Demons’ red-hot second half lifts NSU past SFA

NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The Northwestern State basketball team was bruised and bloodied Thursday night in its first visit to William R. Johnson Coliseum since January 2021.

The Demons took those punches and delivered a few of their own, extending their win streak to five games with a 102-96 victory at Stephen F. Austin.

“Our guys really allowed the defense to convert to offense,” first-year head coach Corey Gipson said. “That’s something we really worked on. We’re starting to get into game shape now. The way we play defense, it can take your legs away from you, but we’re starting to go deeper into our bench. We’re able to get guys breathers and breaks, so guys are fresher on the offensive end.”

No one was as effective – fresh or not – down the stretch than Demon senior guard DeMarcus Sharp, who finished with a career-high 34 points, including a 16-for-17 performance at the line.

Sharp had 25 of his points in the second half, helping propel the Demons to a 71-point outburst in the second half. It was the most points in a half for a Northwestern State team since scoring 72 in the second half of a 111-92 win at Auburn on Nov. 15, 2013.

Northwestern State (6-2) hit 18 of its 20 shots from the field in the second half, including six of seven from 3-point range to erase what had become a 10-point SFA advantage at the 17:38 mark of the second half.

The Demons sank 12 straight shots at one point in the barrage that was sparked by a second-half awakening by Isaac Haney and the emergence of Reggie Hill.

“We’re tough,” said Sharp, who hit 8 of 16 shots from the field, including both his 3-point tries. “Coach tells us every day to come out and play as hard as we can, and we’ll end up on top.”

Haney, the Demons’ leading scorer entering the game, was held scoreless in the first half but sparked an early 12-2 second-half run with his first seven points of the game, including a 3-pointer that tied the game at 45.

Haney later put NSU ahead to stay, snapping a 53-all tie with a straightahead 3-pointer that gave the Demons a lead they never relinquished.

Equally as key in the second-half surge was Hill, who had 14 of his career-high 17 points in the second half.

“I come into every game feeling comfortable,” said Hill, who added a career-best three steals. “This game just felt different. I felt like we had something to prove this game. In warmups, I felt good. Everything felt good. I felt like tonight was going to be a good night.”

The Lumberjacks (4-4) did not go quietly, staying nearly shot-for-shot with the Demons in a high-scoring second-half.

SFA shot 68 percent from the field, including 70 percent from 3-point range (7-for-10) in the second half, yet was outscored by eight in the final 20 minutes.

AJ Cajuste led the Lumberjacks with 27 points, including 4-for-5 shooting from 3-point range, but missed a key free throw with the Demons leading 94-90.

Following that possession, NSU freshman Jalen Hampton drew a foul on an offensive rebound and calmly sank two free throws to give the Demons a five-point lead.

From there, Sharp went to work at the free throw line, hitting six straight to finish the game and give the Demons their first 30-point scorer since Ishmael Lane’s 32-point performance against Central Arkansas on Feb. 11, 2017.

Sharp’s free throws also gave the Demons their first 100-point game on the road since scoring 100 at Central Arkansas on March 7, 2020.

Sharp, Hill and Haney (12) made up half of the Demons’ six double-figure scorers. Dayne Prim shook off a bloodied eyelid suffered at the 3:57 mark of the second half to finish with 12 points while Hampton and Ja’Monta Black each added 11.

“I feel teams are saying they’re looking for us, but we’re looking for you,” Sharp said. “We’re not hiding from anybody.”

The Demons return to action Sunday when they host Southern Miss in the back half of a doubleheader with the Lady Demons. The Demons and Golden Eagles tip at 3:30 p.m. on Faith and Family Night. Fans who mention their church at the door can secure a ticket for $5. Fans who bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate also can purchase a $5 ticket.


My battle with Melanoma continues

My battle with Melanoma continues, and for those that are new to this column, I’ll backtrack. In June of this year, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Class C Melanoma. It all started back in 2021 with a small spot on my upper left ear — a spot that after a limb fell across my ear, opened a dot the size of a BB. Several weeks later, it just would not heal properly.

After a routine visit to my dermatologist, we started treating the area with a chemo crème. This treatment worked for a short period, but the spot came back this past March. We treated the spot again with chemo crème, but this time it did not have the same healing effect as before.

I was scheduled to meet with my dermatologist again the first week of May, but the appointment got canceled and they rescheduled me for late June. It was during this eight-week period that it ulcerated and turned into my worst nightmare. After my dermatologist removed the spot and overnighted it to Birmingham for evaluation, the results came back positive for Melanoma.

These are words you never want to hear! Next, surgery was scheduled at LSU Ochsner in Shreveport to take off one inch of my left ear and remove four lymph nodes, two of which tested positive. I had two PET scans and one brain MRI and up till now, all my scans have been negative for Melanoma anywhere else in my body. Hopefully, that will continue to be the case.

It was at this point that I was advised by my Melanoma team at MD Anderson to undergo immunotherapy treatments with a drug called OPDIVO. This is a drug that boosts your immune system and attacks any cancer cells that might be present anywhere in the body. Well, your first question might be, “I thought you said your scans were negative?” It’s true, they were, but one thing I learned at MD Anderson is how Melanoma can hide in different places in your body and go undetected.

That’s why my monthly immunotherapy treatments will go on for at least one year with scans periodically every three months. I did ask the doctor at MD Anderson how long it would be before they would declare me cancer free. His response was, “It would be at least five years, as long as all your scans are negative.”

The treatments have been a little rough, especially my last two, for some reason. My first injection was great with no problems or side effects, but my last two have been another story. About halfway through injection treatments two and three, I’ve had severe pain that starts out at the tailbone, spreads into the hips, and progresses up toward the chest. Not sure why, but everyone responds differently to these treatments. We’re still trying to figure out why I’m having this pain. They’ve had to give me Ativan and Demerol to help subside the pain and make me relax in order to get me through the treatment.

Hopefully soon, we’ll get a better grip on how to take these treatments. My point of this update is to remind you about being diligent when it comes to wearing proper clothing and sunscreen. Don’t take your health for granted! I never thought I would be THAT guy who had to deal with this. Even my fishing buddies who I’m closest with are shocked that I got this because I have been very consistent with sunscreen and wearing long-sleeve shirts with built-in sunscreen, wearing the wide-brim hat and long pants — and I still got it.

The best advice I can give you is to see a dermatologist on a regular basis and if you have a suspicious spot anywhere on your body, get it looked at. If you don’t have a dermatologist, FIND ONE!  The absolute worst thing you can do is ignore these spots! Catch it early and you might be lucky like me.

‘Til next time, good luck, good fishing, and don’t forget your sunscreen. 

Contact Steve at sgraf26@gmail.com


Is anything worth dying for?

