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



Notice of Death – November 17, 2022


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. 


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 

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


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


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.


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

The 5 Types of US Adoption

Adopting a child is a very fulfilling experience for parents, but getting there isn’t always easy. One of the first obstacles is understanding the different types of adoption in the US.
While speaking with social workers, psychologists, and other relevant experts, Parentology learned that there are many different ways to categorize adoptions. Some professionals only distinguish between international and domestic. Others split adoption types into private and public. However, Katria Jenkins, Ed. D, executive director of Osceola County Child Welfare Operations, takes a more detailed approach. She uses the categories described below.
1. Adopting Through the Child Welfare System
Also known as foster care, this system involves, “Adopting children who are under the custody of the State,” Jenkins says. “Children are abused, abandoned or neglected by their parents and therefore taken into foster care … After a parent’s parental rights are terminated, their children become available for adoption.”
2. International Adoption
According to the US Department of Health & Human Services, international adoptions are extremely common. Many families pursue this option to widen their search for an addition to the family. Others want to provide opportunities for children of poor families in underdeveloped and developing countries. However, Jenkins cautions that it is expensive and challenging. One of the greatest hurdles to overcome is filing for citizenship for the child.
3. Private Adoption
Another expensive option is private adoption.
“Private adoption is done typically through an agency and is often extremely expensive,” says Crystal Rice, a Licensed Graduate Social Worker and therapeutic consultant at Insieme Consulting. She tells Parentology the cost can run upwards of $20,000 or higher. “[Taking classes] is not always a requirement in private adoption agencies; however, you should be looking for an agency that does require classes as there is a lot to learn.”
Note that sometimes there is no agency. Instead, there is a direct legal agreement between the adoptive and birth parents.
4. Relative or Kinship Adoption
Sometimes people adopt members of their own families. One of the most common instances is when an aunt adopts her nieces and nephews because her sibling is unable to care for them. According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, in any instance where children cannot safely remain at home with their parents, this is the first type of adoption considered.
5. Adult Adoption
This is perhaps one of the most surprising additions to the list, but it does happen.
“There is typically a 10-year age difference and both adults can demonstrate that it is in the adoptees [sic] best interest to be adopted,” Jenkins says. For example, “[The] youth placed in a foster home at 17, but is now 18 years old … caregiver and youth want to become an official family and move forward with adoption.”

Credit for this story goes to:

“Lore” reminds us of the power of our own lore

Stories fascinate me. I love investigations into our past because rediscovering forgotten lore is precious. These are the truths behind so much of our fiction and our superstitions. The tales that sometimes seem too fantastic to be true.

For instance:

There was a feline friend to German and British sailors at the height of World War II. Named Sam, the black and white patched cat was a passenger and survived not one but three strikes from the enemy, first the Brits and then the Nazis. All three vessels sank, and Sam survived. He tried very hard to die, but luck was on his side. Following his third and final run-in with the weapons of war, Sam took on a new name. He became known as Unsinkable Sam, and it was old age that eventually took him. Many years later, Unsinkable Sam did eventually pass away, from natural causes it seems, after spending his last years living comfortably at a home for retired sailors.

I learned of Sam this week on my drive home from work. A guy named Aaron Mankey was telling the story as part of his podcast “Lore.” If you’re not familiar with “Lore,” it is an award-winning, critically acclaimed podcast about true-life odd and sometimes scary stories. Mankey says “Lore exposes the darker side of history, exploring the creatures, people, and places of our wildest nightmares. Because sometimes the truth is more frightening than fiction.”

I discovered “Lore” a couple of years ago after more than two hundred episodes had been recorded. In that time, I learned the stories behind some of the world’s most powerful superstitions and symbols. Cracked mirrors, the rabbit’s foot, the Easter egg, the Christmas tree, the jack-o-lantern, curses, the Bermuda Triangle, and on and on.

And while so many of these myths and superstitions have supernatural elements, and are still believed by many today, all of them have a simple and basic truth – in the end, they all come down to humans doing things they shouldn’t do.

We’ve been harming one another since the beginning. The Bible story of Cain and Abel tells us that at one point in our history that 25 percent of the human population committed the crime of murder. I’m not getting into theology versus science, but the point remains there have always been stories of darkness. It’s who we are as a people. We hurt each other, and when events happen that we do not have the ability to comprehend, we invent stories that help us make sense of the world around us.

