Christmas Place.
The electricity went out, candles were lit and between flashes of lightning he told the story, showed us the key and we discussed what it all meant until we fell asleep. The next morning we headed out to the cliff. The storm was gone and the sun was bright. We worked our way to the base of the bluff where it made the sharp turn and then realized that during the night, the whole side of the bluff had collapsed burying anything that was there under hundreds of thousands of cubic feet of dirt. Trent, Paul and Rex agreed then and there that one day soon they would hire equipment and reopen the hidden room. Meanwhile we have done extensive research and believe that Jacob Walz was the lost Dutchman of the famous lost Dutchman Mine . He had made several trips back and forth to Natchez and could have slowly moved his treasure here in wooden boxes, especially labeled as explosives. The other thing is the small rock Paul had kept in his pocket. Cleaned up, here is a picture of it.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Safely Returned From Our Cruise

Gilligans Island> We safely returned from our cruise last night and found that everyone and everything is still the same. Wish we could turn around and go back today. Sometimes I envy Gilligan and the rest of the crew.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Poseidon Misadventure


Puerta Mobile, Al> Tomorrow we leave on our cruise to Mexico. When we booked the trip, we had the choice of three ships, the Titantic II, the Poseidon II or the Mary Celeste II. For some reason they did not sound very appetizing and we finally just picked the Poseidon. Four days of sunshine, blue water and half clad women, just
what the doctor ordered. Greg and Kim Jones are going for Kims' birthday and invited Denise and I to tag along. Mr. Jones was a problem about going until I assured him that they had a Waffle House on board. Our limited Spanish vocabulary and lots of twenty dollar bills should make it easy for the natives to understand us.

The Blues Brothers

Grove, MS> While some of us are working like hell to get ready for deer season, others of more nefarious means are inventing ways to get into major trouble. I received this photo from these two future felons that somehow bribed and cheated their way into being the escorts for the new Homecoming Queen at Ole Miss. Their pictures should be in your local post office soon. They are the notorious Bill "Horn Dog" Howard and his accomplice Mark "Rack Checker" Larson. You can understand why they need to wear sunglasses.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Pitiful 2006 Squirrel Camp


Slim Pickins, MS> Everyone was excited and converged Friday afternoon at the famous Christmas Place Rodent Ranch for the annual Squirrel Hunt. Mark and I arrived early, but were concerned with the quality of the hunters rolling in.


Joe Newman and his son Michael were there along with Sam Goodwin and Baxter Jones. Hershel was puttering in the kitchen and Bobby was already poking the fire and getting Austin to find firewood. A crooked shooting bunch if I ever saw one. Don't worry it gets worse!


A couple of unprepared bowhunters, Burney and Andy Ozbourne (Ozzies' boy), came strolling in as lost as a ghost in a snow storm. Sam Goodwin was talking and hollering to beat the band and his son Thomas just shook his head. To top it off Paul Howell and his son Michael came in just before supper with OUR new Grizzly 660 fourwheeler.


They talked about squirrels, they drank, they talked about shotguns, they talked about different loads and techniques, they drank, they ate supper, they drank, they talked, drank, talked, drank and drank some more.
I could see a disaster looming!
Just before they went to bed, Greg Jones and his son Tyler came in, so they drank some more! I will give them credit, everyone was up and ready to go before daylight.
Off to the woods on a perfect morning! When Mark and I got back from fixing stands
there were no deer, few squirrels and some quiet hunters dressing the game. That afternoon the Rebels also lost to that damn Alabama in overtime. Crikey!