There are mass protests in the streets of China. Iranians are openly defying the oppressive theology ruling their Sun-scorched land. Thousands are being murdered for civil disobedience. They are standing. They are dying. All for something larger than themselves.

So I ask: what principle are you willing to die for? I don’t mean self defense or protecting your family. I’m talking about something you believe in.

Would you denounce your faith if someone put a gun to your head? What about if someone just made you feel uncomfortable? Would you pull a Peter and deny three times? Would you give up your arms if government storm troopers were going door to door? What if it was less than that? How about government buy back? Say $5,000 per weapon? $1,000 $50?

I don’t know. People talk big on the internet and in real life, but if it came right down to it, would you give up essential freedoms for the charms of a comfortable life?

I’m sad to say it, but we already have. The Patriot Act was sold to us on the promise of security. The listening device in your pocket masquerading as a phone was sold to us on the promise of making life easier and so much more fun. Now you can barely function in the world without that tracker recording every move and word.  I’ve tried to go without one. I can’t. My entire personal and professional life is tied to a device. I gave up my privacy long ago for bread and circuses.

So I say all that to say this. I’ve realized I’m just a reed in the storm a lot of times. The reed survives the storm. The proud Oak breaks. In other words, those who just go along are the ones who survive. They may even prosper. Those who stand for something get cut down.

We’re taught from the time we’re young to be reeds. Do what you’re told. Don’t rock the boat. Go to college, get married, have 2.5 kids, buy a house, cars, things and distractions. Work. Don’t look to your sides because side quests are pointless to the overall story, aren’t they?

Be good because Santa is coming to town and he’s got a list that he’s checking twice to see who’s been naughty and who’s been nice. From day 1, we are conditioned not to take risks at any level because it might upset our comfort levels.

In the big picture, you’re punished if you stand up against problems in the world. You get sued, you get cancelled, you get black listed. In the recent past these kind of troublemakers were beaten or killed or both for standing up for simple concepts like labor reform, civil rights, and just asking for common human decency. American hands of the past are just as bloody as Chinese hands of the present.

We used to be a place where 55 men signed a piece of paper of high treason. If we lost the Revolution, those signers would have been killed as would their families. They did it anyway. Nowadays we just go on, are taught to keep our heads down, get by. They tell us to play the game and to turn your nose brown for the right people. The concept leaves me feeling dirty. A politician doesn’t have to be an elected official. A politician is just someone who does what’s easy rather than what’s right.

And the sick part? The older I get the more of a politician I become. Some say it’s inevitable. They say things like pick your battles. I’ve found myself saying the same when dealing with the difficulties of people and when facing the doom and darkness descending around us. Because in truth, what’s in the hearts of Chinese and Iranian leaders can be found in the hearts of many in the elite group of Americans that live above us all. Watched a movie the other day – sci-fi – where a woman from our time went forward to facist year 2100. When she asked how did this happen, she was simply told 80 years is a long time.

How long does it take? How long does kicking the can down the road last before it’s too late? 80 years? 50? 1?

Questions like those are too big. So I pick my battles knowing full well I’m still going to lose the war. I do it because questioning causes discomfort, and each time I know less and less of what I’d be willing to stand for. I hope there’s something out there. But again, what do I know? I’m just a reed trying to weather the storm. Just a reed in a nation of more than 300 million others.

Just remember that fear is the weakest of motivators. Powerful only in the short term. Shame, however, is the most potent deterrent to moving forward.

Being frightened is human. It’s ok. Remaining afraid is shameful and weak. And that’s not ok.

Fear is used to make us seek the line. Our own shame keeps us there. 


Notice of Death – December 1, 2022

NATCHITOCHES:

Jared Riley
November 28, 2022
Service: Saturday, December 3 at 1 pm at St. Augustine Catholic Church 
 
Peggy Woodel Sanderson
May 11, 1957 – November 29, 2022
Service: Tuesday, December 6 at 12 pm at Central Baptist Church in Robeline 
 
Lynwood Ray Powell, Sr.
October 4, 1935 – November 28, 2022
Service: Friday, December 2 at 11 am at Blanchard St. Denis Funeral Home

WINN: 

Rex Wright
June 19, 1955 – November 26, 2022
Service: Saturday, December 3 at 2 pm at First Baptist Church of Many

What will you read in 2023?

Time for our annual Best Books of the Year list. Read a lot of good books but failed to score a five-star read, unlike last year when I couldn’t turn around without running into something that hit me just right. 

So it goes in the Reading World. You win some, you lose some, but you show up and read and if a book’s no good, chunk it and, guilt-free, pick up another one. 

Still, much enjoyment this year from reading, and hopefully you will get a charge out of at least one or two of the titles below, or something will jog your memory and help you pick out a just-right Christmas gift for someone.  

If nothing else, we can be grateful we are past all the pandemic-related bestsellers like LOCKDOWN!: Your Place or Mine?, or everyone’s least-favorite companion reads, Why Masks Work and the sequel, Why Masks Haven’t Even Ever THOUGHT About Working, Ever Ever Never. 

Mercy on all that … And now on to the bookmobile. 

Batting leadoff is All About Me! My Remarkable Life in Show Business, by Mel Brooks, my favorite of a lot of biographies. Others that were really good, if you’re interested in these people, are The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man by Paul Newman, A Life in Parts by actor Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Home Work by Julie Andrews (had a crush on her since Mary Poppins as I was an impressionable youngster), Miracle and Wonder by Malcolm Gladwell about singer-songwriter-stud Paul Simon (you have to listen to this one for the conversations with Simon and his occasional singing), My House of Memories by Merle Haggard because, well, Merle Haggard, and finally, Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story, by Rick Bragg. 

A quick aside about Jerry Lee Lewis: he was nothing short of a keyboard genius. Any piano player from Elton John to Ray Stevens will tell you that nobody should be able to play that fast and that well and sing at the same time. A prodigy and bona-fide genius. 

More Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell was released in 1987 and reads as a short (128 pages) research document about the historical Jesus and is much worth your time if, like me, you’d missed it all these years. 

Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli by Mark Seal is about the “tumultuous” making of The Godfather and was my second-favorite book of the year. If you like the movie, you’ll enjoy it. How the picture got made is semi-miraculous.  

Speaking of movies, The Church of Baseball by Ron Shelton is about the making of Bull Durham, which he wrote and directed; it’s a baseball thing. 

Razor Girl by Carl Hiaasen is funny and good, as you’d expect from Carl Hiaasen. Speaking of fiction, if you’ve never read The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson or The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells, as I hadn’t until this year, you could probably skip those. Didn’t happen for me. But … it’s always wise to consider the similar themes of those two books, which is how the bad part of our nature, which is the main part, runs wild if unchecked, even if that wasn’t our intention. 