That’s our history. Stories are history. And it is vital to society for stories and storytelling to continue. We must keep sharing our tales, passing them down to those who follow. When stories die, so too does our history.

As Mankey said in a recent episode, stories can help us handle our dark and twisted history. Stories can help us transform ill deeds into lessons about recognizing our wrong actions. The purpose of “Lore” is to show that history is valuable, but it’s also full of mistakes. And it’s our job as citizens of the modern world to hold both truths and tension, respecting the past, while also demanding better for our future, a lesson we could all stand to learn from.

Our lore is our history. We all need to remember and share. “Lore” is a fabulous way to keep history alive. I recommend listening today.

Josh Beavers is a teacher and a writer. He has been recognized by the Louisiana Press Association five times for excellence in opinion writing.


Thomas Mortuary in Many, Louisiana is retiring after 50 years of service! The last day of operation will be December 31, 2022.
“We would like to thank all our loyal customers, family, and friends for your support and business over the years. It has been a great pleasure to serve you.

Tom & Lavern Thomas

Notice of Death – November 10, 2022


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.


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

Obit: Jerry Pierce

NATCHITOCHES – Jerry Pierce, who served over 57 years on staff at Northwestern State University and as vice president of External Affairs since 1990, died Tuesday, Nov. 8 after a brief illness.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Pierce’s impact at the university, in the community and around the state was profound, not only as an administrator, but as a writer, humorist, ambassador, fund raiser and mentor to personnel at all levels of administration, including eight NSU presidents.

“Mr. Pierce has been part of the fabric of this institution since the mid-60s and served under several presidents with integrity and class. He will be irreplaceable,” said NSU President Dr. Marcus Jones. “I consider him a friend and a mentor who has always been there to provide sage advice.”

“Words cannot express the magnitude of the impact that Jerry Pierce had on Northwestern State University and on me professionally and personally,” said Dr. Chris Maggio, NSU’s immediate past president. “He knew everyone on a statewide level and opened so many doors for me. There was not a day in my presidency that Jerry and I didn’t talk. Whether it was in preparation for visits to the Capitol, meetings with donors or presentations to constituents, Jerry was there for me with research done, briefings prepared and communication tips provided. He was such an effective communicator.”

“Jerry Pierce is the greatest story-teller I have ever known,” said Dr. Jim Henderson, president of the University of Louisiana System and former NSU president. “All of us in the Northwestern State family should be grateful that he dedicated that peerless talent to serving our alma mater for nearly 60 years. His loss leaves a void that will never be filled, but his legacy will never be forgotten.”

A graduate of Springhill High School, Pierce was recruited to Northwestern in 1957 as a football trainer and was a four-year letterman in that position. As a student, he was an N Club officer and sports editor of the university newspaper. He joined the staff of The Times-Picayune in New Orleans after receiving his journalism degree in 1961 and became executive sports editor at age 24.

Pierce returned to Northwestern in 1965 as Sports Information Director. He later served as News Bureau director and assistant to the president before he was named vice president of External Affairs, overseeing NSU Athletics, NSU Foundation and Alumni Affairs, News Bureau/Media Relations, Sports Information, the Wellness Recreation and Activities Center and the NSU Recreation Complex. He worked for years with legislators and other elected officials as the university’s governmental affairs representative, served as institutional representative to the NCAA and Southland Conference and was a former president of the conference. He co-chaired Northwestern’s Centennial celebration and 125th anniversary activities. Pierce represented NSU as a speaker and master of ceremonies at hundreds of events across the state for decades and as host or guest on numerous radio and television shows and special broadcasts.

Pierce brought the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame to Natchitoches in 1972 and directed the program for nearly 20 years. During that time, he was named one of the 20 “Most Influential People in Sports in Louisiana” by The Times-Picayune. He played a leading role in establishing the Long Purple Line, NSU’s alumni hall of distinction, and the NSU Athletic N Club Hall of Fame and was a recent inductee into both entities. Pierce received numerous journalism awards and honors for other civic, social and professional activities.

In addition to writing and editing several decades’ worth of news releases and publications at NSU, has also wrote thousands of stories and articles of all kinds for Louisiana newspapers and statewide publications. Pierce received numerous Louisiana Press Association awards for general interest columns, features, sports columns, editorials and was recognized by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association and College Sports Information Directors of America for news stories and sports publications.

