Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Six Months To 55

That’s Right!!  The 55th Annual Wild Game Feed is just a little less than six months away.  This year it will be held on Friday, September 15, 2023. at Oak Canyon Park at Irvine Lake.  Once again I expect it to be bigger and better than ever.  So start saving your dollars, because the ticket order forms are going to here before you know it (expected about the end of May or the first of June this year).  As usual, don’t hesitate to order you tickets as soon as you get your hands on the order form.  It will sell out quickly.

There are parties, shindigs, hullabaloos, hootenannies, bashes, jamborees, get-togethers, gatherings, revelries, celebrations, and festivities, but there are no words to describe this event we simply know as the Annual Wild Game Feed, or just the Feed.  I’ve been trying for years to describe it in writing, but to understand what it is I am trying to describe requires first hand knowledge.  And to get that first hand knowledge, one must attend; so start preparing for the best man gathering around.

See you at the Feed!

Meat and Beer!

Saturday, September 17, 2022

2022 Wild Game Feed

Once again we must begin preparations for next year’s Annual Wild Game Feed, because this year’s Feed is (sadly) over.  Already I am looking toward next year on the third Friday in September—September 15, 2023.  It is not too early to mark it on your calendar.

This year the Feed was exceptional as always.  The members did an outstanding job of putting together the best event in Orange County (or in the entire world as far as I am concerned) for the best group of guys anywhere.  Whether you were a member or an attendee, THANK YOU!!!  Your participation in this event provides much needed support to many organizations supporting our youth and veterans.  Again, Thank You!

See You at the Feed!

Friday, July 8, 2022

Irvine Lake 2022 Wild Game Feed

Time is getting away from us.  In just 10 weeks the 54th Annual Wild Game Feed at Irvine Lake will be getting started.  If you need to check your calendar, that works out to Friday, September 16, 2022.  I know this year it will be bigger and better than ever.  I simply cannot contain my excitement.

Well with time running so short, maybe you had better start getting things together for a day of fun.  Or if you are like me, you started getting ready the day after last year’s Feed.  Either way, it will be arriving quickly.

See You at the Feed!

Meat and Beer!

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

54th Annual Wild Game Feed

O the Joy!  Today I received my ticket order form for the 54th Annual Wild Game Feed to be held at Irvine Lake, Friday, September 16, 2022.  I cannot wait!  I know, I know, I can’t jump ahead in time to the Feed, but if I could…  Oh well.  I’ve already put together everything I plan to bring with me, except for the ice, and I will most likely re-check it a dozen times or more before the event occurs. 

Once again I must warn everyone to waste no time ordering your tickets for the Feed.  It will sell out fast.  To hesitate is dangerous.  To procrastinate is to lose out on the biggest and best game feed I’ve ever been to.  Meat, beer, prizes, games, meat, beer.  How could it get any better?  If you have been there in the past, you know.  If you have never been there, you need to know.

This remains a stag event (men only) 21 years of age and older.  Please check out my list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) for additional info and thoughts.  Even though I put this list together a few years ago, it is still relevant today.  Even I reread it from time to time to remind myself of things.

So, guys, get those order forms in the mail, and prepare yourselves for the best party in Orange County.

See you at the Feed!

Meat and Beer!

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Texas Barbeque Trail

 I’ve said it before, and I’ve said it many times, “Barbeque is where you find it,” but in Texas all trails lead to barbeque.  In central Texas, just crossing the street can lead to barbeque.  While I haven’t been able to get back to Texas for a few years, I’m certain the number of barbeque joints in the state is greater than ever.  Needless to say, I have many fond memories of Texas barbeque.

 In the mid-‘forties, my grandfather and his friend Sam put their heads together to start a barbeque restaurant.  My grandfather built the pits and a barn-like building for the restaurant and left the rest to Sam and his family.  Sammie’s Bar-b-q is still there near the corner of N. Beach and E. Belknap in Fort Worth, although the original pits were rebuilt long ago, and I doubt if it is still family owned.  This was one of two main places providing the store-bought barbeque I grew up eating.  It was good, but my memories of barbeque really began when I was a kid on a family vacation, and we made stops in Elgin and Lockhart.  ‘OMG!’ was not a phrase used back then, but I can apply it in retrospect.

 In the late ‘sixties, Hank and I traveled to Austin to visit a friend enrolled in the University of Texas.  Bobber decided to take us to a couple of barbeque restaurants he liked to frequent, and we couldn’t say ‘No.’ 

 We spent nearly three days just traveling from joint to joint sampling barbeque (Bobber told us it was just two places, but one thing leads to another).  While some were better than others, only one place we decided shouldn’t keep its doors open.  It was a Santa Maria California-style place specializing in tri-tip.  Now that I live in California I realize that place in Texas was far better than many of the ones in California.  Anyway, we quickly reached capacity, but that didn’t stop us from buying the barbeque and taking it with us.

 Hank and I drove back to Fort Worth with more than thirty pounds of barbeque.  Well, maybe I should say we left Austin with more than thirty pounds of barbeque.  By the time we reached Fort Worth, our smoky stash was considerably smaller.  And we were considerably bigger.

 Just before I moved to California in 1975, I decided to spend a couple of weeks or so driving around Texas.  I had been to almost every corner of the state many times, but business was involved for most of those journeys, and I just wanted to take time to enjoy this world I was leaving one last time.  The one criteria I had for the journey was to have barbeque and Tex-Mex every day—several times every day.

 I packed my car, and the next morning I left the old farmhouse about 8am.  My first stop was a small restaurant about 10 miles away where I had a very small breakfast of eggs, chicken fried steak, sausages, ham, bacon, biscuits and gravy, and French fries.  I needed to save room for my next stop—Angelo’s.

 I met my great-uncle George for an early lunch at Angelo’s and we worked our way through way too much brisket and beer.  From there I drove south to Hillsboro where I met a couple of old friends for “2nd Lunch.”   The small cafĂ© near the old county courthouse was owned by a family from Harlingen, and they understood what Tex-Mex was all about.  Oh, my.  I was full.  Too full.  But I left there to visit some friends in Waco where we were going to have an early dinner.

 Waco is not known for the world’s greatest Tex-Mex or barbeque, but at it’s worst, it’s still very good.  However, early dinner was at my friend’s home where they were preparing brisket and sausage with several sides.  I couldn’t say ‘no,’ and I ended up taking a small container of food with me when I left later that evening to get to my reserved lodging in Killeen.

 Killeen is home to Fort Hood where my friend Zeke was stationed.  He had a week’s pass, and he was going to accompany me on some of my journeys through the state.  I picked Zeke up about 7am the next morning and we immediately drove east a few miles to Belton for a Tex-Mex breakfast.  This was the last Tex-Mex I would see for a week.  We were entering the heart of Barbeque Country—Central Texas.

 For a solid week we ate barbeque.  Every meal.  Snacks in between meals.  Desserts.  Because it was there.  There is no remembering just how many places we visited.  Usually we ate at the restaurant, but we often got it ‘to go’ so we could eat outside in a park or at a roadside picnic table (remember those?). 