Churchill’s Band of Brothers by Damien Lewis was good but a better suggestion would be Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose, which I’ve read three times, about E Company with the 101st in World War II. The British equivalent is interesting but not nearly as rich. 

Also, you will feel a lot better after reading either Everybody Always or Love Does by Bob Goff, or both. Check him out if you haven’t already. 

Books in my on-deck circle for 2023 include You Are Looking Live! How the NFL Today Revolutionized Sports Broadcasting, by Rich Podolsky, When the Garden was Eden by Harvey Araton, about the glory days of the New York Knicks (they were good and fun when I was a boy, believe it or not), Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley because I haven’t read him and have meant to, The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, and Prayer by Tim Keller because I really like Tim Keller and because you need the prayers and Lord knows I need the practice. 

Let me know if you come across anything good. Read on! 

Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu 


An Ugly Duckling

By Brad Dison

1939 was a hard year for Bob May, his wife Evelyn, and their four-year-old daughter Barbara. For the past two years, Evelyn had been fighting a losing battle with cancer and was now bedridden. Bob’s ambition had been to be a novelist, but, so far, his talents had only gotten him as far as creating catalogue copy for Montgomery Ward. Bob said many years later, “Instead of writing the great American novel, as I’d always hoped, I was describing men’s white shirts.”

Montgomery Ward’s salary was a steady, much needed paycheck. Evelyn’s medical expenses took all of Bob’s earnings and more. Bob was nearing bankruptcy. He was also exhausted. Day in and day out, he took care of the many needs of his wife and little Barbara while working a full-time job. Bob never once complained, but put on a brave, cheerful face for his wife and daughter.

One day in early 1939, Bob’s boss came to him with a project that seemed to fit Bob’s talent and his situation perfectly. In previous years, Montgomery Ward had purchased coloring books to give away to children during the Christmas season. The coloring books cost the company a substantial amount of money. To cut down on costs, the company decided that they wanted to create their own children’s book to give away during the 1939 Christmas season. The project fit Bob’s situation in that it allowed him to work from home so he could be available for his wife and daughter.

The company wanted the story to be a cheery tale in poem-form about an animal who was an “ugly duckling,” a misfit. Bob had a difficult time writing the cheery tale because of his concern for his wife. He could see that Evelyn was growing weaker with each passing day. Each time he finished a draft of the story, he read it to little Barbara and watched carefully for her response. In this way, he tweaked and reworked the story.

On July 28, 1939, Evelyn lost her battle with cancer. Bob and little Barbara were distraught. To ease Bob’s burden, his boss offered to transfer the project to another writer. Bob made it clear that it was his project, and he would complete it. Bob continued to write drafts and read them to little Barbara. Finally, one day in late August, Bob called little Barbara and her grandparents into the living room. He read the draft of the story and paid special attention to each of their faces. He said later, “in their eyes I could see that the story accomplished what I had hoped.” With the story completed, Bob turned it over to Montgomery Ward artist Denver Gillen for illustration.

During the holiday season of 1939, shoppers fell in love with the story. Montgomery Ward gave away 2.4 million copies that year and planned to give away at least that many the following year. With World War II on the horizon, the United States War Production Board rationed paper, which limited the number of books published in the country. Bob’s “ugly duckling” story could have fallen into obscurity.

Following the end of the war, Montgomery Ward decided to revive the book giveaway. In 1946, RCA Victor contacted Bob because they wanted to record a spoken version of Bob’s story. Unfortunately for Bob, Montgomery Ward, his employer, owned the rights to the story and declined RCA Victor’s request because they wanted to give the books away again that holiday season. That year, the company gave away 3.6 million copies of Bob’s story.

On January 1, 1947, Montgomery Ward president Sewell Avery did something shocking. Avery transferred the copyright of the story from Montgomery Ward to Bob, free and clear. Bob searched for a publisher, but none of the major publishing houses wanted to publish a story of which 6 million copies had been given away. Why, they asked, would anyone pay for a book that had previously been free. Finally, Bob spoke with Harry Elbaum, the head of Maxton Publishers in New York. Bob described Harry as being “a little guy with a big nose,” an ugly duckling of sorts. Harry printed 100,000 hardcover copies of the book for the Christmas season. The books were a success. RCA Victor also produced 45 rpm records of the story narrated by Paul Wing and music by George Kleinsinger. The spoken records were also successful. Johnny Marks turned Bob’s story into a hit record which has been recorded countless times by numerous artists. You and I know Bob’s story well. The “ugly duckling” that Bob created was not a duck, but a red-nosed reindeer named Rudolph.

Sources:
1. Independent (Long Beach, California), November 19, 1939, p.13.
2. Battle Creek Enquirer, December 6, 1948, p.3.
3. Richmond Times-Dispatch, December 19, 1948, p.74.
4. “Evelyn Marks May (1905-1939)” Find a Grave, findagrave.com, accessed November 25, 2022, findagrave.com/memorial/9906088/evelyn-may.


Notice of Death – November 29, 2022

NATCHITOCHES:

Alexander Ryan Nobles Jr.
July 29, 1949 – October 31, 2022
Service: Wednesday, November 30 at 1 pm at Blanchard St. Denis funeral home in Natchitoches

WINN: 

Elaine Sepulvado Henderson
November 2, 1938 – November 28, 2022
Service: Wednesday, November 30 at 10 am at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Zwolle
 
Rex Wright
June 19, 1955 – November 26, 2022
Service: Saturday, December 3 at 2 pm at First Baptist Church of Many
 
Maude Vida Monnin
April 23, 1949 – November 27, 2022
Service: Thursday, December 1 at 11 am at Christian Fellowship Church

RED RIVER:

Osee Aston Dortlon
March 1, 1929 – November 28, 2022
Service: Friday, December 2 at 11 am at Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home Chapel 

Blessed: Cheater Cheater Pumpkin Eater

The Thanksgiving holidays have taken on a different look during this strange season of my life. Prior to my divorce they were affectionately stressful and full of chaos, trying to make sure we visited all of the places. Grandparents, in-laws, aunts and uncles, friends and neighbors. There was so much cooking, chopping, mincing, baking, freezing, brining and stuffing going on that I felt like I was running a small catering business for a week.

After the divorce, visitation schedules set in and truly changed the way we celebrate the holidays. Once that part of my life seemed to be settling down my oldest daughter moved four states away. I never know if I should cook or how much I should cook. I am a holiday cooking victim of circumstance. One year I prepared way too much as if feeding a small army and ended up wasting most of it. One year I refused to cook and ended up eating fast food. It seems like I can never get it right.