Among his many other projects, Pierce was author of a book of columns published by the Association of Louisiana Electric Cooperatives and wrote the text for the 200-page coffee table book “Northwestern at 125” commemorating NSU’s 125th anniversary. He was Northwestern’s liaison for the filming of “Steel Magnolias” and “The Man in the Moon” and was co-editor of “Steel Magnolias Scrapbook” on the filming of the movie in Natchitoches.

Other professional recognition includes 50-year membership awards from both the Louisiana Press Association and Council for Advancement and Support of Education and membership of Blue Key National Honor Society. He was awarded lifetime membership in the Louisiana Sports Writers Association and was the first recipient of the organization’s Mac Russo Award for contributions to the ideals and progress of the organization.

Pierce was extensively involved in civic activities in Natchitoches through the years. Among his honors and recognitions, he was recipient of Natchitoches Mayor’s Award for Community Service, American Legion Natchitoches Parish Man of the Year, Natchitoches Parish Chamber of Commerce President’s Award; City of Natchitoches Achievement Appreciation Award, Lieutenant Governor’s Louisiana Ambassador Award, member of Chamber of Commerce first Ambassadors’ Club, finalist for Chamber of Commerce Natchitoches Parish Man of Year; Kiwanis Club member and officer; charter member of the Mystic Krewe de St. Denis; member of The Agitators social organization; Dignitaries and Publicity Committee of Natchitoches Christmas Festival and member of First Baptist Church. He served as coach and counselor for youth sports programs and on budget, publicity and publications committees. He was also an avid tennis player and was a member of USTA teams that won more than a dozen state championships, five regional titles and a national championship.

Pierce provided substantial financial support to the university and was recognized for more than 20 consecutive years of contributions to the NSU Foundation. He and his wife Regina established endowed scholarships at the university in athletics and academics.

In addition to Regina, Pierce is survived by two sons, two stepchildren, seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

Bye week helps Many fuel up for tougher road to state championship in new classifications 

BY MATT VINES, Journal Sports 

MANY – When Many took a bye week in Week 5, it was an unwanted break because scheduling is difficult for the Class 2A power. 

The Tigers (9-0) will take another seat this week, but this breather comes with a lot more excitement after Many secured the No. 1 seed in the Division III Select Bracket. 

Many earned one of four first-round byes in the 28-team bracket in the reshuffle of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association playoffs that reduced the postseason classifications from nine to eight evenly distributed brackets based on school enrollment and select or non-select status. 

That reorganization has also sent some traditional Class 3A squads into the Division III bracket, serving as new obstacles in the way of Many reaching its fourth straight state championship game. 

Two of those Class 3A teams will battle for the right to travel to Many in the second round – No. 16 Caldwell and No. 17 Richwood. 

In this new format, gone are the days where a No. 1 seed may face a tricky second-round road trip to a No. 17 seed, which by virtue of winning on the road in the first round gets the chance to host in the second round. 

Now the Tigers are assured at least a second-round home game and wouldn’t have to leave Many if the higher seeds hold until the state championship in the Caesers Superdome in New Orleans. 

But that path to and through the Dome is littered with new faces that will increase the degree of difficulty if Many is to win its second state title since 2020 and third since 2014. 

Seeds No. 2-No. 4 are all Class 3A members as No. 2 Bogalusa, No. 3 Union Parish and No. 4 St. James haven’t been in Many’s bracket recently. 

Many wouldn’t see Union Parish or Bogalusa until the state title game, but a semifinals matchup with St.  

James could certainly be in the works. St. James is a Class 3A brand name that won the state title in 2019 and made a quarterfinals appearance in 2021. 

Union Parish, a carbon copy of Many, handed the Tigers their last regular season loss in the 2019 opener, and Many has rattled off 18 straight regular-season victories since 42-32 loss at home. 

The Farmers were the Class 3A runners up in 2021 to champion Sterlington, who checks in at No. 14 in the Division III bracket and could meet Union Parish again in the second round. 

Patterson is another 3A program with a track record near Morgan City and is a tough matchup for anybody at No. 11. 

Almost the rest of the top 10 are familiar Class 2A names like No. 5 Avoyelles, No. 6 Winnfield, No. 7 Amite (beat Many in the 2021 state title game), No. 8 Pine and No. 9 Rosepine – one of which is a likely quarters foe for Many. 

The Tigers pulled away from Winnfield in a 42-14 regular-season win after Winnfield briefly trailed Many by just seven points early in the third quarter before Many turned on the jets. 

