Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Memphis Meets Thunderhoof

I get lots of emails from people wanting to know all about Thunderhoof. Is he real or a myth? Am I crazy or is the beast some kind of mischievious spirit? If he is so famous, how come other members of your camp haven't met him? Oh, but they Have!
I had kept the incredible bowhunting adventure quiet until I thought I was going to bust that year. In fact, I had never been so dedicated to shooting a deer and hunted at every chance I got to get another crack at the Gigantic Deer. The season dragged on and I had no luck. The season finally ended and Spring, Summer, Golf and Fishing were upon us.
That Spring I finally told Mark (in confidence) all about the Monster Deer and he thought it was a big joke. I insisted that it was true and that when I dragged that big SOB in with a backhoe that I wouldn’t let him be in the picture because of his sorry attitude!
He laughed it off. He laughed it off until the weekend of our annual golf and fish trip that we share during the crappie spawning season
We had spent the morning playing golf at Benton, then had come in and made sandwiches to take to the lake with us. We had cokes, pretzel, dip, beer, the sandwiches and chips. We were ready to hit the water..
We loaded everything into the 10 ft. flat bottom boat, secured a few life preservers and managed to get onto the lake without mishap.
An hour later, in the hot sun, we had caught a few fish and a few beers when we decided to break out our lunch. We were fishing in about 6-8 feet of water as we drifted along about 20 yards off the bank and I put my rod down, and opened the cooler. I got out the sandwiches and chips and started putting it together.
Marks’ voice had an odd quality to it as he said “Remember that Giant Deer you told me about a few months ago” I said “Yeah”
Mark said “ahhh…Look to your left”
The damn deer had walked out of the woods and was moseying along the shoreline right in front of us. His massive antlers were shining in the sun as he held his head up a minute, stopped, then looked at us. He was not 30 yards away. Mark and I sat frozen as the deer moved toward us and got his front foot in the water.
Mark did not move but out of the corner of his mouth I heard him violently whispering “Crank the motor, crank the damn motor, get us out of here” I could not think and sat there unblinking as the Giant Deer waded out to us and looked over the side of the boat.
The damn varmint reached out and ran it’s tongue into the potato chip sack about twice and they were all gone. Then it started on the bowl of pretzels I had put on the top of the cooler. Mark and I did not move. We did lean back to avoid the horns a little as the damn thing flipped open the cooler with it’s nose and rummaged through there. He then ate our sandwiches, including the one I was holding in my hand. I was afraid he was going to drink our beer too, but he stepped back, shook itself (almost turning us over) blew it’s nose at us in dismissal, wandered back to the bank and disappeared into the woods.
Mark and I had not moved or spoken a word the whole time.
I finally managed to croak a voice and asked him “you catching anything?”
All he could get out was “Quick! hand me a beer and keep ‘em coming!”

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Mess Of Fish

Burney took all the kids fishing and they caught fish 'till their arms hurt.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Last Straw

I woke up early Saturday morning to the sound of wood cracking and jumped out of bed half asleep. I quickly looked out the window and there was that stupid deer (you know who) rubbing his head against the side of the Old House on our property. He either had a flea or a tick and was raking the boards off the wall as he scratched away.
Suddenly the whole wall shifted, the gaint deer jumped aside and the whole wall fell off the side of the house! I stood there completely dazed and confused. Thunderhoof then sauntered off in the general direction of Dads' garden. When Dad got in from turkey hunting he was so mad he could spit nails after he saw the devastation and then found the deers' tracks all in his garden. "That's the last straw for that damn Varmint. If I even see that horrible thing around here again, I am going to use my shotgun to fill him full of turkey shot!"
Mark points out the scene of the crime below.
I do not think Thunderhoof was real impressed.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Until The Bicentennial

Mayor Bill Norris dedicates the new Water Valley Flag with the designer, Tommy Latham

You can't have a festival or celebration without a pudding-eating contest! This was gross but fun to watch.

An old favorite was the horse shoe event that took place right in the center of things.