This year while scrolling through Facebook I noticed that a friend of mine, who is a down right tasty southern cook, was selling pans of dressing, cheesecakes, and pumpkin rolls. Once I saw her post I felt like it was a message delivered directly from the Lord, giving me permission to purchase a Thanksgiving meal. I think he saw me toiling away in my kitchen for the past two decades and decided I needed a break this year.

I felt the peace of the Lord wash over me as soon as I messaged her with my order. If I had a few faces to feed, I would be prepared. If I were invited somewhere I would not show up empty handed. If I ended up being solo, I could freeze the extras. Grinning like a Cheshire cat, I kept scrolling through Facebook only to stumble upon some students who were selling hams, turkeys and hens for their Agriculture class fundraiser. Here I was killing two birds, no pun intended, with one stone. I order a fully smoked turkey while supporting students.

The Lord was at it again. He was blessing me during my holiday quandary. At this rate all I needed was rolls and a can of green beans. (Why go to all of the trouble of cooking a green bean casserole?)

I was on a roll. (Pun noted) As joyful as I was not having to cook a full meal, I somehow felt like I was cheating on some level. Cheater, cheater pumpkin eater.

Not long after I placed my orders I found myself in throes of a minor kitchen remodel that was becoming delayed. It was planned and long overdue. I was not sad to bid farewell to my formica countertops who overstayed their welcome a few years back. They were the base layer of many family meals, tons of junk mail, and lots of children who used them as a conversation area. With all of the constant love they were receiving, it was simply time. Little did I know that the counter top installation crew was not responsible for hooking up my faucet, sink and dishwasher once they were complete.

This lack of knowledge on my part left me sitting on a waiting list for my favorite local plumber. My plumbing business of choice is so popular that they were not available until after Thanksgiving.

When I found this out, it only made me grin again like that Cheshire cat. God made a way for me before I even knew I needed a way to worry less about cooking a Thanksgiving meal. He actually had me pre-arrange a Thanksgiving dinner for my little family that would not require loads of pots, pans and washing dishes. He knew this, I did not. He was caring for us before we even knew we needed him to intervene. I wasn’t a cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater.
I was actually being provided for by our heavenly father. Sure my kitchen looks like a wreckage pile right now and we are having to wash a few dishes in our laundry room but we are still making Thanksgiving memories while the Lord is providing the necessities. He truly carries about the smallest details of our lives.

Happy Thanksgiving!

“The Lord directs the steps of the Godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand” Psalm 37:23-25 NLT


Oh, the Shame of Zeroing

By Steve Graf

It doesn’t matter how good you think you are or how many tournaments you have won, there will come a time when you just can’t figure the fish out and you come to the scales with nothing. This is the number one fear amongst all anglers who fish in tournaments. Anglers will literally wake up in a cold sweat at night when they have this nightmare. But let’s take a deeper look at the psyche of what goes through an angler’s mind as the day unfolds and they come in with no fish in the live well.

Very few times an angler left the ramp on tournament day because he did not feel good about his game plan. Most anglers usually have a good idea about what and how they’ll catch them on that particular day. But as the day unfolds and the clock is ticking, if an angler does not have fish in the live well by 10:00 AM, at some point he starts to second guess his game plan. He starts thinking (which is usually not a good thing) about how he should have started out deep rather than shallow, how he should have thrown a topwater bait early instead of a worm. Maybe he should have run up the lake instead of staying on the south end or how he should have fished the grass instead of the bushes. But no matter what, pressure starts to build especially when the clock strikes one o’clock with no fish in the box and a weigh-in time of three o’clock. For me, I tell myself, “If I’m going to catch them, I’ve only got two hours to figure them out!”

The next thing you know it’s two o’clock and you still have nothing to show for all the casts you’ve made. It’s at this point most anglers start to panic and start to visualize coming to the weigh-in with a big fat zero. You start to fish too fast and make bad casts, you get hung up more often and have to go and retrieve your bait in places you can’t get to. So, then you end up breaking off whatever bait you’re throwing, with the internal clock in your head moving faster, as you waste even more time looking for another bait and having to re-rig. It’s during these high-pressure times that you backlash a reel so bad that you have to put it away so that you can cut the backlash out when you get home. Then with only minutes to go, you hook the fish of a lifetime, only to watch it come off and swim away right before you get ready to swing it into the boat. A fitting end to a very frustrating day!

Then it’s time to head for the weigh-in and you hope everyone is gone by the time you get there…but that’s never the case. It’s funny how when you have twenty pounds of fish in the live well, no one ever asks how you did. But when you have zero, it seems everyone in the tournament, including their grandma, wants to know what you’ve got. But oh, the shame and embarrassment of having to say, “Zero!” It just doesn’t get any worse than that! So, it’s at this time you head straight for the boat ramp, load your boat, tuck your tail between your legs, pull your cap down low so maybe no one recognizes you, and head home. If you want to see who did not catch fish that day, watch the parking lot at the ramp and see just how fast an angler can load his boat and get out of there.

Hope you enjoyed hearing about the misery of what an angler goes through on those days when he just doesn’t catch them. But the thing that’s great about the end of a tournament is it means there’s an opportunity for redemption at the next event. Forget it and move on because that tournament is over and there’s nothing you can do to change the outcome of that event. Till next time, good luck, good fishing and don’t forget your sunscreen.

Steve Graf
Hook’N Up & Track’N Down Show &
Tackle Talk Live


Notice of Death – November 24, 2022

NATCHITOCHES:

Melba Jordan Cruse
March 18, 1947 – November 22, 2022
Service: Friday, November 25 at 2 pm at Jennings Chapel CMC near Marthaville
 
Leo “Jim” Llorens
January 29, 1938 – November 19, 2022
Service: Saturday, November 26 at 11 am at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Isle Brevelle

Alexander Ryan Nobles Jr.
July 29, 1949 – October 31, 2022
Service: Wednesday November 30 at 1 pm at Blanchard St. Denis funeral home in Natchitoches

Stephen Lane Stroud
October 26, 1959 – November 2, 2022
Service: Tuesday, November 29 at 10:30 am at Rosemary Beach Town Hall in Panama City Beach, FL

WINN:

Shirley Ann Rivers
June 24, 1946 – November 20, 2022
Service: Saturday, November 26 at 10 am at St. Joseph Catholic Church

Ronald Lee Preston
April 7, 1954 – November 18, 2022
Service: Friday, November 25 at 2 pm at Welcome Home Baptist Church

Judy Fay Conerly
February 24, 1945 – November 22, 2022
Service: Friday, November 25 at 2 pm at Warren Meadows Funeral Home Chapel


Over the river and through the ’hood, complaining away we go

With the Pilgrims held up as our example, we learned early to “be grateful.” 