The change did cull a handful of blue bloods from the flock as they were small enough to fit into Division IV Non-Select. 

North Caddo and Mangham are the most notable smaller Class 2A members who depart for different brackets this postseason. 

The Titans are classified as a select school and will head to Division III Select while Mangham, who has teetered on the brink of Class 1A and Class 2A, will move to the smaller Division IV Non-Select bracket. 

Either way, Many’s path to another state title appears to be harder than years past, and the Tigers must put together their best performances. 

But this is a Many team that walloped two Class 5A playoff teams (Haughton and Sam Houston), muzzled No. 1 quarterback recruit nationally in Isidore Newman’s Arch Manning and massacred its district ending with three shutouts in which they built at least a 42-point lead in the first half. 

A rested Tigers bunch should be up to the challenge. 

CREDIT: Kevin Shannahan/Journal Sports

Whole lotta shakin’ went on …

We had already sort of figured this was the way it was going to go, but in 1979 it was official when he released Rockin’ My Life Away

The life of showman extraordinaire Jerry Lee Lewis — rockin’ was a good way to put it, but there was more, lots more — came to an end last week, Friday, Oct. 28, when he passed away, age 87, at his home in DeSoto County, Miss.  

Services were this past Saturday afternoon at the Hernando Funeral Home in his hometown of Ferriday. Cousin and fellow singer/piano player Jimmy Swaggart spoke, and a boots-on-the-ground old friend in Ferriday told me that at one point during the 40-minute service, with Swaggart speaking, there was laughter after one story and not a dry eye in the house after the next.  

“Swaggart’s still got it,” my friend said. Cousins Jerry Lee and Mickey Gilley, who passed away in May, had it too. 

Of course, my Grandmama Ruth had all Swaggart’s gospel records, which I loved and listened to on a record player setup the size of a deep freezer in her West Monroe living room. 

She didn’t listen to any Jerry Lee — but I did. (At least I don’t think she did. I’m told she took a swig of Pabst Blue Ribbon now and then, and I never saw that either. She had ‘it’ too.) 

Jerry Lee Lewis, the last living member of the Million Dollar Quartet — add Carl Perkins, Elvis, and some guy named Johnny Cash — a member of both the Rock and Roll and Country Music Halls of Fame, he was the supreme showman and, according to another guy named Elton John, the best rock ’n’ roll piano player. “I can’t play that fast,” he told Rolling Stone in 2007.  

His heyday shows in the 1950s-’80s were before all the lights and pyrotechnics, yet every friend I’ve talked to who saw him live — I sadly did not, have seen only the mind-bending recordings — said he was world-class as a performer. Just Jerry Lee back by Kenny Lovelace and the Memphis Beats. All you needed. 

With a tip of the cap to a man who has brought many of us so much joy, we offer The Top 10 Jerry Lee Lewis Songs, According To Me, and you’re welcome to disagree because he was very good and there is a lot of fields to plow here: 

10. Pink Cadillac, with Bruce Springsteen: Even though it’s not a Jerry Lee Original, it makes the Top 10 because it’s an older Killer and he’s still got it.

9.  Whole Lotta Shakin’: A standard. Hehad to have gotten tired of playing this.

8. Who’s Gonna Play This Ol’ Piano: “… after the Killer’s gone …” I guess nobody. Hurts me. 

7. She Even Woke Me Up To Say Goodbye: “…Baby’s packed up all her things and she’s left me …”

6. What Made Milwaukee Famous, Has Made A Loser Out Of Me: “It’s late and she is waiting/and I know I should go home/but every time I start to leave/they play another song…” Schlitz Problems.

5. Another Place, Another Time: “One by one, they’re turning out the lights/I been feedin’ that ol’ jukebox, just to hold you tight …” I wonder if I was the only pre-teen spinning all these albums back in the day? Not sure I even know what the lyrics meant then

4. One More Time With Feelin’: “Something good got lost along the way …” Kris Kristofferson wrote it so, this was a case of game recognizing game.

3. Who Will The Next Fool Be: “After all is said and done, you wouldn’t be satisfied with anyone …” Hard to even imagine anyone trying to cover these and coming close to Jerry Lee’s performance. 