During the game a harbinger of even worse luck showed up in the form of Allen Mcleod and his unlucky son Conner. Allen fit right in with the other losers and seemed to have a great time as Paul fed him lie after lie about his hunting abilities and the Christmas Place. No one had their heart in it that afternoon and only a few more squirrels were taken. It seemed like everyone wanted to just sit around the fire and visit.
That night was better as Squirrel and Dumplings was the main menu. Their was just enough squirrels to feed the lot of them and it was really good. Sweet potatos, Jalepena cornbread, and I don't even know what else filled everyone to bursting levels. Don't forget plenty of liquid refreshments as we moved to the fire and told stories, lies and damn lies.
The next day the whole sorry lot of them staggered off to the woods and did worse than the day before! Tyler earned the nickname Crow Killer with some nifty blasting of these miniature vultures. Sam Goodwin was the Top Squirrel Hunter For 2006. He is the only person crazy enough to hunt the varmints in his bare feet. Here is a picture of the whole group, so you can pick out the guilty parties. We had a great time even though we missed a few of our old friends.
Hope everyone can make the Squirrel Camp For 2007!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Hogses and Deerses and SNAKES, OH MY!

Careful Step, MS> On the famous Christmas Place Hunting Plantation, not only do we have to beware of wild hogs that will skewer and gut you in a minute, we have big racked bucks that think nothing of attacking and ripping a man to shreds with its' antlers. Worst of all, we also have giant rattlesnakes that kill 3 or 4 of our hunters every year. Burney managed to get this slithering serpent before it got him.

Friday, October 13, 2006

2005 Squirrel Camp

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Death to Tree Rats!

Squeaky, MS> This is a tree rat. Notice the beady eyes and nasty teeth on this critter. This weekend the famous Christmas Place will hold their annual squirrel hunt to help eradicate these rodents. They sneak around on the ground and then fly over your head. They will bark at you incessently as you ease through the woods. They will throw acorns, pecans or hickory nuts at you as you walk under a tree. They are vile, evil and vicious. Everyone please bring extra shells to exterminate these varmints.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

MISS MANNERS SQUIRREL CAMP ETIQUETTE

RULES OF ETIQUETTE FOR HUNTERS 10/14/2006

1. DO NOT GET DRUNK AND LET YOUR FACE FALL IN YOUR STEW. IT IS GROSS AND YOU WILL DROWN
2.NO ONE IS ALLOWED TO SEE A BIG BUCK WHILE SQUIRREL HUNTING, PRETEND IT IS NOT THERE, REPORT TO ME IN PRIVATE.
3.DO NOT GET DRUNK AND FALL IN FIRE.
4.DO NOT GET DRUNK AND FALL ON GUY DALE OR BOBBY. BOBBY HAS A CANE AND GUY DALE IS FASTER THAN HE LOOKS
5. BLACK SQUIRRELS COUNT DOUBLE
6. MAKE JOE NEWMAN FEEL AT HOME, YOU CAN FALL ON HIM
7 EVERYONE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR SAM
8. CLOTHES MUST BE WORN AT MEALS
9. EVERYONE MUST HATE ALABAMA
10. SOMEONE MUST BE SOBER ENOUGH TO FIND GREG JONES IN THE WOODS.
11. SOMEONE MUST BE SOBER ENOUGH TO LEAVE PAUL IN THE WOODS.
12. REMEMBER THAT THE BODOCK TIMES ONLY TELLS THE TRUTH. ALL ACTIVITIES WILL BE REPORTED IN THE NEXT EDITION
13. MAKE BAXTER FEEL WELCOME, ONLY TALK ABOUT HIM WHEN HE IS IN ANOTHER ROOM.
14. BRAG ON HERSHELS COOKING, MOST PEOPLE NEVER GET SQUIRREL HEAD SOUP.
15. IF PAUL GETS BITTEN BY A SNAKE, TRY NOT TO LAUGH.
16. CONDUCT YOURSELVES LIKE PEOPLE WE REALLY DON’T KNOW.
17. FINALLY, THE PERSON TAKING THE MOST SQUIRRELS WILL BE REMEMBERED AS THE HERO OF THE CAMP WITH THEIR PICTURE IN THE BODOCK TIMES!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Big 80th Birthday Party

Water Valley, MS> The day finally arrived for the big birthday bash. It was held at the Tearoom in Water Valley. Denise had set everything up with CJ (the owner). The tables were festive with balloons, the food was delicious, photos of dad from every age in his life were scattered around the tables and walls. Big band music played softly on an old phonograph. Everyone brought presents.He even had a picture birthday cake!
Marilyn came with Hanh and sat at the head table with Mom and Dad.
Trent and Shelley, Paul and Wanda, Rex and Denise, all sat together
Haley, Hillary and Sarah sat with Tyler and Kyle and seemed to have a great time
Spencer and Erin sat with Michael and his friend Hannah. They kept things spiced up!