Here is Denise with her daughter Sadie. She was great to chip in and help with everything. Thank You!


Thursday, April 24, 2008


I can't believe it. Look at that dog! Some people are so damn jealous. Camo only finished in 4th place in the dog parade under the best costume category.

They would not even let her enter the Hula-Hoop Contest!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Whiz Kid Wins!

NEWSFLASH- Water Valley, MS> The incredible Spencer “Whiz Kid” Howell took top honors today for the games at the City of Water Valley Sesquicentennial Celebration. This feat was accomplished against incredible odds reminiscent of that Harry Potter kid....
The North Mississippi Herald recorded the action at their website for posterity.
The Whiz Kids blazing speed led him to individual 1st place honors in the Sack Race with a time of 17.83 seconds!
The Whiz Kid then took the trophy in the Bike Parade as he flashed by the judges on his spectacular gold bike, later the wonder boy finished second in the checkers tournament.
Here is a pic from the Oxford Eagle that shows The Whiz Kid and his sidekick Blake ”Lazer Legs” Lowery as they finished the day by winning the 2-man sack race.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

150 Years of Fashion

Getting ready
Pat Ray looking great
Glenda Griffith was our 20s' flapper
Susan Hart was quite elegant
Sarah was a 50s' cheerleader RAH! RAH! RAH!
Loren Tyler in an early 70s' outfit
Sadie and Denise with our 40s' girl Brandy Russell
Teresa Thompson was our 1880s' lady
Denise, my Gibson Girl

Monday, April 21, 2008

150 Years In The Valley

The Water Valley Sesquicentennial was this past weekend. One of the first events was a bike parade. Spencer got some gold paint and worked on his bike til it gleamed. He promptly named it the Bright Idea.
Here he is with his pal, Blake Lowery. Spencer, of course, won first prize.

A Confederate Map Pt. 2

I had read the tiny and faded writing until my eyes hurt from the strain but the thought that he had been smart enough to hide two gold pieces inside of the butt of his rifle caught my imagination. Where did the coins come from, and what was this handwritten map that he mentioned? Was it a treasure map to a chest of gold pieces? That would be too wild, but my heart leaped at the thought of it. Reality was that it was a map for something else. Maybe a proposed railroad or an engineers map of some kind.
I hid the diary away, but later that week I stayed late at the office, got a magnifying glass and reading lamp and opened the yellow pages again. The map was not really mentioned but the horror of Reconstruction was in full swing.
He wrote about the need to get the fields going as gardens. There was no cotton crop or thought of that. It was a matter of survival. He mentioned that many of the ex-slaves had come back to the place for protection and a chance to at least eat. They were welcomed as family, given food and shelter and promised jobs when and if they ever got any money.
He wrote about thousands of people traveling the roads with nowhere to go. Julian and his wife fed as many as mercy or kindness would allow and a camp quickly sprang up on the property that filled with these Reconstruction Era nomads. The old slave quarters were filled with families both black and white. The ex-soldiers, ex-slaves and farmers worked day and night to survive the brutal, heavy hand of the Reconstruction Government and the carpetbaggers in charge.
They lost most of the property to taxes but still kept the main part of the low ground. The men worked as hard as they could just to grow crops or fix the homes so they had a roof over their heads. They all worked, ate and slept together and protected each other in a very lawless time.
Many of the people (especially women) stayed to help tend the needy which were too sick to travel, and stayed till they recovered or died and the many others that constantly took their place. The first year was a nightmare, but a small close knit community sprung up with a tiny store and the organization of the first groups of sharecroppers trying to make it after the Civil War.
There were hundreds of people coming and going and Julian Christmas and his family took them all in. It was a busy time and though the map was mentioned once or twice, it was only mentioned how dangerous it would be to use it.
For almost two years Mr. Christmas and his family did everything they could to help his neighbors and himself survive.
The other thing is that Mr. Christmas developed a chest cold and cough that he could not get rid of.
Pt. 1

Friday, April 18, 2008


We did not get this image up earlier of the only deer that Burney took this year at the camp. He had a rough year.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Red-Blue Weekend

Last weekend was the annual Red-Blue weekend at Ole Miss. The spring football game and a heated baseball rivalry weekend at Ole Miss. Want to guess who were the star attractions?
Patrick Willis and Eli Manning!