2. Great Balls of Fire: “… you rattle my brain …” I think this was No. 96 onRolling Stone’s all-time rock songs.

1. Think About It Darlin’: I like the Jerry Lee ballads better than the fast ones and this one’s the best. It’s on theWho’s Gonna Play This Old Piano album from 1972 and was produced by Shreveport music wizard Jerry Kennedy, as so many of these were. Every one of the Jerry Kennedy/Jerry Lee Lewis ballads is a masterpiece, expressive and dynamic, just like the Killer. Hope to meet him one day, another place, another time. 

Contact Teddy at 

Reward Offered: For Information Regarding the theft of Aloha Party Barge

Between September 15 and October 15, 2022, an Aloha Party Barge was removed from a storage area located off Highway 71/84 in south Red River Parish. The barge has a second-floor structure supported by a visual post.  The back of the barge has a unique yellow slide – all of which can be seen in the photo above.

The entrance was gained by cutting the chain to a locked gate. The matter is being investigated by the Red River Parish Sheriff’s office.

A $5,000.00 reward is being offered to anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those involved in the theft.

This Party Barge may be seen on any of the area lakes or listed for sale on any of the Facebook “swap-shop” or “For Sale” pages.

REWARD OFFER: $5,000.00

CONTACT:  The office of Red River Parish Sheriff Glen Edwards

PHONE:  318-932-6701

* All Callers will remain anonymous.

Rabbit Hunt Gone Wrong

By Brad Dison

At about 7:00 p.m., on Sunday evening, December 18, 1921, Harry, who was the secretary to the Tulsa, Oklahoma Police Commissioner and purchasing agent for the police and fire departments, drove his car to the home of Ike Wilkerson, a police detective who lived just a few blocks away. The pair planned to spend the evening shooting rabbits along the road to Jenks, a town just south of Tulsa.  As they rode along the highway, Ike held a .44 caliber shotgun on his lap just in case they jumped up a rabbit. 

Up in the distance, Harry and Ike saw a large Buick touring car parked on the side of the road.  Harry slowed his car as they approached.  They, being policemen, peered at the car to see if there was any hint that the occupants needed assistance.  Suddenly, three men jumped out of the touring car with guns drawn.  Harry raised his hands to show that he was unarmed.  Ike raised his shotgun.  Ike quickly squeezed the trigger and heard a sound that would send chills down the spine of even the most hardened of men.  Click!  His shotgun misfired.  Had the shotgun fired, Ike would have “blown the top of his head off.”  Ike reached for his automatic pistol.

The bandit who should have been on the receiving end of Ike’s shotgun began firing at Ike.  Bullets hit both of Ike’s legs just above his knees.  The bandit then turned the gun on Harry, who still had his hands up in a surrendering position.  The bandit fired two or three times as he ran back towards the touring car.  The bandit’s bullets struck Harry in the chest and one of his legs.  The bandits jumped into the touring car as Ike fired his pistol at them.  Ike heard his bullets hitting the touring car as the bandits sped off.  Ike was certain he had wounded at least one of the men.

In less than ten seconds, Harry and Ike’s rabbit hunting trip turned into the fight for their lives.  Both were seriously wounded and bleeding profusely.  Despite his injuries, Harry sped his car over a mile to the nearest farmhouse.  Harry, bleeding from his chest and leg, ran with a limp up the front porch.  There he collapsed.  Ike was unable to get out of the car.  The farmer’s family tended to the wounded men as good as they could and sent word for and ambulance and police. 

As with any shooting in which a law enforcement officer is wounded, throngs of policemen descended upon the farm.  Even before the two men had arrived at the hospital in Tulsa, posses of county officers aided by deputized police officers were busy searching the roads in the area for the culprits.  Ike had provided them with descriptions of the bandits and their touring car.

At the hospital, physicians began operating on Harry and Ike.  Doctors were able to save Ike’s life, but he would never walk again.  Harry’s condition was very precarious, his physicians said.  A bullet from the bandit’s gun had pierced his lung.  Doctors gave him little chance for survival.

On the following day, police arrested three men who were positively identified by Ike as the culprits.  They were eventually sentenced to life in prison for the murder.  Two days after the shooting, Harry H. Aurandt, loving husband and father, died from his wounds.  He was 48 years old.  Harry left behind a widow, Anna Aurandt, and two small children: a daughter, Frances H. Aurandt, and a son, Paul H. Aurandt.  Paul Harvey Aurandt.  You and I know him as Paul Harvey.