 After returning Zeke to Fort Hood, I continued my travels through other parts of the state (El Paso, Alpine, Marfa, Marathon, Eagle Pass, McAllen, Corpus Christi, etc.), and I thoroughly enjoyed the trip, but the barbeque was the highlight.

 Today, well over forty years later, many of those barbeque joints are still there.  Yes, some are gone, and new ones have taken their places.  I started hearing some twenty years ago about the ‘Texas Barbeque Trail,’ and as I did a little research as to what it was about, I realized that there is no actual ‘trail.’  It is simply a word used in relation to all the barbeque places in central Texas.  Some places are famous, and some are not.  All are worth stopping at, just like Zeke and I once did.

 One could make a case for a ‘barbeque trail’ by mapping out a series of stops at the more well known places in a roughly fifty mile circle around Austin, but one would be missing out on some great places only the locals know about.  Sometimes the place is located behind, or in, a grocery store, or bar, or gas station.  Sometimes it’s in front of a church or junkyard.  You never know—as I’ve said many times before, ‘Barbeque is where you find it.’

 To me the best barbeque trail begins where you live (even in California).  It’s local, and that’s a good start.  To expand the trail, just take the time on your travels to stop and eat barbeque at a new place.  And if your travels ever take you to central Texas, your trail will be complete.

Friday, February 18, 2022

Biggie—Year Eleven—The Nose Bump

Right now Biggie is asleep at my feet.  There is something wonderful far beyond words having a little doggie whose trust is so great as to sleep at (or on) your feet.  The only problem is this: if I so much as wiggle a toe, it will disturb him.  That is something I simply don't want to do.

Biggie’s favorite form of getting my attention is a nose bump.  He will just touch the end of his nose to my leg, step back, and look up at me.  He always starts with this, but if I don’t respond in a timely manner, he will resort to other methods.  I may receive two or even three nose bumps before foot scraping begins.  Foot scraping will turn into agitated twirling or bouncing, and as a last resort, woofing and barking.  Usually it doesn’t get that far before I figure out what he wants, although sometimes, no matter how hard I try, I just can’t figure out what he wants.  However, overall he is a good communicator. 

Even though he has been in my life for eleven years, Biggie is almost sixteen years old, yet he still acts like a puppy much of the time.  Yes he is slowing down some, and he can no longer jump onto the sofa without some assistance, but he still likes to go for long walks, runs in the park, and trips to the beach (unless it is too hot).  He also loves to ride in the car.  It starts with a nose bump, two steps back, tail wagging, and a hopeful stare.  If I don’t respond in about two seconds, the foot scraping begins and quickly escalates into agitated twirling, bouncing, woofing, and barking.

Biggie is still my part-time dog.  His mom is moving a few blocks from their current home into a better place, so he is visiting for a few days.  Each time he come over, it seem his routine has changed a bit.  Different wake-up time, different feeding schedule, different walking schedule.  But one thing has always remained the same.  The nose bump.

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Countdown to 54

Well, it’s been just over three months since the last Feed, and preparations are well underway for the 54th Annual Wild Game Feed.  Friday, September 16, 2022.  Mark it on your calendar.  Number 53 was a bit of a learning curve as the Feed changed locations in order to allow us to spread out some.  Admittedly the Feed outgrew the old location several years ago, and the new place was a welcomed change.  However, there are still some adjustments to be made.  I won’t detail the adjustments since they are complicated to make, but there will be adjustments.  And the Feed will be bigger and better than ever.

I don’t know if 2022 will be 2020 Part III, or if it will be a new start for us, but we must all do what we can to ensure the 54th Annual Wild Game Feed actually happens.  Number 52 drew a blank because of the Pandemic, Number 53 was touch and go until the last minute.  I don’t want Number 54 to be scratched at the last minute due to another upswing of this virus.

We still have about 9 months and 3 weeks to go.  That’s over 5 1/2 dog years away!  A lot can happen between now and September 16, but I am once again being an optimist and have started making my list of things to bring.  Let’s see, 1) me, 2) cigars, 3) ticket, 4) uh, more stuff, etc.  Over the years I’ve learned to scale down my list in order to spend more time eating, drinking, and talking with everyone I meet. 

So, let’s get this big shindig completely back on track for the biggest and best Feed ever. 

See you at the Feed!

Meat and Beer!

Monday, October 18, 2021

Home Repairs—Garbage Disposal Edition

I had to replace my garbage disposal, and I wasn’t happy about it.  But who would be happy about replacing a garbage disposal other than a plumber?  At a visitation fee of $250 plus $450 per hour, I'd be happy; however, I am not a plumber, and I wouldn’t know how to invoice myself anyway.

The trouble first started when it suddenly stopped running.  I had been hand washing some dishes, and I thought I would run the disposal a few moments to clean out the stuff that had collected in it after draining the sink.  I turned on the water, and then I turned on the disposal.  The disposal started and suddenly stopped.  I turned the disposal off for a minute or so, and then turned it back on.  It ran perfectly.  Okay.  Problem solved.  Or so I thought. 

The next morning I went into the kitchen to make breakfast, and there was water everywhere.  A small search located the crack in the side of the disposal causing drainage every time the sink was utilized.  Oh, the joy!

Every hardware store in the area was out of the replacement for this disposal, and I didn’t want to re-plumb under the sink any more than I had to.  Fortunately I could order the replacement on line, and for just $72.50 additional, I could have it the next day.  Well, it was still cheaper than the quote from the plumber.

The instructions were simple.  The first line said, ‘Do not try this at home!’  The second line said, ‘Do not use in or near water!'  I never read the third line.

I gathered my tools and crawled under the sink to remove the old disposal.  A couple of screws, a bolt or two, and a smashed finger later, the old unit was out and headed for the trash bin.  Now to replace it with the identical new one.  Did I say ‘identical?’  Every thing was the same.  Every fitting, every wire, every bracket, every thing.  Why didn’t it fit?

Gravity was the reason the old disposal was easy to remove.  Now I had to work against gravity to install the new one.  I’m not really certain just how much the disposal weights, but my estimate is about 75 pounds.  Plus or minus.  Mostly plus.  I was on my left side holding the new disposal in place with my left arm, and attempting to replace screws and bolts with my right hand.  Four and one-half hours later it was in place.  One problem--I forgot to install the electrical cord.  Thirty minutes later the disposal was uninstalled.

After a day off to recover, I wired in the electrical cord to the unit, and just 5 hours later it was working.  No sparks, no leaks.  It really worked.  Now I understand the first instruction, ‘Do not try this at home!’

Saturday, September 18, 2021

2021 Wild Game Feed

After two long, long years of waiting, the brief flash of excitement we call the Annual Wild Game Feed is over for 2021.  Now we wait some more.  It’s sort of like waiting for a comet to appear once every two- or three-hundred years.  But at least it does come back.

This has been a difficult time for everyone; however, the extra year of preparation for the Feed really paid off.  The members were able to procure a larger park for the gathering, and that alone was a big achievement.  Simply speaking, the Feed outgrew the Lake View Park a few years ago.  And as usual, the members were able to find ways to improve perfection.  Wow!  I often think to myself, “It can’t get any better.”  Then it does.