As they dragged us to various in-laws’ in assorted neighborhoods for turkey and pumpkin pie and secondhand smoke, our parents reminded us that at the first Thanksgiving in 1621 (give or take), the settlers of the New World had it much tougher than we do. They had to eat outside. They didn’t have potatoes over here yet. The yeast rolls didn’t rise. William Bradford forgot to pick up a Marie Callender’s Apple Crumb Cobbler at the store, and the cable went out halfway through the Detroit Lions-Chicago Cardinals football game. 

“And they didn’t even complain,” our parents said. 

“Bet they got drunk then,” I said. 

“No, they most certainly did not!” 

The Pilgrims really WERE tough; I would have complained if there’d been no potatoes. Loud and clear. They could have heard me back over in England.  

But to hear our parents testify, no one 40 years ago ever complained about anything, especially on Thanksgiving. When you are spoiled like I am, that is setting the bar sort of high. But hey, I’m old school too and really not much of a complainer – as long as everything goes right. That’s just me. 

This week, complaining is a given. This week is about the pre-Thanksgiving misgivings about “where we’re going for Thanksgiving.” Do you know where you’re going yet? Or what you’re bringing? Or the order in which you’re going to whomever’s house when? Are we all on the same page? 

It can be dicey. 

“Are we going to grandmama’s?” 

“Not this year. But we’re not sure. We might.” 

“When will we know?” 

“I don’t know. Who are you, Dan Rather? We’ll know when we hear from everybody and decide.” 

“It’s Tuesday.” 

“Then good! Since Thanksgiving is on Thursday, as it usually is, that means we don’t have to know yet.” 

“We’re cutting it close.” 

“I’ll show you what cutting it close is, mister!” 

“I was just asking…” 

“Well just quit just asking, mister man. Your grandmother might meet us at Big Aunty’s. We might go there.” 

“Not to Big Aunty’s! Big Aunty can’t cook, momma. Big Aunty won’t have nothing even done until supper. We’ll starve.” 

“She most certainly will have and you most certainly will not starve. I’ll make you a pimento cheese to hold you over. We might just all bring different things.” 

“What do you mean, ‘we all?’ Who all is coming?” 

“Aunt Jean will bring the macaroni and cheese and we’ll bring the bean casserole and…” 

“Momma that means Uncle Lester is coming. He’s a professional smoker. We’ll all smell like something burnt. They’ll be ashes in the macaroni.” 

“No there will not!” 

“There was last year.” 

“You’ll think last year if you don’t shut up! Now I mean it!” 

“Can we just stay home and make hamburgers?” 

“NO! We can be thankful and not complain about gummy rice and ashes in the food and Jello with nuts in it and getting your picture taken. And if I hear one word, ONE MORE WORD….” 

Precious memories. And Happy Thanksgiving; I hope you get where you’re going. 

(Originally ran Nov. 20, 2009) 

Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu 


Obit: Margie Raybon Anderson

March 3, 1930 – November 20, 2022

Funeral services celebrating the life of Margie Raybon Anderson will be at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 26, 2022, at San Patricio Baptist Church, Converse, Louisiana. Rev. Danny Asbell will be officiating the service. Burial will follow at Cassel Cemetery, Converse, Louisiana. Visitation for family and friends will be at noon on Friday, November 25, 2022, at the church.

Margie was born on March 3, 1930, to John and Lucy McDonald and entered into eternal rest on November 20, 2022.

She is preceded in death by her parents; husbands, Thomas “Tig” Raybon and Alfred Anderson; ten siblings; sons, Lonny Raybon and Ronny Raybon. Left to cherish her memory is her son, Rick Raybon, and wife, Nita; daughter, Nancy Rigsby and husband, Delmer; 14 grandchildren, and a host of great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.

Honoring Margie as pallbearers will be Eli Raybon, Joey Raybon, Dylan Raybon, Lonny Raybon, Jr., Eric Raybon, and Adam Raybon. Honorary pallbearers will be Tyler Anderson, Stephen Raybon, Vincent Raybon, Ronny Godinez, Aidan Campbell, Conner Rios, Dillon Sandifer, JoJo Raybon, Finn Raybon, Treyton Raybon, Trevor Raybon, Cameron Carroll, Hunter Lovelady, Jackson Sepulvado, Zachary Faircloth, Jacob Lovelady, Matthew Raybon, Ridge Mitchell, Bentley Mitchell, and Mason Mitchell.

A very special thanks to Superior Hospice nurses, and a very special thanks to our amazing, loving, and awesome caretaker, precious Sandy McAnulty, who cared, still cares, and managed all caretaking, and our precious Tracy Montgomery, and Kimberly Leone and our precious, Jo Lea Procell.

Rose-Neath – The Name you’ve Trusted since 1932


Notice of Death – November 22, 2022

NATCHITOCHES:

Leo “Jim” Llorens
January 29, 1938 – November 19, 2022
Service: Saturday, November 26 at 11 am at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Isle Brevelle

Alexander Ryan Nobles Jr.
July 29, 1949 – October 31, 2022
Service: Wednesday November 30 at 1 pm at Blanchard St. Denis funeral home in Natchitoches

Stephen Lane Stroud
October 26, 1959 – November 2, 2022
Service: Tuesday, November 29 at 10:30 am at Rosemary Beach Town Hall in Panama City Beach, FL

WINN:

Ronald Lee Preston
April 7, 1954 – November 18, 2022
Service: Friday, November 25 at 2 pm at Welcome Home Baptist Church

Judy Fay Conerly
February 24, 1945 – November 22, 2022
Service: Friday, November 25 at 2 pm at Warren Meadows Funeral Home Chapel

Rose King Downs
May 4, 1940 – November 21, 2022
Service: Wednesday, November 23 at 10 am at Warren Meadows Funeral Home Chapel

RED RIVER:

Joyce Council
August 18, 1941 – November 20, 2022
Service: Wednesday, November 23 at 11 am at Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home Chapel


Put Up or Shut Up

By Steve Graf

Today I’m writing this article based on my personal experience as a tournament angler. Over the years, I’ve come across a lot of anglers who have always talked about how they should be fishing tournaments because they “ALWAYS” catch fish every time they go fishing. All I have to say to these anglers….”You’re a liar!” These same people will try and tell me how good they are as a bass fishermen and that if they fished in tournaments, they would probably be standing in the winner’s circle at the end of the day. To these same anglers, I say, “Put your money where your mouth is!”

I came across one such angler one day on Toledo Bend, who in his mind, was the best angler on the lake or maybe even the greatest angler of all time! During one of my practice sessions on the Bend, this guy came up to me at the boat ramp. While loading my boat he eased over to me and proceeded to talk about how many fish he caught that day and that he quit counting at 100. I’m not sure why, but for some reason, some anglers feel the need to exaggerate how they caught 100 fish in a day. In reality, they probably really caught about 30 to 35….not 100. If you think about how many casts you make in a day, to catch 100 basses in a day is about 1 bass every 4 casts. That would be an awesome day by anyone’s standards and a day all anglers dream about.

