From my ledger. Friday, October 5, 1984. Stanley Mathews lives in Grand Prairie but has kinfolks in Charleston and has hunted with me a lot. He asked me to go to his deer lease and bow hunt so after my bus route I loaded my hunting gear and started west at 5:15. Arrived at Stanley’s at 7:00 p.m. and we soon moved on toward his lease. Ft. worth, Granbury, Stephenville, Dublin, Comanche, and then at 10:15 to the lease near Mullin in Mills County. A deer stood on the shoulder of the road near the gate. Sheep and goat country. The “cabin” is an old thirty by fifty foot, one room school house near Pecan Bayou. Wood stove, television, and microwave. After unloading our gear Stanley carried me to my stand in the dark and I marked the trail with paper towel pieces so he wouldn’t have to go with me in the morning.
Saturday, October 6, 1984. Alarm clock went off at 5:10. Two microwaved donuts and Dr. Pepper. Face paint and camo clothes. In stand at 6:30 but couldn’t see time on watch until 7:04. Some bird sounded like a poor will, cousin of our Chuck Will’s widow. Cloudy but cleared off about eight. Live oaks, prickly pear, mesquite, Shumard oaks. Ground almost solid with rocks. Saw great blue heron, doves, squirrels, and red tail hawk. Out of tree at 10:15 and followed a rock creek back to camp. Beautiful lichens on many of the large rocks. Stanley had missed a doe a forty yards. We went to look at Stanley’s stand and I chased a big lizard that was over a foot long. Iguana looking critter. Twice it dashed under rocks and would take off when we raised them before I could grab it. At the third rock I was able to catch it. Very pretty and unusual. Found out later it was a collared lizard, also called a “mountain boomer.”
As we drove around the lease we saw several more deer running through the mesquite. Napped after lunch then watched A&M playing Texas Tech in a downpour at Bryan. While going to my stand I found a crossing on a fence. Lots of tracks. Stanley hadn’t split off to his stand yet and called it a 7-11 trail since so many were going in and out like people at a convenience store. I decided to just lean up against a nearby tree behind some bushes. After an hour of clouds and light rain the wind changed and the sun came out. Two deer snorted nearby and took off. Cattle in the pasture were pretty wild and also ran when they smelled me. Beautiful Pecan Bayou was right behind me and big trees lined the steep rocky banks. A turkey gobbled in the distance and I could see a rainbow and dark clouds. Thunder. For years I’ve heard of flash floods but today I heard and saw one. Thirty minutes after the dark clouds I heard a waterfall type sound and here came the water down the bayou.
To camp at dark and piled up mesquite limbs to burn down to coals so we could grill rib eyes. Stanley had been on the 1200 acre lease for twelve years and those steaks were a tradition. While he cooked the steaks I fixed fried potatoes and a salad with buttermilk dressing. What a meal out under the stars by the campfire.
Sunday, October 7, 1984. Stanley’s dreaded alarm clock went off at 5:00. We almost didn’t go because of heavy rain. A gully had formed across the ranch road and Stanley couldn’t drive me to a new stand I wanted to hunt so I had to walk a long way. During the next few hours I saw squirrels, tufted titmice, great blue herons, scissortails, and doves. At 9:45 I started to get down out of the stand but saw a squirrel on the ground not far away. I wanted to see if I could take it with my bow. The stand was about twenty feet up and the squirrel was thirty five feet away. When I shot, the squirrel started moving away but I could see he was hit and only made it ten feet. Gutted the squirrel, got to camp at 10:30, and packed for home.
On the way home we saw a lot of wild turkeys near the highway at the Priddy Cutoff. Stanley got out and I took his picture with all the turkeys in the background. Got to Grand Prairie at halftime of the Cowboy game. A few weeks ago fans were booing Danny White because he was in a slump. They begged for Hoggeboom and finally got him but he promptly did worse than White. Today, White got a standing ovation from the same previous “booers” when he started the game. Dallas did lose however, 31-20.
While on the way home I passed a car with an unusual bumper sticker in Rockwall but didn’t notice the occupants. A day or two later I noticed the same bumper sticker near home and the car was driven by Rose Ingram. She and Steve had been to Dallas Sunday and bought the car. Home about 4:00 and still enough time for Jean and me to go to our deer stands at Charleston. Headed home after watching a beautiful Full Moon rise.
Since this year was so dry, this tale might fit some of our area farmers. Three cotton farmers had a rough year and made less than a bale each. Decided to put all the cotton together to make a bale. At the gin they obtained a jar of moonshine and passed it around. Soon the first guy said he was gonna take his money from the bale and buy his wife a sewing machine. The second said his wife had always wanted a washer and dryer and he was gonna buy her one. The third one thought a minute, scratched his head, and told them, “Pass me that jar again. I ain’t quite got out of debt yet.”