Even our cousins, Bebo and Kent came with their wives Jan and MaryJean. They sat with Kim Jones.
Trent gave a speech! "When I was a boy, my dad taught me to hunt"
Blah, Blah, Blah! Give a boy a fish, you feed him for a day. Yada, Yada, Yada,
Teach a boy to fish, you feed him for a lifetime. Blah, blah, yada, yada
Crickets chirped followed by polite applause.

Paul gave a speech! He laid out his 10 Dad points in Lawyerese.
1. blah, blah, blah, What the hell? 2. Yada, yada, yada, I'm getting sleepy. 3. more blah, blah, Can't keep my eyes open. 4. yada, yada, glassy eyes. 5. gentle snores 6. loud snores. no one heard the rest of the points! Polite applause as everyone recovered from their stupor.

Rex gave a speech! The audience was gripped by his words. In the tradition of Hemingway, Robert Frost, Lincoln and Nash Buckingham, his great oration, razor wit and rapier style captured the audience. They hung on his every word as he talked about his love for his father. He made the audience laugh, they cried, they intently absorbed his every word. They went crazy! They cheered and clapped as he finished and modestly sat down.


Dad ate cake, said a few words of Thank Yous, and opened presents.
It was a wonderful and fitting party for a man we all love so well. We hated that it was over and we wish that we could do more to show our appreciation. Happy 80th Birthday Dad! We Love You!

Monday, October 09, 2006

HOMECOMING 2006

University, MS> Homecoming weekend at Ole Miss! The weather was perfect and the Grove was filled with tailgaters cooking, drinking and enjoying the morning. We met Mark at his tent and had those early morning beverages and talked to all our friends wandering by. I have been other places for tailgating but I promise that you have never seen anything like Ole Miss during a ballgame. The big trees, bright colors, beautiful women, and the excitement as 50 thousand people enjoy just being there together. To top it off, the OLE MISS REBELS won the game against Vanderbilt 17-10 despite themselves. We kept trying to figure out who side our quarterback was playing for. Lots of turnovers kept us in it and we celebrated as the final horn sounded. Burney, Paul, Lammey and his sons at Marks' tent
Dem Joneses were there! Kim, Tyler, and Kyle
The ladies! Kim Stewart, Wanda Howell, Kim Jones and Denise Sunderland
Mark Stewart, Paul Howell, Bill Howard and your friendly and modest blogger Rex Howell

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Mysterious Rod Storrs

DoubleNaught,MS> Rod Storrs is a mystery, inside a conundrum, inside an enigma, etc. Who is he? What the hell is he doing in Mississippi? Many people believe that he is in the Federal Witness Protection Program.Others believe that he is an agent for CONTROL. Here are the important and kind of weird facts we know. First he is a Yankee, we have accepted that but after 20 years here, he still talks funny. He is known to disappear for weeks, months or years at a time with no explanation and has a habit of talking to his shoe. He says he served in Vietnam but we don't know on whose side. He knows a lot about Black Helicopters. He was just sightseeing on that grassy knoll in Dallas and likes his martinis shaken, not stirred. He also can show up at the strangest times. You are at a ballgame and LOOK! Rod is a damn referee! You go in a bar and find him huddled in a corner with a shadowy character that resembles a Klingon. You are in the middle of nowhere duck hunting, turn around and he is standing right beside you! He learned Karate from a strange Buddhist monk in China and has a strange resemblance to Santa Claus. He loves to hunt. Turkey, deer, whatever. After he shoots, he always says "My life for you, Godfather".
He lives in a swamp north of Oxford. This is bizarre without adding anything to it.
His cabin is hidden way back in the woods and I can assure you that trespassing would be fatal
He lives alone but has a thing for redheads and always injects the phrase "THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE " into a conversation.A good hunting companion, always in a good mood, quick to laugh and fun to joke with. He has been a good friend of the Howell family for a long time.
P.S. I have checked his fingers to see if they are the right length (they are). So if he is an alien bounty hunter his disguise is perfect.

