December 22, 2013

Amanuensis Monday ~ The Stories That Should Be Told, Part 28

The following transcription is from a series of recordings my father made in the early 1990s:
One of the most mysterious persons to me was Uncle Dave Balance who lived down at the Rocks. I never have heard of anybody who knew anything at all about him.  He was a crippled fellow who lived on the other side of the lake, way down there.  
The Rocks - 2011
His closest neighbors were the Ratcliffs and I-Bo [Richard Iverson] and Cora Harris when they lived down there. They lived over a mile away from where Uncle Dave Balance lived.
I found out the other day that he did move from down there just before he died.  He moved on this side of the lake in a little house on the Peck place.
Thinking about where Uncle Dave Balance lived down at the Rocks...
A little ways on down Bayou Louie was a small island called Stack Island.  The Louie was where Lake Lovelace narrowed into a bayou before reaching the Ouachita river.  The island that used to be out in Lake Lovelace, right across from the Peck's homes, had some pretty good sized trees on it.  
Lake Lovelace - 2011
I spent one whole afternoon on that island in about 1949 or 1950.  Mickem Juneau and I got a boat at the boat landing and paddled out to the island.  We had some beer and some ham sandwiches we had gotten from Charlie's Nite Club.  
Cousin Will
Little Will Peck, my first cousin, was running around on the lake bank. He wanted to go with us so I put him in the boat and took him across to the island with us.
The widest part of that island was probably 10 to 12 feet.  It was all sandy and had big trees on it.  It must have been 50 yards long. There was two parts to it. There was a little gap in there where the water was between that and another part that was about 15 feet long and it ran toward the direction of the Rocks.  We didn't go out on that end of it.  We stayed on the main part of the island all evening.
That old island is there no more.  When the water gets down real low in Lake Lovelace, you can still see a few old snags sticking up where the island was.  When they put those dams in they raised the level of the lake and it covered the island and the trees finally died.
My daddy told me that one time somebody dropped him off on that island to duck hunt.  A goose flew over and he shot it.  He brought the goose home but it was so poor it wasn't worth cooking or eating.  I reckon by the time the geese flew south, they didn't have any fat left on them.
I remember Daddy would get up way early in the morning.  He'd walk down to the lake, then walk along the lake, darn near to the Rocks and back.  He'd come back with 4 or 5 squirrels and 3 or 4 ducks.  He'd have a hunting coat full of game.
Daddy used to laugh and tell about when we were living up around the Bastrop area and how he would come down here to go hunting on the weekend.  He would stay with Grandma and Grandpa Steele and get up about 4 or 4:30 in the morning to go hunting.

Grandma Steele
Grandpa Steele
One weekend, he got up real early in the morning and made coffee before going hunting. Grandpa Steele usually got up around 4:30 or 5 in the morning so Daddy took him a cup of coffee and woke him up.  

He noticed that Grandpa Steele had an odd look on his face. After a little while, Daddy took off walking down to the lake.
He was about two or three miles from the house, sitting in the woods along the lake waiting for the sun to come up.  He took out his pocket watch to see how much longer it would be and noticed the time was 1:30 in the morning!  
The old alarm clock in his room was not working right and had gone off at midnight.  
Daddy laughed every time he told that story.  He said the look on Grandpa Steele's face was so odd when he woke him up at midnight and gave him a cup of coffee.
Son McNair
My daddy and Son [Chisum] McNair were big hunting buddies.  Son told me not too long ago that daddy taught him how to hunt squirrels.  They went hunting a many a time together.
Somebody else Daddy used to go hunting with was Mr. Leonard Hamilton.  The last years that Daddy hunted was for coons.  He had stopped squirrel hunting.  He had a bunch of coon dogs and he loved to coon hunt at night.  I hunted a little, but not much.  I just didn't have the patience.
Daddy could usually find his way out of the woods, swamps, hills or wherever.  I had no sense of direction.  That was another reason why I didn't like to hunt. Heck, if I got out of sight of a road, I was lost!  I am still that way today.
One time Mickem Juneau and I ran some traps over towards Browns Lake.  We left thinking we were coming out at Billy's Bayou, near highway 15 going towards Clayton.  We ended up coming out in the opposite direction.  We were supposed to come out and be back to town by about 7 o'clock in the morning.  It was about noon before we got out of the woods.
Coon Hunting

Note:  Parts 1-27 of 'The Stories That Should Be Told' can be found in the Tags List on the right-hand side of the blog.

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