Thank you.  Everyone, whether guest or member who participated in the 2021 Feed, has contributed to the aid of many worthy charities.  With all the fun and excitement surrounding us at the Feed, it is easy to forget that many organizations depend upon donations from groups, such as the Annual Wild Game Feed, for their survival.  Thank you for helping out.

Well, now we wait some more, and we know the next Feed will be even better. 

See you at the Feed!

Meat and Beer!

Friday, August 13, 2021

Wild Game Feed Irvine Lake 2021

Just five weeks to go.  The 53rd Annual Wild Game Feed at Irvine Lake is rapidly approaching.  Well, “rapidly” isn’t quite the correct word to use here; however, five weeks is barely enough time to gather everything together and pack my car seven or eight times. 

If you are anything like me, you find it difficult to wait for the Feed to arrive.  I start pouring over my checklist to make certain I have everything I need to bring.  Cigars, chair, beer mug, sunscreen, etc.  And then I start packing and unpacking my car to double-check how I am going to get it all there (and back again).  My wife just doesn’t get it, even though she has seen me perform this ritual for well over twenty years.  But if you have ever been there, I know you understand.

The Feed is unlike any party I’ve ever attended.  All the beer one desires, all the food you can consume, more friends that you know what to do with, games, prizes, and all the beer one desires.  The only down side is that it will be over before you are ready for it to be over.  Personally speaking, I have never been ready for it to be over.  I even wear the attendance band on my wrist a few extra days—just in case.

It has been an eternity since the last Feed.  Two years of waiting, waiting.  The cancellation of the 52nd Feed was almost more than I could bear.  But it appears the 53rd Feed is going to happen, and I plan on enjoying every possible second of it. 

See You at the Feed!

Meat and Beer!

Friday, July 9, 2021

Irvine Lake 2021 Wild Game Feed

Okay Guys!  Just 10 weeks until the 53rd Annual Wild Game Feed at Irvine Lake.  September 17, 2021.  The 3rd Friday in September.  I hope you bought your ticket.

As of today it has been 94 weeks since the 51st Feed.  The 52nd Feed got eaten by the 2020 pandemic restrictions, and honestly, it could happen again, although I’m staying on the positive side of this.  I am more than ready.  It has been too long since the last gathering of men who enjoy eating (stuffing ourselves stupid), drinking (staying sober with all you can drink beer), and visiting old friends (some older than others).  I really miss this.

For well over 20 years I’ve been participating in this annual gathering, and I’ve watched it grow from roughly 500 guys to about 1,200 guys.  For a number of reasons the cap has been set at 1,200 for several years, and I don’t have a clue as to if or when this may change.  But realistically, I already find it a bit difficult to visit with everyone.  It may be I will need to go on a 2-year rotation in order to visit everyone.  We’ll see.

This annual (normally) gathering of men is quite unique.  It doesn't matter who or what you are, at the Feed everyone is equal and a friend.  No one is better than anyone else, with the one possible exception of the guy pouring the beer.  That guy is king.  The beer keeps on flowing.  And the food doesn't end either.  The appetizers are more than even I can consume.  Then there is dinner.  Wow.  I don't recall ever hearing of anyone who went home hungry. 

Once again there will be some unbelievable prize drawings (including a 1953 5-window Chevy Pickup Truck "restored as original," flat screen TV’s, a champion Labrador puppy, custom firearms, etc.), so bring along a few extra dollars to buy in.  Cigars will be available for purchase, as well as some souvenir items.  Other entertainments and events will be available, as well as an all new Sportsman’s Challenge.

This year the Feed will be held in a different location (Oak Canyon Park), although it is still at Irvine Lake.  It’s very easy to find since it is just down the road from the old location (Lake View Park).  If you have been before, just go to the old location and follow the signs to the new one.  If this is your first time, just south east of the fishing entrance to Irvine Lake on E. Santiago Canyon Rd. is a turn lane into Haul Road.  Signs will be posted.  Just follow the signs.  Real easy.

Meanwhile, I need to start packing the car and getting ready.  After all, it’s only 10 weeks away.

See you at the Feed!

Meat and Beer!

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

53rd Annual Wild Game Feed

Well, it’s on.  It has been a long wait since the 51st Annual Wild Game Feed in September, 2019.  A looong wait.  But the wait is drawing to a close.  Finally.  It will be held on Friday, September 17, 2021 at Irvine Lake.  There is one change this year in the location.  Instead of being at Lake View Park where it has been located for many years, the Feed will be held at Oak Canyon Park.  It’s just a little bit farther along the same road the old location is on.  Follow the signs and you will not have any problems.

 Ticket order forms have been sent out and are arriving right now.  Send it back as quickly as you can.  The tickets will sell out Fast!!

 See you at the Feed!

 Meat and Beer!

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Size Doesn’t Matter

This morning I saw a duck flying at about 30 feet above my front yard as it made its way to the southeast.  As it flew over the top of a neighbor’s house I thought it must be going to the regional park just a few miles away in the direction it was going.  There is a small lake there and duck regularly stop there on their travels, and many make it a permanent home.  Seeing this duck brought to mind one of my earliest duck hunts.

A friend of mine was a duck hunter.  He lived to hunt (and eat) duck.  His home was almost a shrine to the duck.  And his garage was filled front to back and top to bottom with stuff to make his duck hunting “easier.”  Plus he had a dedicated trailer just to haul it around, and when he arrived where he wanted to hunt, he had many choices he could make based on—well, actually, I don’t know what.

Donald (yes, his name really was Donald) had a number of duck blinds in every camo pattern and color he could buy or make.  There were two canoes, a jon boat, and something he called a punt.  He had decoys in abundance in at least half a dozen duck types.  Some decoys were made for floating in water, and some were for setting out in a field.  Some were small, some were large, and some were gigantic.

One evening I joined him on one of his hunts.  I arrived at his home about 9pm, transferred my meager hunting things to his truck, loaded up the two retrievers, and we set out for a lake about 120 miles away.  I was full of questions and he was empty of answers.  “What kind of duck are we hunting?”  “I don’t know."  “How do you know there will be any ducks there?"  "It's duck season."  “Are we hunting from a boat or on land?"  "Maybe." 

We eventually arrived at the lake and found the gate to the property one of his friends owned.  By the time we found the spot where Donald thought was the right place to park, it was almost 3am.  My first thought was, "Finally we can get some sleep.”  His first thought was, "We’re running late.  Let’s get set up.”

Donald (not Don) started opening up doors on his trailer and pulling bags out onto the ground. I stood there peering into the darkness wondering where the lake was hiding.  He had me drag several bags over to a place about eighty yards from the truck and empty them onto the ground.  They were filled with decoys.  Mostly mallards, but many different sizes and shapes.  Then he dragged over two very big bags.  He said they were our blinds.

While I scattered the decoys over the field, Donald set up the blinds.  I had never seen anything like them.  They were basically two large metal cloth covered frames with cutouts for openings.  The coverings were painted to look like two humongous ducks, Each one standing about 7 feet tall.

By now it was getting light enough to see my surroundings.  The lake was about 40 yards away to the southeast, the field appeared to be full of ducks (the decoys), and in the middle of the ducks were two massive ducks that appeared to belong on a carousel ride.  I questioned Donald about whether or not the real ducks would be fooled, but he just looked at me as though I was dumber than the ducks.