Water Valley Sesquicentennial

This weekend is the 150th birthday of the tiny town of Water Valley, MS.
Founders Day will a great party for everyone.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Finding Stuff

Every time we go to the camp we spend part of our time looking for stuff. You never know what you are going to find. Here is my evil brother Trent with a nice shed antler.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Watermelon Pageant

Green Rind, MS> This past weekend was the annual Watermelon Pageant in Water Valley. All the local young ladies vie for the title of the Watermelon Queen to represent us at the Watermelon Carnival. There are lots of different age groups so everyone gets involved. This year my two coons were in the competition.

This is Contestant #16
She enjoys talking on the cell phone with her friends,
playing on the computer, talking, riding 4-wheelers, snoring,
blogging, talking and watching movies.
Contestant #16

This is Contestant #13
She enjoys talking on the cell phone to anyone that will answer, riding 4-wheelers,
cheerleading, talking, talking , driving her father crazy, spending money, facebook,
and reading (ha-ha)
Contestant #13

Erin (contestant 16) 4th Alternate
Sarah (contestant 13) 1st Alternate

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Confederate Map Pt. 1

After finding the diary, I took it back and studied it that night after Dad had gone to bed. The writing was faded and covered with water marks, making it very hard to read and I will not bore you with that. Instead, I will put down on paper the impressions that I have and make it basically into a story form.
The faded handwriting dated the first entry at what I think was springtime at the end of the Civil War. The writer (Julian Christmas) had been wounded in the retreat from Atlanta and had finally recovered. He had made a deal and pledge with the Union Army and started the long trip home. He walked, hitched a ride where he could and slept in the woods at night. It was a long and teacherous trip back to the Christmas Place near Yazoo City, Mississippi.
The rain fell heavily as the soldier eased down the old Grey Rock Road. He was only a half mile from his home at the Christmas Plantation and was already imagining finally getting into his own bed after all this time. The war had been over for four months and the wound in his side still gave him trouble. It was a long way from Atlanta to home. He had gone slowly and had to rest many times to let his side heal enough to continue the journey. He also had to move a lot at night or cut through the wilderness to keep from being stopped and searched. He had panicked when early in his trip, a Yankee troop had forcibly made him give up an old horse he had bargained for. They laughed at the old rifle he carried with the bent and split barrel that he used as a crutch. He moved forward sticking the twisted gun barrel into the muddy road. He had put splints around the stock, wrapped it in gauze and old bed linen and made a serviceable crutch out of the useless rifle.
A long streak of lightning lit up the abandoned fields as he drew nearer and he thought of the work it was going to take to get the farm going again. Maybe he could at least get a good garden and some clearing done when spring rolled around again. He would have the money to hire labor and take care of buying mules and equipment as soon as he was well, but right now he was tired, hungry, and needed to get home to his wife and family.
A dog barked, then several came rushing out to meet him and turned from angry to loving as he called their names, then knelt down and hugged each of them as they danced around smelling him. A few seconds later he saw the glow of a coal-oil lamp. He had made it home. He had also managed to make it back with the hand-written map and two $10 gold pieces that he had hidden in the secret space in the butt of the old rifle.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Another Great Party

Water Valley, MS> Denise and I were once again invited to the Social Event of the Year here. The big Party is at Snooky and Mary Lou Williams home after the big Chamber of Commerce Meeting. It is THE big shindig that everyone loves going to.
I don't usually do autographs but everyone wanted Dads' so I faked a couple hundred for him. It's the least I could do.
We saw a lot of old friends there and met some new ones. Here is one of my most loyal readers and an old friend, Bobby Turnage. He was putting the move on Christine and all the other hot chicks as you can see.
We finally got too hot and headed out to the smoking porch and my old friend Mr. Jones aka Old Scratch showed up. Ramona said No, No, No don't take my pic but it was too late.
This was the 40th Anniversary of this wonderful party. Snooky and Mary Lou Williams have held the party in their home for all these years and are loved and held in great respect by the people of Water Valley.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Between Shotgun Blasts