Now during my conversation with this angler at the ramp, he asked me if I was getting ready for a tournament. My answer was yes, and he said that he would probably win it if he decided to fish it. My response to him, with a sense of sarcasm of course, was that if he was on that many fish, he’d be crazy not to fish the tournament. And, that I might as well just give him my entry fee! This is what we call baiting someone!

Well, low and behold he showed up Saturday morning and put up his money (donated). I was a little surprised he showed up because most of these “great” anglers never show up. He actually pulled up beside my boat before takeoff that morning and began to tell me how many fish he had caught the last two days and put in the freezer. It was at this point; I knew he was in trouble. After a tough day of fishing, as the fish did not bite very well at all, I pulled up beside him at the dock and asked how he did. Let me go ahead and state the obvious; he was not a happy camper (angler) due to the expression on his face. I was the last guy he wanted to talk to since he had talked so much trash about how he “always” catches fish every time he goes fishing. He finally answered me by saying how he just couldn’t understand what had just happened. He’s never gone fishing in his life and not caught fish! He was very confused and had that bewildered look (so many anglers have had before) as to what just happened.

It was at this time with a smirk on my face and a wink, I said, “Welcome to tournament fishing!” It just proves that no matter how good an angler you are or think you are, there will be days that you just don’t figure them out. Oh, and with a slight chuckle, I reminded him that the fish he caught the last two days and put in the freezer won’t bite on tournament day after they’re frozen. That’s why tournament anglers practice catch and release. I never saw this guy at a tournament ever again! Guess you could say he got humbled; tournament fishing will do that to an angler. Till next time, good luck, good fishing and don’t forget your sunscreen. Take it from me, Melanoma does not discriminate!

Steve Graf
Hook’N Up & Track’N Down Show &
Tackle Talk Live


Jerry Pierce: A teacher who changed my life

Teaching can be an odd thing.

You spend more time with a child, or young adult than you do with your own family. Whether it be in class, sponsoring a club, coaching, going to sporting events, etc., sometimes those boys and girls, men and women, are with you more your own blood, your own kin, those you call family.

You form connections and can make an impact, both fair and foul, on their lives. And they too on yours.

And then they move on, and we all forget.

Oh sure, there are those students you remember, maybe a handful over the course of a career. And oh sure, there are some teachers we remember even as marriages and births and life’s ups and downs come our way. But by and large, we forget, the teacher and the student alike.

I remember a few teachers. Mrs. Sumrall from second grade. Mrs. Waits from seventh. Mr. Waits from math class. Mrs. Kirk from English class. Dr. Horton from college. Mr. Whitehead from college.

But others are hazy. A few faces are remembered. Maybe a few comments. But actual classes are gone. I took 12 hours of Spanish in college and remember almost nothing. Deadlines and commitments took up that space in my brain.

But there is one I remember. One lesson. One teacher.

I took an elective class my senior year of college taught by a guy named Jerry Pierce. It was literally me and one other student. Her name was Mary. I don’t remember her last name and have no idea where life took her after graduation. She came into my life for that class and left to go to her own world. Just one of those people who we meet and never see again.

But Mr. Pierce, I remember, and the reason why is because he taught me how to write. I mean really write. How to connect with a reader and how to evoke an emotional response.

He taught me the two main rules of writing. 1 – Communicate effectively and efficiently and 2 – make the reader care. We read and we wrote, and I got better. I learned the purpose of writing. The art of it. I learned how you can change things with a few well-crafted phrases and shine a light on the good and bad around us without ever saying a word.

Jerry Pierce set me down a path that I never would have gone down without him. He taught me so much, and I still use those two rules of writing today. I base everything I write around those two rules. I teach my students those rules and base all my writing instruction upon that foundation. Commas and structure are secondary. They come later. They come after the two main rules. 1 – say what you need to say and don’t beat around the bush and 2 – grab that reader and make them say “this is worth reading.”

He changed my life.

I haven’t thought of him for a long time. Not until I learned last week of his passing.

His obituary began, “Incomparable impact over 57 years at his beloved alma mater, Northwestern State University, and in his adopted hometown of Natchitoches, along with significant statewide influence in higher education and sports were hallmarks of Jerry Pierce, who died Tuesday in Natchitoches after a brief illness.” He was 83.

Mr. Pierce taught thousands of students over the years, and I highly doubt he remembered me. I was one of those students that he likely forgot with the passage of time. That doesn’t bother me at all.

He may have forgotten me like I have forgotten students like they have forgotten me. It’s part of life. We forget. We forget friends. We forget co-workers. We forget old loves.

But on occasion, there are people who make an impact on us.

Jerry Pierce was one of those people for me.

He was a good one. And he changed my life.

And I will remember him.

Josh Beavers is a teacher and a writer.


Lakeview High School: New Head Football Coach

 
JOB VACANCIES: Head Football Coach

SCHOOL: Lakeview High School

QUALIFICATIONS: Louisiana Teaching Certificate

SALARY: According to the parish school salary schedule

DEADLINE: Tuesday, December 20, 2022; 4:00 p.m.

WHERE TO APPLY: Linda G. Page, Personnel Director
Natchitoches Parish School Board
P. O. Box 16
Natchitoches, LA 71458-0016
Phone: (318) 352-2358
Fax: (318) 352-8138

APPLICATION WEBSITE: www.npsb.la

EOE

Notice of Death – November 17, 2022

NATCHITOCHES:

Geraldine (Gerri) Foster
November 17, 1933 – November 11, 2022
Service: Friday, November 18 at 10 am at Blanchard – St. Denis Funeral Home in Natchitoches

Alexander Ryan Nobles Jr.
July 29, 1949 – October 31, 2022
Service: Wednesday November 30 at 1 pm at Blanchard St. Denis funeral home in Natchitoches

Margo Haase
January 21, 1952 – October 23, 2022
Service: Saturday, November 19 at 11:30 am at St. Charles Borromeo Chapel in Bermuda

Stephen Lane Stroud
October 26, 1959 – November 2, 2022
Service: Tuesday, November 29 at 10:30 am at Rosemary Beach Town Hall in Panama City Beach, FL


Love from one veteran to another

Veterans Day Friday reminded me of it, brought him and her and them to my mind and took me back to the late 1960s and being a little boy who knew something was going on but just didn’t know what.  

Because Aunt Daisy was unsure how long it took a letter to get to Southeast Asia, she mailed one just about every other day, an endless stream of news from Carolina, from home. 