Well we climbed inside the two giant ducks along with our shotguns, stools for sitting, dogs for fetching, blankets for staying warm, and thermoses of coffee for staying awake.  As it was getting lighter, the birds were beginning to fly by.  Soon many had landed around us to feed among the decoys.  The two sumo-ducks did not warrant so much as a sideways glance. 

As the sun made its appearance Donald and I were able to pop out of the top of our blinds to bring down the incoming birds.  The noise from the shotguns caused some feeding disturbances, but the ducks on the ground stayed around feeding.  When the dogs exited to fetch the downed birds, the live ones just moved aside and kept on eating.  This repeated until we had our limits.  However, the moment we exited the duck-shaped blinds, the feeding birds left in a mass scramble to get into the air and as far away from us as they could get.

By 10am we had the trailer and truck loaded for the return trip.  As Donald picked the two bags of ducks he noticed my bag was heavier than his.  At first he thought I had harvested an extra bird, but upon emptying the bags and recounting for himself, he realized the difference was simply I had brought down a couple of very large birds. 

On the drive home Donald complained more than once about how much larger my ducks were.  Finally, in order to change the subject a bit, I asked why the two giant duck-shaped blinds worked so well.

The reply was simple.  “When it comes to ducks, size doesn't matter."

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Three-Fourths or One-Half?

Yesterday marked the mid-point in my calendar year.  The third Friday in September is the end of my year, therefore, the third Friday of March is the halfway point.  Each year the Annual Wild Game Feed at Irvine Lake occurs the third Friday in September; however, 2020 was an exception.  The Covid-19 pandemic destroyed many gatherings including the Annual Wild Game Feed.  Simple math puts us at the three-quarter mark of a two-year calendar.  I hope everyone is getting their vaccinations and wearing masks so the Feed can happen in 2021.  If not, then we are just now at the halfway point of a three-year calendar.

I’ve been hoping to hear something from the administration of the Feed’s membership.  Something.  Anything.  But with little to base a prediction on, I guess they are waiting until the last minute to make a decision whether or not to move forward with the plans for the 2021 Feed.  Still ‘better safe than sorry.’

Everyone stay safe, get vaccinated, wear a mask, avoid other people, etc., so we can get rid of this pandemic virus and have our Feed this year.

See you at the Feed!

Meat and Beer!

Monday, February 22, 2021

Biggie—Year Ten—FaceTime Dog

What a year, huh?  Biggie had just returned home to his mom after nearly a year of living with my wife and me when the quarantines arrived due to the pandemic.   His mom finally found a real job, so he went home to be with her.  Literally the next morning the announcements of quarantine hit us like a lightening bolt.  Since that time we have seen him only four or five times.  Once when I had to deliver something to his mom, and several times when his mom had to go out of town for a few days for her job. 

This social separation from my part-time dog is difficult for me, so the best thing I can do is call his mom for some FaceTime with Biggie.  (Biggie doesn't have his own phone yet.)  Somehow it’s just not the same as being with him, and honestly, I don’t think he really understands it.  When I talk to him, he seems more interested is sleeping, or some toy, or just sniffing of something.  Once I thought he barked for me, but then I realized the mail was being delivered to his home.  Oh, well.

Biggie is now fourteen years old, and in a few months he will add another year.  He has slowed down a little, and he is missing a few teeth, but he is in good health overall.  Last year, just before the virus reared its ugly head, Biggie developed a growth in his left ear.  At first I thought the growth was just a skin tag, but in just a few weeks it was larger than a marble.  The first vet he visited to said he would need to remove the entire ear in order to biopsy the growth.  NO!  The second vet took one look and said no problem.  This is an easy removal and Biggie should be perfectly fine in a few days.  Out patient surgery.  No hospital time.  And a couple of thousand dollars less than that first vet.  I really don’t think Biggie even realized the surgery took place.  He was a happy dog before the surgery, and he was a happy dog afterwards.  Then he went home to his mom.  Very happy dog.

As I was writing the above paragraphs I got a call from Biggie’s mom.  She is going out of town for a week.  Could I pick him up tonight?  Before we ended the phone call, I was in the car and on my way. 

Biggie is now home with me.  Yea!  I’m a happy dog, uh, guy right now.  Just as I walked in the door to my home, Biggie’s mom called to FaceTime with MY dog, and Biggie responded to her voice for a moment.  Only a moment.  He then ran into the kitchen and woofed at the cabinet where I store his treats.  Yes, he has his priorities.  Snacks are more important than anything else, and I agree.

Now FaceTime with Biggie has a new meaning, or at least for a few days.  This is the real thing.  His face and my face with no phone in between.  I’m a happy, uh, guy.

Friday, January 1, 2021


Last night I stayed up past midnight.  I don’t believe I’ve done that in fifteen years or more, but it was necessary.  I needed to know 2020 was Gone.  Done.  Over With.  History.  And for the first time in a long time, I didn’t mind the fireworks.  I figured the persons setting off the noise bombs were also celebrating the death of 2020.  I completely agree.

Now it’s time to look forward through foggy glasses due to the masks and envision a world where we can once again enjoy the Annual Wild Game Feed at Irvine Lake.  Last year a lot of charities missed out on donations from this organizations at a time when they needed it most.  They need the Feed as much as we do.  The Feed is still over nine months away, so there is time for vaccinations and ‘herd immunity’ to free us from the clutches of Covid-19 and the pandemic we are currently experiencing. 

To all the guys out there planning on joining me this year at the Feed wear those masks.  Stay isolated.  Get your vaccine shot.  Do your part to end this misery so we can return to our annual feast.  I know we can do this.  We can climb out of this hole and return to, at least to a degree, some freedom to gather for our annual meat eating, beer drinking party.  We already had to miss one year.  Let's not make it two in a row.

September 17, 2021

See you at the Feed!

Meat and Beer!

Friday, December 25, 2020

Santa’s Midnight Ride

Today is Christmas Day, and the sleigh has been parked, the reindeer put away, and the red suit is getting ready to go to the cleaners.  It has been great fun, and although I need a long rest, I’m ready to do it again.

Each year this becomes more entertaining.  The kids always come up with something new to wish for, and Santa is becoming a bit more deaf.  Long ago I began to repeat to the child on my lap what they had requested from Santa, but between the mumbled words and my inability to understand well-enunciated words, repeating the requests became very interesting.

I still don’t know what she asked for, but I’m quite certain she said she wanted Alaska.  When I repeated Alaska, it drew quite a few giggles and laughs.  One young boy wanted a parrot named Polly, but I thought he said a pair of tamales.  Hatchimals are popular, I thought at first the kids were asking for Hannibals or Cannibals.  I've had requests for a stuffed hair (bear), a log (dog), skunk (trunk), brain (train), and mblfeez (mblfeez). 

Sometimes I hear correctly the request, and I wish I had misunderstood.  One boy mentioned he wanted to get his sister a wiener for Christmas.  His nineteen-year-old sister was obviously becoming his brother, and I wished I could unhear his request.  Another request was for a new shovel.  It seems he had been told he would grow up to be a ditch digger, so he wanted to start practicing.  (It makes me wonder how his family treats him.)  And one young lady requested a pair of matching shotguns.  When I asked what she wanted them for, she said she wanted to go to Afghanistan to protect her Daddy.