Nuff Said, MS> As reported by the Bodock Times, the famous outlaw and game hog known to many in the lawless Mississippi Delta as Hershel "Catfish" Howell has been busy shooting turkeys right and left this spring. Oh yeah, his multi-million selling book has just been published also. He is having a great year. Anything else? Oh, I almost forgot that between turkey blast he managed to find the time to catch this 7 lb. bass in the lake.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Diary of Julian Christmas

It all started logically enough with a bowling ball. I was at the famous Christmas Place with my father who had a special project for me that weekend. Clean out the old home that we called the Witchs’ House.
The old home had been on the property for well over a hundred years and was now used for storage. I got up Saturday morning, backed a trailer up to the front door and got started while Dad headed to the lake to catch some fish.
Clothes, broken furniture, old farm records, assorted boxes, books, trash and an old bowling ball were in the front room. I started hauling stuff out. For some reason I picked up the bowling ball and did a great basketball hook shot with it into a large overstuffed chair. The ball promptly bounced out and straight onto the fireplace hearth.
Wham! The stone hearth was cracked open on one corner where the ball had landed. I looked and could see a narrow cavity. The bowling ball and cleaning were forgotten as I left to get a flashlight and a crowbar. Returning I shined the light in the hole and could see the edge of a wrapped bundle.
There was a very narrow and cleverly disguised gap under the hearth just big enough to hold the oil-skinned wrapped book I pulled out.
Opening it carefully I found the original Parker/ Christmas Family Bible.
I sat down in the old chair, made myself comfortable and started looking through it.
Faded birth and death dates were on many of the pages and the book was so fragile that I had to be very careful that it did not fall apart. In fact the back pages seemed all glued together and to the rear binding. I carefully pulled a few pages apart at this point and realized that the last few books of the bible had been hollowed out and a smaller book hidden inside the large Bible. I lifted it out and opened it. The first page said Diary and Journal of Lieutenant Julian Christmas CSA 1865.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

A Rack Contest

A Strange contest has started between KeesKennis and Ralph Dodd. It is kind of funny if you are a guy, and if hunting season is over and you are bored. Ladies please send your pics!
I am trying to stay G Rated but this rack hunting suddenly seems very important to a hunter like me.
Ladies this is NSFW so don't go over to their sites unless you actually have a sense of humor.
Kees, I salute your brilliance!

An Old Time Treasure Tale

Monday, April 07, 2008

Et Tu Turk!!!

Smoking Feathers, MS> Hershel Howell, famed golfer, turkey murderer and gardener returned from the famous Christmas Place with the news that he had blasted another big gobbler. This was a twin to the first one at 18lbs and a 9 and 3/4 inch beard.
Jeez! Did I mention he is 82 and hasn't heard a turkey gobble this year. Hello? Othmar?
In related news Paul (Bloody) Howell and his minion, Michael let another turkey escape as they were screwing around on their stand. Hello? Moose?
Hope everyone had a great weekend and I will see you all at the Masters. Hello?Sorry, I had a brain freeze.

Friday, April 04, 2008

A Bobber For GuyK

Finally found a cork for the line but the hook is being made out of a cruise ship anchor. Hope GuyK doesn't end up as fish food!

Thursday, April 03, 2008


Ebenezer, MS> Last weekend we went exploring and found the little town of Ebenezer. This is on the old maps from 1850. All that is left is an old country store with the old Post Office still attached.
Next door was an old metal barn that used to be the Movie House.
Several old homes around the store were in excellent condition with all the gingerbread still on the homes. Look at the detail on this beautiful old home.