1.     The Morning Tulsa Daily World, December 19, 1921, p.1.

2.    The Morning Tulsa Daily World, December 20, 1921, p.1.

Notice of Death – November 7, 2022


Bessie Cecilia Mowad
June 6, 1924 – November 7, 2022
Service: Thursday, November 10 at 2 pm at St. John The Baptist Catholic Church

Dave “Doc” Wright Sr.
August 17, 1952 – November 6, 2022
Service: Thursday, November 10 at 10 am at Trinity Baptist Church

Josephine (Jo) Plott Green
November 17, 1929 – November 5, 2022
Service: Wednesday, November 9 at 2 pm at Siloam Baptist Church


Jerry Pierce
November 8, 2022
Arrangements TBA

Christopher Warren Garlington
April 30, 1979 – November 4, 2022
Service: Thursday, November 10 at 1 pm at Blanchard St. Denis Funeral Home

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

Chris Warren Garlington
November 4, 2022
Service: Thursday, November 10 at 1 pm at the Blanchard St. Denis Funeral Home

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.


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

Many wraps up perfect regular season with rout of Lakeview 

WRAPPIN UP: Many’s defense wrapped up a Lakeview ball carrier Thursday as the Tigers pitched their third straight shutout to end a perfect regular season in a 56-0 win.

BY MATT VINES, Journal Sports 

MANY – For the fourth time since 2014, Many can call themselves perfect. 

At least in the regular season. 

Many clocked Lakeview in a 56-0 rout Thursday to finish its regular season 9-0 and officially secure its ninth straight district title. 

Coach Jess Curtis is always looking to that ultimate goal of being a state champion, and Thursday’s effort allows Many to hold on to its No. 1 seed in Division III Non-Select with its accompanying bye in the first round of the playoffs next week. 

“We played hard, and we saw what needed to see (heading into a bye week,” Curtis said. “Our defense was sharp, and our offense was very productive.” 

Just as in their last two games, Many forced the clock to run before halftime. 

The Tigers snatched a 42-0 halftime lead and sped through the second half in a game that took less than two hours. 

Quarterback Tackett Curtis and running back Jamarlyn Garner each accounted for two touchdowns in the first half. 

Curtis ran one touchdown in and returned an interception for another as the Many defense outscored its opponent. 

Garner’s two scores comes one week after he rushed for four touchdowns against Red River, totaling six TDs in the last two weeks. 

Jeremiah James, Sylvonte Aldredge, Sean Mitcham and Duce Woods accounted for the other rushing touchdowns. 

On a night when Many honored 15 seniors, Curtis, Garner, Mitcham represented in their final home regular season contest with five total touchdowns. 

The defense was just as good, pitching its third straight shutout as they suffocated Lakeview on Thursday. Many hasn’t shut out three straight opponents since 2018. 

Other streaks extended include Many’s district winning streak (34) and regular season winning streak (18). 

The Gators (4-6, 0-5 District 2-3A) end their season on a five-game losing streak with a rash of injuries after stringing together four straight wins in healthier times. 

Lakeview’s four wins still outnumber the last two seasons combined (three) as the Gators continue to move in the right direction.

CREDIT: Kevin Shannahan

Blessed: The Biggest Girl in the Room

There is an old black and white photo from the nineteen fifties of my mother’s first grade class at St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Zwolle. I remember seeing it as a child and always being mesmerized by the lack of color in the photo. It was a little torn and tattered around the edges, it had faded ink on the backside and looked like it had been in out of albums for many decades. Every time I looked at the photo my mother would point to the back row where she was sitting and say, “You can find me I am the biggest girl in the room.”

For many years that statement always stuck out to me because I thought she was referring to being the tallest in her grade. My mother was very tall, standing right at six feet. She was a beautiful woman with brown hair and brown eyes and she was a plus size woman. The older I got I soon realized that she meant the largest girl in the room. Growing up as a plus size child was not easy for her and during that time period there were no body positive messages to be found. The thinner you were, the happier you were. This made my mother her very own worst critic.

She spent a lifetime battling her weight and speaking harshly about herself because of her size. She often talked about having to have her dresses tailored as a child because she could not buy regular clothes in a store. This of course, was prior to the days of “husky sizing”. She was constantly worried about how she looked in the eyes of others. She rarely mentioned that she knew she was beautiful in the eyes of her savior, the one who created her. My dad was consistently her biggest fan and constantly told her she was the most beautiful woman he has ever seen.