At the least my job is interesting.  It is also fun, but the nights get long, and the restrooms are few and far between.  I’m glad for this break. But I’ll start preparing for next year tomorrow morning.

I wrote these words a year ago (2019) not knowing there would be a pandemic known as Covid-19 virus.  This year (2020) I was unable to put on the red suit even once.  There have been years when I thought of parking the sleigh permanently, but being forced into retirement was not what I had in mind.  I miss this too much.  Next year I'll be back in the sleigh, and I can hardly wait.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Bob Lost His Keys

 Last year my neighbor passed away 3 months shy of his 100th birthday.  Bob was a big loss to our neighborhood, and he will not soon be forgotten. 

Bob had lived in his house more than seventy years.  Back in the late 1940’s he moved to California, got married, built his house from scratch, and raised a family.  Bob would never consider, even in the smallest amount, ever moving out of his house.  And he was true to the end.  Bob passed away at home, in his bed, surrounded by family.  Who could ask for more?

I was privileged to know Bob for his final 3 ½ years.  He was funny, generous, and kind.  Even though he was struggling to walk, he would often find a way to step onto his porch to greet my wife and I if we were outside.  Every Thursday he would have someone drive him to the local Senior Center where he would play Bingo for a few hours.  And every Friday he would find it necessary to tell me how much he won playing the game.  It was usually 2 or 3 dollars, and he played only 12 games (at 1 dollar per game) to win it.  But he had fun being the only man at the venue. 

During his last year, I began taking his trashcans to the curb each week for the sanitation engineers to pick up.  I noticed very little in the cans beyond ice cream cartons, so I asked the obvious question: "Do you need help getting groceries, or preparing food?”  To this I received 3 minutes of laughter as a reply.  It seems Bob decided that healthy eating habits were only for those persons hoping for a long healthy life, and he had already accomplished that.  At his age (98 at the time) he decided to eat what he wanted, and what he wanted was an unlimited supply of ice cream.   The only variance in his ice cream diet was found in brand and flavor. 

About 2 months before Bob passed away, I spend an afternoon with him on his back porch listening to the many stories he had lived through in his lifetime.  Neither of us really wanted to be sitting on his porch, but Bob couldn’t find the keys to his door, and managed to lock himself out of his home.  Spare keys had been hidden is very specific spots around his property, and I knew where most of them were, so I started searching. 

The first place I looked, Bob immediate informed me he had loaned those keys to his grandson.  So I went to the second place only to be told his grandson’s wife had those keys.  Number 3 went to another grandson.  Number 4 went to his daughter’s partner’s brother.  And so forth.  No spare keys were remaining.  So we sat on his back porch trying to call everyone with a key.  Not answering.  Out of town.  Lost the key.  Oh, I have a key?  Etc. 

For several hours I listened to Bob’s stories.  He spent World War II in Africa as a supply clerk near Casablanca where he went swimming in the ocean every afternoon.  When it was time to return home, he flew back in the open door bomb bay of a B-24.  He said he watch the Atlantic Ocean beneath his feed for the many hours of the flight, all the time hoping not to fall out.  When I asked him if he was strapped in, he replied, “Where's the fun in that?"  ‘Quite a character’ does not begin to describe Bob.

Finally Bob ran out of stories, and we grew tired of waiting for some of those persons not answering their phones to return messages.  Bob’s neighbor to the east (I live on the west side) noticed us and came over to visit.  When we told him the circumstances, he retrieved some tools from his home to break into Bob’s house.  In just a few minutes Bob was inside eating ice cream.  The next day I repaired the damage to the doorframe, and was handed a spare set of keys--just in case. 

Bob left this world a little over a year ago, and every day when I step outside the first thing I do is check to see if Bob is out on his porch to greet me.  I know he is no longer there, but I still see him every time I look at the house that Bob built.  

Friday, September 18, 2020

2020 Wild Game Feed

Today is a sad day for those of us who attend the Annual Wild Game Feed each year at Irvine Lake.  The cancellation of this year’s event has left a very large hole in each of our schedules that is hard to fill due to all the restrictions during the pandemic.

 Each year I usually get together with some friends the day before the main event and have a mini-feed.  Since we see each other only once a year, this is really our only time together, because once we get to the Feed, we are busy making new friends.  There was no mini-feed this year.  It will be another entire year before we can see each other again--that is, if the restrictions are lifted by then.  Right now I can dream. 

 We all know canceling the Feed was the right thing to do.  This virus must be stopped, and sooner is better than later.  But still, it has already been a very long year of waiting for the return of the Feed, and now we must wait another long year.  On the plus side, that means those in charge of putting it together have another year to improve upon perfection.  I hate waiting, but it is always worth the wait. 

 My calendar is already marked for September 17, 2021. 

 Stay Safe!

 See you at the Feed!

 Meat and Beer!

Monday, June 22, 2020

We Knew It Was Going To Happen

I had a bad feeling when I first heard about the covid-19 virus.  Somehow I just knew it would bite into the Annual Wild Game Feed at Irvine Lake, and that’s just what happened.  The 2020 Annual Wild Game Feed Main Event for September 18, 2020 has been CANCELLED!   Bummer! And a few other choice words to go with it.  But it is for the best.  This virus must be stopped, and the Board of Directors felt the safety of everyone involved was the most important item on the Feed’s agenda.

Sooooo…  NEXT YEAR!!  September 17, 2021.  Mark your calendar for the third Friday in September, 2021.

See you at the Feed!

Meat and Beer!

Monday, May 18, 2020


I know it’s not a complete lockdown, but I'm treating it as such--sort of.  I still need to get groceries, water, and visit my doctors for routine maintenance, but for the most part, I’m staying home.  It’s not a lot of fun.  But I’m trying to do my part in stopping this virus.

Many adjustments have been made to accomplish this minimalization of lifestyle, and I know I’m not alone.  I was talking with my neighbors (over the phone) a few days ago, and the discussion of toilet paper came up.  Oh, boy!  Neither of us knows of anyone who has even seen a roll of the stuff in a month.  Well, sort of.  Almost everyone has seen it in abundance in someone else’s shopping cart.  Earlier this week I was at a Costco and saw a person with eleven shopping carts lined up each with a bundle of toilet paper in it, along with paper towels and hand sanitizer in most of them.  I watched as this person (along with her shopping cart guard) took one of the carts through checkout, then handed it off to a waiting friend to remove from the store.  This person then took another cart through checkout and did the same thing again.  It took a team of four or five people to work this out, but it was all purchased by one person.  And I didn’t get any.  The store was out.

The phone discussion with my neighbor turned into a “what did people do before toilet paper” discussion.  Well I was raised on a farm with an outhouse, and I know what to do, but I’m not real excited about doing it.  I remember when Papa brought home a wagon load of dried corncobs, and piled them by the outhouse.  Just grab a few on the way in and scrape away.  Fortunately dried corncobs are scarcer than toilet paper today.  Of course, corncobs were a last resort.  The usual choice was a few pages from a catalog, such as Sears or Montgomery Ward, that is until they started printing in color on the slick glossy paper.  Then it was back to corncobs or even a handful of hay from a bale lying next to the pile of corncobs.