Hidden Treasure?


Oak Island, MS> Everyone knows that there are secrets buried at the famous Christmas Place Prospectors Club. The land sits south of the old cotton capital of the world at Greenwood, MS and north of Vicksburg and Natchez, which were big trading areas and early settlements. The main wagon road led directly through the heart of our property. When we bought the land we were told of the cannon barrel of gold buried there. We keep a sharp eye out knowing that is not all that is buried here. The woods are full of old homesites and rock chimneys. Plowing the fields we find old bottles, arrowheads, and assorted bricks and pottery. Robbers and thieves ran amok in the area and everyone knows they buried their treasure here.
A few years ago, Trent was sneaking around looking for sign and was crossing the main cottonfield when a gleam caught his eye. Reaching down he pulled a silver half dollar out of the dirt. Yeehah!!!! He looked for more, then headed to the camp.
The members gathered around and studied the coin for awhile. The great deductive minds were not sure when it was buried but is was obviously stolen by the notorious stagecoach robber Ben Franklin. Brilliant!!!!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Ghost Lights of the Arrowhead Field

Phantom, MS> Mark Stewart came in late that night. He had hunted the Arrowhead Field up past the lake. The story he told that night at dinner was eerie and strange.
The day had been gloomy and overcast and he had only seen a few does crossing the field, and none had spent more than a few moments eating before they moved on. He patiently waited the last few minutes of daylight in case a big buck eased across the field in the fading light. The late evening air turned cold as the sun disappeared and night crept across the famous Christmas Place. Mark turned, watching desperately, and watched for any movement along the edge of the field. Wisp of fog rolled through the hollow below him and trailed out into the food plot.
The stand is in the center of a long field that balloons on each end. Hunting there ensures that you have to continually scan the field in front of and behind you. The site of an Indian village 500 or so years ago, we had found several arrowheads in the field and hence it’s name.
The sun was gone and several three deer came in and start grazing. Finally, they wandered off into the darkness. He waited till pitch dark before deciding to come down from the stand. He stood up and stretched his legs. A deer snorted down the field and he could barely see its’ flag as it bounced away. He sat down and lit a cigarette to wait a few more minutes and realized that the woods to his right were starting to glow. A deep hollow runs the edge of the field on that side and it seemed that a pale light was moving toward him up from the bottom this area.
His first thought was wondering who was hunting in there and what the heck they were doing.
The light moved up through the trees until it reached the edge of the treeline, then seemed to lift straight up and hang above the trees. Mark watched in amazement trying to figure out what was going on. He lifted his rifle and put his scope on the object.
He said it was round, slightly fuzzy and held a pale white and green glow. It seemed to pulse occasionally as it moved out and hovered over the field about 10 feet in the air.
It was hard to judge but it seemed about four feet around as it floated about 30 yards in front of him. Thinking quickly he pulled out his quick shot camera and took a picture. He put out his cigarette and watched as it started to lower itself then pop back up in the air. A terrible feeling of dread and danger seemed to grip Mark. It moved closer and he began to get a bad feeling that whatever it was had become aware he was watching and that he should get out of there. It moved closer to him and hung straight out in front of him, no more than 10 feet away. It became motionless as Mark eased his rifle down to firing position. It stayed right in front of him for about five minutes, slightly pulsing and slowly changing from white to pale green and then to yellow. Swirls of color and light inside the strange orb seemed to form angry faces that stared at him or seemed to give unheard screams and other movements making him wonder if they were calls for help or of horror. Swirling inside and rapidly changing colors, faded away to other movement and faces inside, leaving him feeling horrified and sick. His heart beating wildly, he also had a lost feeling that a terrible wrong had happened that he could not stop. Then it moved away to the edge of the field, worked its’ way slowly down through the trees and disappeared below the ridgeline.
Mark quickly got down and headed back to camp. Many of the members laughed and told him it was a good story. He said they could believe what they wanted, but he would never be on that stand at dark again.

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