2021 is Here!

The Sabine Parish Journal wishes you a very Happy New Year.

Let’s leave 2020 in the past and press on to 2021 not forgetting the lessons we learned!

“We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.” Proverbs 16:9

Happy New Year everyone!

Reba: The Long Way Home

One of the brightest spots to be found, when the gray and dreary days of winter become longer and longer, is Front Street when the Christmas lights begin to put on their daily show just after 5:00pm. As I am clocking out, they are clocking in. Having worked downtown for many years this is what I refer to as, “The best of times and the worst of times”.

The best of times would be when I have the time to actually enjoy the slow drive down Front Street to take in the sights and sounds that make Natchitoches the most exciting place to be in December. The shimmer of thousands of LED lights draped from every possible nook and cranny is just what the doctor orders after a stressful day at work. I cherish the times that I get to savor the holidays and take the long way home.

I consider it the worst of times when I have somewhere to be at 5:15 and the traffic is backed up way past my office. It has taken me years to awaken the escape artist that lives within and plan a route that will get me across the bridge quicker than Harry Houdini himself. On days like this I just do not have the time to stop and watch the lights twinkle.

My daughters quickly learned years ago to ask if we are taking the long way home before they agree to ride with me. When we would visit friends in Cloutierville they knew that when they entered my vehicle I may be taking the long ride home. This would include a picturesque drive around the winding roads of Cane River. This is when we would stop and visit friends who may be on their porch or drive slow to enjoy the summer boat traffic on the river.

There is just something so meaningful and peaceful about an excursion that includes a long drive.

Sunroof open and tunes on the radio is a good time that is hard to beat will always be considered the best of times.

Just this past week we decided to visit my brother in North Arkansas and I had preplanned to drive in one direction and come back in another just to maximize the possibility of enjoying the scenery. My daughters mainly tune me out when we travel and bury themselves in Netflix or social media so It just me, the open road and a Podcast. On our journey back home was no different. Chit chatting and then they go their separate ways with their ear buds.

All was well with our souls until I saw a large road sign that warmly welcomed us into the state of Oklahoma. Have I mentioned that GPS is not always a friend of mine? This was not part of the plan and I grew very concerned with the intermittent cell phone service. Once I was able to establish exactly where we were I had concluded that I was about two hours out of our intended long way home. Although I have always championed the long way home this was more than I bargained for and quickly became the worst of times.

This unintentional tour bought us through winding roads that barely hugged a foggy mountainside with zero visibility in the pouring rain. I was hard pressed to see more than ten feet in front of my vehicle. We weren’t even passing other vehicles which made my very uncomfortable. It was virtually impossible to see the silver lining to all of these clouds and darkness. Hands down, worst of times. By the time I made it to the other side of the mountain my cell service was restored and we actually saw signs of life.

Once we knew we were safe and sound and on the correct road my daughters felt the freedom to make fun of dear old mom for the rest of the adventure which made it all worth it. Worst of times turned to the best of times in a mere moment.

In our path of life we are essentially taking the long way home. There are roadblocks and detours along the way. Quite often there can be deep potholes and road hazards that are unforeseeable until it is too late. The roads are often curvy and foggy at the same time slowing your travel time and filling it with uncertainty. The path of life very seldom runs a straight path from point A to point B without interruptions, disappointments and delays.

God never promised us to smooth and well paved roads without problems and failures along the way. He did promise us that he would always be by our side though.

“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand”. – Psalm 16:11

Bass Fishermen…Who Can You Trust?

Now that Christmas is behind me, it’s time to start thinking about the upcoming fishing season. Every year now, tournament trails are starting up earlier and earlier. Most trails used to start the first week of February but now, it’s the first week of January! Why? Well part of the problem, there’s too many circuits. There is only so many weekends in a month and I applaud anyone who is a tournament director and trying to schedule their respective events especially on popular lakes like Toledo Bend and Sam Rayburn.

That being said, anglers now have to choose well in advance what circuits they want to follow so they can register and find places to stay. This requires a lot of pre-planning and spending time on the net looking for adequate places to accommodate the number of anglers in your party. A lot of anglers today travel in packs just like bass. They stay together and help each other with costs and maybe share a few ideas as to what the bass are doing…. but only with guys they trust.

That’s a big word…TRUST! No other sport has the secrecy that bass fishing does and anglers will guard those secrets with their life. They would literally sell their wives for good and accurate tournament information. Lol…just kidding! That’s only true for just a handful of anglers I know. But we are a strange bunch when it comes to info. I can only think of about four people that I truly trust when it comes to tournament information and how accurate it might be. Some anglers will tell you just enough to throw you off your game and get you going in the wrong direction. Some call this “dock talk” others call it BS but no matter what you call it, you have to be careful and cautious. With my buddies, I’m not looking for what baits to throw or how to catch them. I’m looking more what depth and type of area my they might be catching them. I’ll figure out on my own what I need to throw in order to get the right bites. Because even though some of my buddies might be catching fish a specific way, all of us have certain things we like to do and each of us are all a little different in our own approach. I don’t want to know where they are catching their fish because then I’m restricted as to where I might want to go. If we happen to land on the same group of fish…so be it. We’ll decide later in the event who gets the spot based on the standings. I’ll give up a spot we might be sharing if one of my buddies is in position to win.Today, this small click of guys you trust is so important because tournaments are so competitive and anglers are so good now, that you almost have to team up to get a win. While no one will truly help you win an event outright, sometimes it’s a minor detail in something they said, something they were doing, that you might be able to apply to your own approach in order to help you get a win. My advice to any angler starting to fish the boater/pro side of a circuit, find the right click. Find a true friend or friends, people you know…. who won’t lie to you. In today’s competitive angling world, that can be hard to do but you must find people you can TRUST.

Steve Graf
Owner/Co-host
Hook’N Up & Track’N Down Show

Notice of Death – December 31, 2020

NATCHITOCHES:
Ruthie Lee Fisher
December 24, 2020
Service: Saturday, January 2 at 10 am at the Goodwill Baptist Church on Holmes Street in Natchitoches

Ruby Lee Hicks
December 27, 2020
Service: Saturday, January 2 at 1 pm in the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel, located at 318 North Street in Natchitoches

Alice Oliver
December 24, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Jennifer Robinson
December 8, 1972 – December 25, 2020
Service: Friday, January 1 at 12 pm at Mt. Olive Baptist Church Cemetery

Jayen Smith
September 11, 2001 – December 23, 2020
Service: Arrangements TBA

Willie Brown
January 8, 1965 – December 21, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Bobby Jean Parker
August 9, 1955 – December 21, 2020
Arrangements TBA

McTavish Raymond
June 22, 1972 – December 21, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Sophia Willoughby Washington
December 15, 2020
Arrangements TBA

WINN:
Daniel “Danny” Earl Boyett
May 18, 1957 – December 29, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Barbara Nell Slayter
November 15, 1947 – December 29, 2020
Service: Friday, January 1 at 2 pm at the Family Church in Winnfield

Janet Brookins
August 26, 1957 – December 25, 2020
Arrangements TBA

RED RIVER:
Paul Avery Blakesley
October 03, 1956 – December 28, 2020
Service: Saturday, January 2 at 12 pm at Baker Cemetery