And so, there were two things a 19-year-old Jimmy Bass, who’d always bought me milkshakes at the Dairy Maid, could count on in Vietnam: getting shot at by people he didn’t know, and getting letters from Aunt Daisy. She gave me carbon copies of most every one. 

Dear Jimmy, 

Why they decided you needed to be flying a helicopter I do not know, but your daddy tells me you’ve been doing good at it. That’s saying something as I know Newton Bass is hard to please. Before you were born, him and my Hank vowed they had to taste every bottle of whiskey in a store before they could decide which one they wanted to drink for the night. They thought for the longest time that me and your mother felt that was a good excuse. I never thought either of them would quit drinking, but they did, and if you don’t believe in miracles, you should after knowing that. Which is why I expect to see you walking up our driveway any day now. 

Of course I don’t know exactly where you are over there, and even if I did I couldn’t pronounce the name of the town. While you’re over there, why not talk the locals on our side into naming places that make sense, like Sunrise or Rock City or Dillon. If I lived over there I couldn’t tell anybody my address because I wouldn’t know how to say it. They’re either too short on consonants and long on vowels or the other way around. Fix that, Jimmy? It’ll give you something to do and me something to take credit for. 

Nothing much to report here. We’re still trying to get a preacher. We’ve had all the success of a boy mouse in a roomful of girl cats so far. Last week Farmer started talking in the middle of preaching, without meaning to. Him and the Scrap Iron Quartet sung a couple hymns, then about halfway through our substitute preacher’s talk, here Farmer went. I know it don’t surprise you to hear he was sleeping in church as that’s what he always does when he’s not singing. Don’t know what he does better, snore or sing. But by god he’s always there, ain’t he. So he’d plowed ’til church time as always, then about halfway through the sermon Farmer, deep in slumber and obviously dreaming, hollers out real loud like, “Whoa! Whoa!” None of us paid it much mind but it shook the visiting preacher up pretty good.  

Maggie is getting prettier every day. I think she’s in her room writing you a letter right now. We talk about you all the time and hope you get our letters every week. If you can keep from wrecking that plane they’re idiot enough to let you fly, I might let you drive the Falcon again when you get home. Just got the oil changed. 

Love, 

Aunt Daisy 

Even after his momma and Mr. Newt got word Jimmy was MIA, Aunt Daisy kept writing. In fact, she wrote more. She didn’t give up. Neither did Jimmy. So she was the least surprised person in town the day the knock came on her door, and standing there, milkshakes in both hands and a duffle bag on his shoulder, stood Jimmy, threadbare and scarred, but smiling. And home. 

Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu 


A Ride in a Stanley Steamer

From 1902 to 1924, the Stanley Motor Carriage Company built what were colloquially known as Stanley Steamers.  The automobiles earned this nickname because, like a locomotive, the propelling motion was produced by burners boiling water which produced steam.  The engine was essentially a hot water heater.  There was nothing electric on the Steamers.  Everything was steam-powered, even the headlights which were lit by a match.  They were eventually rendered obsolete when the internal combustion engine increased fuel efficiency and power delivery.  Nowadays, most Stanley Steamers are in museums or are owned by wealthy private collectors.  Jay Leno, long-time host of the Tonight Show, has a collection of them.  You rarely see one being driven on the road.  When people are lucky enough to see a Stanley Steamer on the roadway, most cannot help but stop and stare.

Willie was on summer vacation.  His job required him to spend most of his time in our nation’s capital, about 400 miles from his home in Canton, Ohio.  When vacation time came up, he and his wife escaped the busy streets of Washington for the relaxation of their home in Canton.  Each day, Willie took long walks to take in the fresh air and clear his mind.  On July 13, Willie was enjoying his usual walk when something caught his eye.  It caught everyone’s eye.  His pace slowed as he focused his eyes.  An automobile puffing white steam was driving in his direction.  Almost no sounds came from the car.  Just an occasional hiss, like a steam train on a much smaller scale.  It approached Willie and slowed.  “Willie,” the man yelled with a wave.  He blew the car’s steam whistle.  Willie’s old hometown friend, Zebulon Davis, was driving a Stanley Steamer. 

Zebulon pulled alongside Willie and the two exchanged pleasantries.  They took turns speaking about their work, their families, and made other small talk.  All the while, Willie peered uneasily at the Stanley Steamer.  He was cautious but curious.  As with a steam train, Willie understood that the boiler in a steam-powered car could explode if the steam built up too much pressure.  Naturally, the focus of their conversation turned entirely to the rare car.  Finally, partly out of politeness and partly to give Willie the rare opportunity to ride in a Stanley Steamer, Zebulon offered Willie a ride.

Willie smiled uncomfortably, thanked Zebulon, but politely declined.  Maybe another time.  Zebulon could see that Willie was still curious.  He asked again.  This time, Willie was slower to say no.  Willie walked around the car and asked what this part did and how that part worked – questions any of us might ask if we saw one in person.  Zebulon knew Willie was hooked.  He asked Willie again and, this time, Willie accepted.  Willie stepped into the passenger seat and the two men set off.

The car hissed away from the curb.  Willie was uptight and nervous as the Stanley Steamer gained speed.  His whole body, like his grip on the seat, tightened each time the car’s narrow tires hit a bump.  The longer they rode, the more relaxed Willie became.  Finally, Willie was enjoying the ride.  Well, until someone on a bicycle pulled directly into the path of the Stanley Steamer.  The brakes on the Stanley Steamer lacked the stopping power of a modern car.  Zebulon jerked the wheel.  Willie’s grip tightened once more.  Onlookers gasped in expectation of a serious accident.  To everyone’s relief, especially the bicycle rider’s, the Stanley Steamer narrowly missed the bicycle.  A short time later, Zebulon dropped Willie off to continue his walk.  They said their goodbyes and Zebulon’s car hissed as it sped away.

 At 58 years old, Willie finally rode in his first Stanley Steamer automobile.  For the entirety of his life to that point, Willie had avoided riding in any automobile.  Willie’s first ride in an automobile made history, and not just for him personally.  The date was July 13, 1901… the date William “Willie” McKinley became the first President of the United States to ride in an automobile.       

Source:  The Kansas City Times, July 15, 1901, p.1.
Photo Caption: The Stanley Brothers in a Stanley Steamer circa 1897


Notice of Death – November 15, 2022

SABINE:

Brice Ellzey
April 6, 1945 – November 13, 2022
Service: Thursday, November 17 at 10 am at Warren Meadows Funeral Home Chapel

NATCHITOCHES:

Molly Loraine Meshell
April 28, 1964 – November 4, 2022
Service: Saturday, November 12 at 11 am at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home

Margo Haase
January 21, 1952 – October 23, 2022
Service: Saturday, November 19 at 11:30 am at St. Charles Borromeo Chapel in Bermuda

Jerry Pierce
November 8, 2022
Service: Saturday, November 12 at 2 pm at at First Baptist Church of Natchitoches

Charles “Chuck” Severance, Jr.
November 29, 1959 – November 3, 2022
Service: Friday, November 11 at 11 am at St. Anne’s Catholic Church

Stephen Lane Stroud
October 26, 1959 – November 2, 2022
Service: Tuesday, November 29 at 10:30 am at Rosemary Beach Town Hall in Panama City Beach, FL.