This morning I called to make an appointment to see my doctor about some problems stemming from an accident some time in my past.  What a circus!  The doctors at the clinic I go to are now on a rotating schedule with no one working more than two random days per week.  To get an appointment one must be in an emergency situation and call on the day their doctor is available.  If the doctor is not available, one must wait until the following day to try again.  When I asked what days my doctor will be in, I was told the schedule is known only to the doctors, so I must try every day until I get it right.  What is this? 

I went to a local grocery a few days ago only to discover a line wrapping around the building.  The estimate was a seven to eight hour wait to enter the store.  The next morning I returned at five a.m. only to discover the line was already wrapped around the building.  I asked some people near the front of the line what time they arrived, and I was shocked to discover they were in line when the store closed at nine p.m the night before. 

On the plus side, I needed gasoline (for the first time in many weeks), and there was no one in line at Costco.  I drove straight to the pump and filled my gas tank.  Unbelievable.  It’s usually a twenty to thirty minute wait, and sometimes much longer. 

A sign on the front of a hardware store said “Face Masks Required.”  Underneath it was a sticker on the glass reading “Facial Coverings Not Allowed.” 

It’s a crazy world we are now living in, but the key word here is "living."  I'm seeing on the television reports of protesting crowds and crowded beaches.  I don’t understand why these people have such a death wish.  This pandemic will only grow longer if people don’t isolate.  More time inside will help to end this tragedy sooner.  To me that is obvious, but apparently not everyone agrees.  Oh, well.  I'll just stay as isolated as possible until this is over.  Hopefully you will also.

Stay safe everyone.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

My Fingers are Crossed

Well, the official word is that there is no official word as to whether or not the Annual Wild Game Feed will happen as scheduled on Friday, September 18, 2020.  Today I received a notice that everything is ready to move forward quickly when the quarantine is lifted, and we can have a safe and healthy environment for our gathering.  Hopefully we will know by mid-June, and if the "All Clear" button is pressed, the ticket order forms will then be mailed out.  If so, then be ready to place your order quickly.

This year has been a ride on the back of a buffalo in the middle of a stampede.  Of course, the buffalos are all wearing masks and staying six feet apart, but nonetheless, it's been a crazy ride.  However, no one I know is rushing to get this corona virus.  And let's keep it that way.  Speaking for myself, if the Feed has to be postponed for safety reasons, so be it.  I am an outdoors person, and quarantine does not fit my lifestyle, although it is infinitely better than catching covid-19. 

So, hang in there guys.  As soon as I know anything I’ll post it here. 

See You at the Feed!

Meat and Beer!

Friday, March 20, 2020

Half Full or Half Empty?

Today is the halfway point in the yearly journey to the Annual Wild Game Feed, and I don't know to be happy or sad.  I could be happy because half of the year is already behind us and the waiting time is shortened by 26 weeks, or I could be sad because half of the year is still ahead of us, and it's a long 26 week wait for the greatest feast in Orange County.  Once again, it is on the third Friday of September.  This year it happens on September 18, 2020.

For over twenty years I have been attending this annual gathering of men to chomp down on quail, buffalo, alligator, wild boar, ostrich, reindeer, calamari, frog legs, antelope, elk, sea bass, gumbo, crawfish, and quite a few other treats.  I simply cannot remember all the meats served.  Each year the list seems to grow a bit.  Also, the beer.  What can I say?  ALL THE BEER YOU WANT!!  Meat and Beer!  How can it get any better?  Maybe throw in some incredible raffle prizes?  Exhibitions, games, contests.  Back to the beer -- how about rotating handles of craft beers? Utopia!

The ticket order forms will be arriving somewhere around the end of May to the middle of June.  When you get your form, order your tickets immediately.  Every year this event is sold out in just a few days, and I always receive messages from guys who got left out.  Sorry, but sold out means sold out.  Order quickly for best results.

Well, I was just looking at my beer glass and realized it doesn’t really matter if it is half full or half empty.  There is still half a year to go regardless.  But I’ll be ready when it gets here.

See you at the Feed!

Meat and Beer!

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Biggie—Year Nine—The Granddog

Biggie has been in my life for nine years now, and for this entire time he has been my part-time dog.  His mom is a friend who currently lives in a different city from my wife and me, but Biggie gets to come for regular visits for a few days at a time.  However, his current visit has lasted for over nine months, and I am beginning to forget he belongs to someone else.

Biggie’s mom is having trouble finding quality work and an affordable place to live.  While this is something most of us have experienced in our lives (past and/or present), it is making it difficult for her to keep Biggie at home and care for him properly.  Therefore, “Grandpa" and “Grandma" stepped in. 

We love this little doggie.  A lot.  But we never expected to have him for nine months and counting.  It’s like having a 2-year old with bad habits (or maybe it’s Grandpa with the bad habits), but still we love this little doggie.  A lot. 

Biggie brings us a lot of joy, fun, and laughter.  Everyday he does something fun to watch.  Lately he is starting out each day with a back scratch by crawling under my feet and moving back and forth so my feet do the scratching.  Needless to say, it wakes me up.  So does crawling up on me and licking my ear.  This, along with a series of doggie dances, ultimately gets me up.  As soon as I am vertical, he starts nudging me toward the kitchen for his breakfast. 

As he begins eating I start making breakfast for me, but Biggie considers it his second breakfast and does not allow me to walk away from the stove for any reason.  If I try to step over to the refrigerator, for instance, he will begin barking non-stop until I return to the stove.  He will allow me to leave the stove only if I am about to plate my (his second) breakfast.  He will even allow me a few bites of it before becoming worried I will eat all of it.  Ultimately he wins, and my plate gets a Biggie licking.

About two hours before sunset every day Biggie begins announcing he wants to go out.  Not outside, but out, as in “out to a park."  A walk around the neighborhood will sometimes be acceptable, but a park is always preferable, if not demanded.  So about 5 to 6 times each week, Biggie visits a local park where he gets the same exercise as when he takes a walk around the block.  In our back yard he can run free if he wants to do so, but everywhere else a leash is required.  But Biggie still prefers a park.

We have made several dog beds for him to sleep in and placed them around the house.  There is one in my workroom/office.  One is located under the bed in the bedroom, and one is located in front of our living room television, and he knows these are for him.  Just try to move one, and he will let you know to whom it belongs.  But that doesn’t mean he is confined to sleeping there.  Biggie will sleep where Biggie will sleep.  Last night my wife was working on a craft item and a large square of paper fell to the floor.  Biggie immediately claimed it as a bed.  He stepped onto it, scratched it a few times, circled around for a bit, then laid himself down and took a nap.  Later he abandoned it for a drink of water, and my wife picked it up.  When Biggie returned, he looked around for it, let out a low growl, and went over to a space between a lounge chair and the wall to lie down and stare at me for a while as though I had something to do with removing his new bed.