Somedays I am not sure that was enough to overcome her thoughts about herself and her size that she was very ashamed of. But I do know that God loved her no less because of her size. His love never waivers upon us feeling worthy of his love, he gives it freely.

There are many times that I walk into a room and hear my mother’s word, “….the biggest girl in the room”, but I do not think of it the same way my mother did. Most of the time I am the biggest girl in the room. But I know God has set me apart in so many aspects that do not include the size of my clothes. When I walk into any room I am thankful to be there because I know that is where God has placed me for this very moment. There is something special about walking with the Lord and letting him order your steps. I actually pray for people when I am in the same room with them. They do not know this, but I do. I pray that God will use me however he sees fit in that room.

Most days I feel overwhelmingly blessed to be the biggest girl in the room because I know I am completely loved by a savior. His goodness and mercy follows me even when I try to run away from it

God made all of us in very different shapes and sizes. That was an intentional act. He knit every single one of us to be set apart from one another carrying our own unique gifts and talents. Yes, as humans we can alter our appearance by coloring our hair, losing or gaining weight or even plastic surgery but God knew exactly what he was doing before we were even created. He knew what he wanted our appearance to look like, he knew what attributes we would need in order to carry out his work and his desire for our lives.

Whether you are the biggest girl in the room or the smallest girl in the room, please never forget that God loves all of us the same and there is nothing we can do to separate us from that love. God will always bless you with people who see you for who you are, not who you want to be. Your true friends will never make you feel less than you are.

“For it was you who created my inward parts, you knit me together in my mother’s womb, I will praise you because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wondrous, and I know this very well.”
Psalm 139:13-14

The Sun, the Son, and the Superman

It rained Friday night. The kind of rain that comes down in heavy sheets and wakes you from sleep. It kept raining Saturday and I took the opportunity to sit outside, under cover of course, and just enjoyed my Father’s world. 

Speaking of fathers, I always think of my earthly one whenever I make the time to sit in solitude, in quiet, and only hear the simplest and most overlooked gifts we’ve been given. 

The healing power of nature is powerful and pure. It is as real as any marvel of modern Moderna medication we could ever swallow or inject or absorb into these weak and flawed and failing bodies of ours. 

My father, lowercase “f”, taught me to appreciate nature. But I never really did until I got older and saw him put words into action. 

He was an avid hunter. He fed me more times than I could ever count with prizes he gained from the efforts of the hunt. Quick note: the prize was the food. Pop had no use for the trophy hunter. End quick note. 

In my father’s later years, he would still go hunting. He’d still carry his rifle. But he never took a shot. He liked to sit and watch. To listen. To breathe air that wasn’t tainted. To be in his Father’s world. 

So, when I got older and more “learnt” I discovered the greatest thinker of the last 200 years. Henry David Thoreau wrote, “if a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer; but if he spends his whole day as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making Earth bald before her time, he is esteemed an industrious and enterprising citizen. As if a town had no interest in its forests but to cut them down!”

Throughout time, the world has taken for granted the grandeur of nature. We laid it bare, razed forests to the ground, and wiped out entire species through overconsumption and cruelty. Kevin Costner spoke as Wyatt Earp that there wasn’t a future in Buffalo hunting. “Not with everyone in the territory plugging away from dawn til dusk.” The buffalo were nearly driven to oblivion when American military commanders ordered troops to kill them so as to deny Native Americans an important source of food. There was no Son in that and there was no Sun either. 

We didn’t appreciate nature. And so many times we don’t appreciate nature today. 

It’s fitting the scenes in that movie were filmed under an overcast sky. Because while there is much power in the storms, there’s more power in what comes after. I appreciate the rain. I love the rain. It reminds me of my father and it helps me find quiet for reflection. But the Sun is the part of nature that gives me life. 

The sun’ll come out tomorrow. That’s what little orphan Annie reminds us. That’s the promise of the Son and that’s the promise of the Superman. 

The famed superhero had two fathers as well. One earthly and one heavenly. 

Kevin Costner (again) played the earthly father of our current Superman. 

From the film Man of Steel – 

Clark Kent at 13: “Can’t I just keep pretending I’m your son?”

Jonathan Kent: “You are my son. But somewhere out there you have another father too, who gave you another name. And he sent you here for a reason, Clark. And even if it takes you the rest of your life you owe it to yourself to find out what that reason is.”

From the same film, Russel Crowe as Jor-El, Superman’s heavenly father:

“You have given them an ideal to aspire to, embodied their highest aspirations.