WINN:

Edgar “Eddie” Allen Burlew
January 28, 1964 – November 8, 2022
Service: Saturday, November 12 at 11 am at Nolley United Methodist Church

Kelly C. Allen
November 24, 1977 – October 31, 2022
Service: Saturday, Nov. 19 at 11 am at Christian Harmony Baptist Church


Blessed: City of Lights, Baby!

A few years ago, this very week, I was finally on my way home from running errands after an extremely long day at the office. Sometimes the simplest of errands can seem so daunting and burdensome. This was definitely one of those days. With a deep sigh I drove my weary self down the picturesque Williams Avenue. Once I stopped at the Church Street Bridge red light, I noticed that it was Christmas light installation time!

This caused my soul to instantly perk up. Christmas lights are my favorite thing, not only during the holiday season but all year round. Yes, I am that person. I even told my children when I leave this world and go onto glory, I would like my casket wrapped in Christmas lights. Forget flowers that will soon die, wrap my rented casket in as many bright lights as the electrical system at the funeral can stand.

While I was sitting at the light admiring what was about to happen to our downtown area I saw three City of Natchitoches utility workers walking towards the area where lights were being hung with care. They were laughing amongst themselves and really seemed to be enjoying their work, this task did not seem daunting or burdensome to them. It always brings me joy when I see others enjoying their work, life is way too short to miserable at work.

Being the extroverted person that I am, I rolled down my window to let the City workers know that I truly appreciated them working late to decorate for Christmas. They laughed and thanked me right before one of them said, “It’s the City of Lights, baby! That’s what we do!”

It truly was said in the most lighthearted and respectful way. It was a jolly moment shared between City of Natchitoches residents who have a genuine love for what our town looks like at Christmas. I posted about this particular night on Facebook so it often shows up in my memories. Every time I read it I get overjoyed again at the thought of seeing people love their jobs. As a tax paying citizen in this town, I will always be in awe of people who choose to work for the public and actually enjoy it.

God created us to be laborers, to have careers, and to be fruitful with our time. Adam was put to work on day one of creation. Well, maybe not day one, but definitely in the second chapter. God expects us to pull our own weight. I also truly believe he wants us to enjoy it and be proud of it. When we love the town we live in and take pride in everything that makes it great, residents will benefit for decades to come. When we apply Biblical principals to everything we do…whether that is hanging Christmas lights, digging ditches or even serving in a pubic office…we are choosing to put God first.

When we put God first all else will fall into place.

Our little Christmas loving and historic town is by no means perfect. She does have her many flaws, bumps and bruises that will take strategic planning, bigger budgets and prayer to overcome. There is only one place that is crime free, pothole free, the friendliest people, no tears, no taxes, no scoffers, calories do not count, the Christmas lights stay on all year (this is not Biblical but one can wish), the road is very narrow…and simply will not be found on this side of heaven.

I pray you always find the joy and our Savior in all situations.

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” Colossians 3:23


How the Pro Anglers Relax

By Steve Graf

So, do you think you want to be a professional bass fisherman? Well, we’ve already covered this once, but today we’ll look at what and how some of the greatest anglers in the world spend their off-season or downtime. After being on the road for weeks and months at a time away from family, pro anglers are looking to slow down and catch their breath. Because of the everyday grind and dedication, it takes to compete at the highest level, anglers need to recharge their batteries. Let’s look at the different ways these guys re-energize themselves and get ready for another long season of fishing.

Most professional anglers grew up either in the woods or on the water. Most have an extensive past of hunting big game, ducks, squirrels, or hogs. Most cut their teeth and might have even been in diapers when they shot their first deer. But nothing brings them back down to earth more than spending quality time at their favorite hunting camp. It’s not about the kill as much as it is about just getting away from the pressure and demands anglers are under during the regular season. It’s going out and sitting in a deer stand where all you can hear is the wind blowing, squirrels barking, and the cracking of the sunflowers seeds they’re eating. Yes, it’s true they do fall asleep once in a while when the deer aren’t moving, but that’s okay. They take no phone calls and are unavailable for interviews. The only calls they take are from their publicist or from one of their many sponsors….oh and maybe their wives or children. Sometimes they won’t even talk to their friends! But it’s the time back at the camp talking to their hunting buddies about the big deer they saw or missed while enjoying some of the great meals, that makes a hunting camp special. It’s the stories they tell year after year about previous hunts, stories they’ve already told time and time again. But no one really cares, because the stories (lies) just get bigger and better with every passing year.

Amongst the many professional anglers, some would rather hunt waterfowl and sit in a duck blind for hours…again telling more stories about how many ducks they’ve killed over the years, or they discuss why there are not as many ducks as there used to be. But one thing that makes a good duck hunt…the biscuits and sausage they cook and share in the blind while waiting on the next group of birds to come into the hole they are sitting on. One common theme for any hunting trip is the food. For some reason, hunting camp or duck blind food is always better than any meal you can get anywhere else on the planet. Not sure why, but it’s true!

But one thing I’ve always found strange is another way some of the pros relax; they go fishing! Yes, I said fishing! Who would have thought that since these guys are on the water trying to make a living from January through September, that fishing would be a way for them to relax? Let me help you understand this. There’s a huge difference between fishing tournaments and fun fishing. Some of the pros use this time to test new lures they’ve been involved with designing for the companies they’re representing like Strike King and Berkley. This is something pro anglers really enjoy…designing baits that will hit the market one day with their name on it. But fun fishing for some of these guys is a trip into the marsh or saltwater fishing for speckled trout and redfish. This is when they can be with their family or friends and just enjoy a day on the water without cameras or a boat official watching their every move.

The life of a professional bass fisherman can be a hectic one. There’s a lot of pressure to not only perform at a high level but put food on the table for their families. The stress is off the chart for all of these guys because if they’re not successful, they will be eliminated from the pro tour and replaced by another up-and-coming young angler. Just because you make it to the highest level of bass fishing, does not guarantee you a spot for life. Anglers still must go out and perform. This is why they need that downtime to relax and get away from the everyday grind it takes to be a professional bass fisherman. Till next time, good luck, good fishing, and don’t forget to wear your sunscreen.

Steve Graf
Hook’N Up & Track’N Down
Show & Tackle Talk Live