Biggie also has a number of small soft toys to play with.  For the most part he just lets them clutter up the floor around his beds, and he will rarely play with any of them.  And for Biggie, play never lasts more than just a couple of minutes at best, but Biggie knows what is his, and what is not.  When we bring home a new toy, he seems to know instinctly it is his.  Biggie likes to inspect the contents of every bag we bring into the house.  Groceries, clothes, hair care products, etc., it doesn’t matter, he just wants to look at and/or sniff everything entering our home.  Sometimes we will buy a toy for our neighbor’s toddler or newborn, and Biggie gives these a pass.  But if it is for him, he always knows it.

Recently we purchased a small toy for Biggie, but we didn’t give it to him immediately.  Somehow we got it past his inspection and hid it away for another time.  My wife put together a small box of kid's toys for the neighbor’s children to play with when they come to visit and included this small (unused) toy we had purchased for Biggie.  A few days went by, and the toddler came over for a visit, so his new toy box was brought out for him to go through.  Of course Biggie wanted to inspect the contents of this box.  As usual, Biggie examined the toys as each one was taken out of the box, and as usual, Biggie gave each one a pass, that is until his own toy was brought out.  Even though he had never seen it before, Biggie grabbed it and carried it over to his bed and sat there guarding it the remainder of the day.  How did he know?

Oh, how we spoil our “granddog.”  The only problem right now is that we can spoil him, but can't send him home.  We have to live with the results, but I’ll keep on spoiling him as long as I can.  He is worth it.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Enter the Doldrums

A new year is upon us.  Now everyone should have 2020 vision.  Sorry.  I couldn’t help it.

According to my calendar year, this year is actually 3 ½ months old.  In about 8 ½ months my year will close with the 52nd Annual Wild Game Feed, and I’ll start a new year.  The problem is, however, it’s 8 ½ months away – the equivalent of being stranded in the doldrums of one of the great oceans.  No wind.  No movement.  Nothing but a long, long wait, all the while hoping for some distraction to help speed up the passage of time.

Actually, there is much to do.  I’ll pack and repack my car several times to make certain I have everything I want to bring with me.  I’ll check the humidor every day at least once to be certain the cigars are there (minus one or two of course).  I'll look at the calendar a few times every day hoping a day or two got dropped from the month.  Actually, there is not much to do but wait.  And wait.  But it's worth the wait for the best Wild Game Feed anywhere.

See you at the Feed!

Meat and Beer!

Friday, November 8, 2019

What An Honor!

Last night I was brought in as a member of the Annual Wild Game Feed.  And I am very humbled by this honor.

For more than 20 years I have attended this annual event and promoted it at every opportunity simply because I believe in the charities the AWGF supports.  In 2012 I began adding information about it to my blog just because I wanted to share this event with more people, and the response to my postings has been nothing short of phenomenal.  A few years ago I added a page of frequently asked questions I receive, and it is viewed almost every day by a number of people around the world. 

Throughout the year guys wanting to attend this event contact me, and I do my best to get them the information they need.  Many guys are now attending just because I was able to forward to them a copy of my ticket order form.  At no time did I ask for anything in return other than to stop by at the Feed and say ‘Hi.”  There is nothing else like the Feed, and I just want to share the fun with everyone.

The AWGF members recognized my efforts on their behalf and made me a member, and for this I am grateful.  Thank you.

See you at the Feed!

Thursday, October 17, 2019


I was walking through the produce section of a local organic market when I spotted a sale on blackberries.  Immediately my thoughts turned to the cobblers my grandfather used to make after an afternoon of picking blackberries on the side of the roads around Fort Worth.

In the 1950’s many of the narrow secondary roads around Fort Worth were either dirt or crudely paved with asphalt.  If dirt, then the road had mud holes deep enough to "bottom out" a car.  If paved, then the road had potholes deep enough to “bottom out” a car.  Either way, the roads were an experience unto themselves.  Along the sides of any of these roads were bar ditches often filled with weeds, junk, and snakes, but in many places were wild blackberry vines.  And it was to these vines we would journey.

It was not unusual to fill every pot and bowl we owned with wild blackberries on a single outing.  It was also not unusual to disturb rabbits, snakes, wild dogs, and a skunk or two, making the adventure an adventure.  We would always come home with enough blackberries to fill our big chest freezer, and our arms would be a mess of scratches warranting half a bottle of Mercurochrome or Iodine.  Such fun!  And Papa would always make a blackberry cobbler.

For years I tried to duplicate the taste of Papa’s cobblers, but I didn't succeed.  But I won't call it a failure either.  After all, I got to eat a lot of blackberry cobbler.  It doesn’t get any better!

Saturday, September 21, 2019

2019 Wild Game Feed

Once again the members of the Annual Wild Game Feed at Irvine Lake have produced the biggest and best Feed to be found on earth.  And I do not believe that to be an overstatement of the facts.  Thank you AWGF members for your hard work and dedication to this event and to the charities this event supports.  And thank you to everyone who participated.  Without your ticket purchases and donations, this event would be nothing.

So now we (the ticket purchasers) have to wait another long slow year for the 52nd Annual Wild Game Feed on September 18, 2020, but it will be worth the wait as the AWGF members plan and prepare something even bigger and better.  Therefore, start saving your dollars, and don't hesitate to order your tickets the day you receive the order form.  The tickets will sell out again next year.

See you at the Feed!

Meat and Beer!

Friday, August 30, 2019

Wild Game Feed Irvine Lake 2019

Three Weeks!  That’s all the time remaining until the start of the Greatest Feed on Earth!  The 51st Annual Wild Game Feed at Irvine Lake.  I hope you are as ready as I am.

I have been attending this event for over twenty years, and it just keeps getting better.  I’ve been to more than a few game feeds from different organizations in my lifetime, but nothing compares to this one.  Words aren’t enough to explain.  Attendance is the only way to find out.  So get ready.  It’s almost here.

See you at the Feed!

Meat and Beer!

Friday, July 26, 2019

Irvine Lake 2019 Wild Game Feed

Eight Weeks!  That's how much waiting time until the 51st Annual Wild Game Feed at Irvine Lake.  I hope you purchased your ticket when the order forms finally became available, because I doubt there are any left now.  You might find a ticket on line somewhere, or someone may bring an extra to the Feed, but if you don’t have one right now, you may have to wait until next year.

Last year was the best it’s ever been, and this year promises to be even better.  Well, I’m ready for it.  The AWGF members have spent this past year working hard to improve perfection, and I expect them to do just that.  More food, more prizes, more events, more games, more fun! 

As always the party starts at noon (this year on Friday, September 20), but don’t forget the pre-party parties.  I've met guys who make a multi-day event of it by gathering the day before to have their own barbeque somewhere.  And there is always a party in line waiting for the gates to open on Friday.  Also, don’t forget, Saturday and Sunday can be used to party (or recover from the party).  The Feed is not just an “end of the summer” party, it is also a “beginning of autumn” party.  Okay.  Enough.  Guys don’t need much of an excuse to have a good time.  But, in my opinion, the Feed is still the best event a guy can go to.

So, I’m ready.  Are you?

See you at the Feed!

Meat and Beer!