They will stumble, they will fall.

But in time, they will join you in the Sun.

In time you will help them accomplish wonders.”

And from the Psalmist: 

“though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.”

Superman is a metaphor for the Son. He finds healing power in nature, draws his strength from the Sun, and helps try to save us from ourselves. 

My father tried to teach me about the power of nature. I didn’t listen until I grew older. But after he was gone, I finally understood what he had been teaching me all along. 

I stumble, I fall. You stumble. You fall. The Son has given us all a purpose. We just have to discover what it is with the time we’ve been given. 

And just like Superman, we all draw our power from the Sun. We all draw our power from the Son. 

So, I say thank you to my father. I say thank you to the rain and the storms. I say thank you to the Sun. I say thank you to the Son.

I say thank you to the Superman. 

I hope one day we all join Him in the Sun, with the Son, and accomplish wonders of our own.

Josh Beavers is a teacher and a writer. He has been recognized five times for excellence in opinion writing by the Louisiana Press Association.

Educating Today’s Young Angles

By Steve Graf

Last week we focused on some of the fishing etiquette issues pertaining to today’s up-and-coming anglers. We looked at “cutting off another angler” and “asking for permission to share a spot.” Today, we’ll continue to spotlight more of the etiquette issues that are taking place on all our lakes and waterways. In the world we live in today, there’s a wealth of ways to gain knowledge…reading, the internet, video archives, or someone actually teaching and showing you what you need to know. By going to school, we learn or at least have the opportunity to learn and become educated. In the bass fishing world, 75% of what anglers learn is by someone teaching them or showing them how, why, and when…how to find fish, how to catch fish, how to maintain your boat, what techniques to use, and when, along with why bass react the way they do in certain situations. But the one area we have failed as older generation anglers is teaching these young anglers fishing etiquette.

In this article, we’ll focus on a couple more of the unwritten rules of bass fishing. Let’s look at how to handle angry dock or landowners. Nothing gets my blood boiling quicker than a private dock owner who comes out of his lake house and tells me I can’t fish his dock. Legally, as long as you stay in your boat and never step foot on his dock, you can fish it. It’s a public body of water and the dock owner does not own the water underneath his dock, despite what he thinks. When I come across this scenario, I always have to take a deep breath before responding to his aggressive statement. I do much better when the dock owner “asks” me not to fish his dock. If he’s doing maintenance work on his dock or the family is out on the dock enjoying themselves, it is best to pass it up anyway because of all the noise they’re making. While trolling by, it is nice to always make a point to speak and say hello and wish them a good day. It is better to leave a dock owner with a pleasant experience rather than a negative one. But when the owner comes at you with aggression and threats, try to calm him down by saying hello and asking him why he doesn’t want you to fish his dock. The bottom line is this… it’s a good practice that if you see the dock owner, ask him if it’s okay for you to make a couple of casts in and around his dock. With this approach, you’ll meet some really nice people who don’t have a problem with you fishing their dock. But there is that 1% out there that will be total buttheads and make all kinds of threats from shooting a hole in your boat to calling the local authorities. Either way, it usually ends in a war of words between the angler and the dock owner. The best advice I can give on this topic…be nice and move on.

One thing that’s actually making our lakes and waterways more dangerous is speeding boats! I’ve had a few near misses on the water and 100% of all these incidents involved speed. Today’s bass boats are literally high-speed water bullets that young anglers have no experience or the skills to drive. Most tournament bass rigs today are 18-to-21-foot boats with motors ranging from 200 to 300 horsepower engines. Most tournament trails today have a motor size limit of 250 HP. But today’s young anglers think they need to run 80 MPH to get to their next fishing spot. I get it…when you’re young, you love speed and think it’s cool. But there are two people you need to be conscious of when running across the lake…the partner in your boat and the other anglers you’re running by. Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. It’s no different than driving a vehicle, you can be distracted and lose control quickly. SLOW DOWN!!! There’s no reason to drive at top-end speed when moving around the lake. Be smart and conscious of other anglers on the water.

To wrap this up, I hope everyone who reads this article will take the advice I’ve given free of charge. The only way we can expect the younger generation to do things the right way is to teach them the right way. Most of the issues we’ve discussed are basically common sense. But as I’ve learned over the years, even common sense must be taught. Till next time good luck, good fishing and don’t forget to apply your sunscreen… Melanoma does not discriminate.

Steve Graf
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