Monday, July 8, 2019

51st Annual Wild Game Feed

The order forms have FINALLY arrived (apparently the printer had equipment problems), and it’s time to order your tickets to the 51st Annual Wild Game Feed at Irvine Lake to be held on Friday, September 20, 2019.  I received my ticket order form in the mail today, and it is already back in the mail because I don’t want to miss out on the greatest Wild Game Feed anywhere.  If you also don’t want to miss it, your ticket order form needs to join mine very quickly (as in ‘Right Now').  The Feed will sell out really fast—most likely in just a few days.  Every year this event gets bigger and better; however, the number of tickets remains the same.  The park is at its limits as to the number of men it can hold, so don’t hesitate, or you will miss out.

If you have never been to this hoedown before, you have missed one of the best man gatherings anywhere.  Food, beer, games, events, prizes, and more food and beer.  For many years I've tried to describe on paper what happens at the Feed, but I have been woefully deficient in my expressions.  Basically it is like an enormous tailgate party, but the only way to fully understand is to attend. 

Once again I plan to fill my plates and bowls with alligator, wild game chili, gumbo, game sausages, quail, buffalo ribs, turkey nuts, frog legs, calamari, clams, tamales (I’m partial to the goat tamales), crawfish, game hen, salmon, sea bass, and a few other things.  These are just appetizers.  I may or may not have room for dinner (roasts of buffalo, elk, goat, ostrich, venison, etc.), but I’ll try anyway.  I’ll wash it all down with some beer, and follow it up with a cigar.  Maybe another beer. 

Every year I look forward to visiting old friends and meeting new ones; however, every year I receive a number of emails from guys who didn’t order their tickets in time, and they are frantically looking for a ticket, but I am not a member of the Feed.  I have no “insider’s track" to nab a ticket, nor can I “pull any strings” to get one.  If you don't order your ticket immediately—well, don't say you weren't warned.  I do hope to see you there again (or meet you for the first time) this year, so, one last time--Order Your Tickets Now!

See you at the Feed!

Meat and Beer!

Thursday, May 9, 2019


Today my wife and I were talking about how things have changed over the years.  It wasn’t a discussion about how things were better in the ‘60’s or ‘70’s, it was just an observation about changes.  For instance, I grew up with Twinkies costing a nickel a package.  When they jumped to a dime, I thought I was going to starve to death.

We have been privileged to witness the transition from a world without computers to the marvels of the Internet surrounding us.  The world of gourmet foods was only for the upper class not too long ago.  A telephone was strapped down to the walls for a long time, and now it’s unusual not to have one in our pocket.  Does anyone remember film?  How about a pocket calculator—never mind a slide rule?  Transistor radio?  How about defrosting the refrigerator?  Ice box?

My wife’s mother once told her about watching a movie projected onto the side of a barn back in the 1920’s.  It showed a train coming directly at the viewers, and they began to panic because their minds weren’t used to such realism.  Nowadays we watch almost any kind of action movie with a wide array of special effects, and we just sit and enjoy the movie.  Not often do we go into panic mode when something appears to be coming directly at us.

My mother’s mother remembered the first car she ever saw.  She described it as a light buggy with a motor and a paddle for steering.  My mother’s father used to talk about using wooden tools as an electrician (Sparky) in the navy a number of years before WWI.  I remember my mother trying to learn to drive a car with power steering and power brakes.  It took a while, and many bruises, for her to transition to such a luxury.

Even in my own (almost) seventy years, I’ve witnessed many changes.  Sputnik.  A man on the moon.  We had party line, crank box telephones.  Electricity was from a generator in back of one of the barns. How about well water?  Outhouse?  Wood burning stove?

I remember the good times of days long past, and I remember the bad times as well.  But I don’t long for the “good old days.”  I’m enjoying those right now.

Friday, April 12, 2019

The Sunburn

In the early 1970’s I loaded my canoe on top of my car and drove to a lake in northeast Texas.  It was called Lake Texarkana at the time I was there, but about a year later the name was changed to Wright Patman Lake.  A rose by any other name.  I was seeking a couple of days of solitude away from the endless business meetings of corporate life, and I thought exploring a lake I hadn’t seen before was just the thing for me.

The trip was an uneventful few hours as I drove the 190 miles from my home to Douglassville where I rented a room as my base of operations.  Since I had left my home at about 3am I had plenty of time to drive on over to the lake and launch my canoe, and long before noon I was well out on the water.   The idea was to simply explore, but I had brought with me some basic fishing equipment just in case a likely spot appeared. 

I paddled along the shoreline for about an hour as I soaked in the solitude and warm sun.  I found myself getting sleepy and decided to drop my anchor and do some “fishing” while taking a nap.  Best laid plans.  I dropped my line in the water, settled down in the bottom of the canoe where I could stretch out and lean back against the seat, and promptly fell asleep. 

While the nap was not unexpected, the next thing to happen was a shock.  I was awakened by the game warden.  He had drifted his boat up beside me to check on what appeared to him to be an empty canoe, but instead he thought he had found a body.  We were both relieved there was no lifeless body in my canoe, and he understood my explanation of seeking solitude from the rat race I lived in.  He had the opposite problem.  He sometimes drove into Texarkana just to be around people.

Since it was nearly 6pm he offered to tow me back to where I had launched my canoe, and I accepted.  I guess I had been asleep for about 3 or 4 hours when he awakened me, and I was acutely aware that my skin was quite burned.  If I had tried to paddle back to the launch area, I may not have made it. 

That night I visited a store where I could load up on baby oil, skin cream, and aspirin.  I hadn’t been sunburned since I was a kid, and I was not overly fond of what I was feeling.  I was able to lie flat on my back to try to sleep, but any movement make my skin feel like old brittle cellophane being crushed into a ball.  Not fun.  The next morning I loaded up my things and drove home.

Have you ever had a sunburn?  I believe I had rather have endless leg cramps.  Even worse is the aftermath as the skin tries to repair itself.  I had to return to the job of wearing a suit every day and giving presentations in different cities almost every day.  Burning, itching, peeling skin looks almost as bad as it feels, and having to travel around the country gave me very little time to try to solve the problem.

About six or seven weeks later I thought I was repaired and ready enough to go back to the lake to finish what I had started.  I wanted to explore this big lake, and this time I did not take either the fishing equipment or the canoe.  I decided to take along an old friend and rent a boat. 

Mike and I were out on the lake about 7am and were well prepared with extra fuel, water, lunch, and a huge pile of snacks.  We motored for a few hours exploring, snacking, and reminiscing our childhood.  We had had many adventures together as kids, and we were actually reconnecting after a few years apart.  About 1pm we found a spot near the shore where we could drop anchor and have lunch.  And a nap.  A long nap.

Mike woke me up, and I remember looking at the reddest person I had ever seen.  Then the pain hit me.  Not only had I done it again, but this time I had inflicted the pain on my friend as well.

The sun was going down as we finally returned to the boat landing.  The manager of the boathouse said we should see a doctor.  I think he was right, but we didn’t listen.  We spent the night bathing our skins in various oils and lotions, and attempting to cool off.  Nothing worked.  Needless to say a second day exploring the lake was out of the question for both of us.

We returned home and dealt with our problems in our own ways.  I saw Mike a couple of weeks later, and he was beginning to heal reasonably well.  But I was still ultra sensitive to the touch.  In fact, my new skin from the first burn was not fully developed before the second burn occurred.  For about six months afterward I found it difficult to go outside during the daytime without experiencing physical pain.  And for almost a year my skin had a pink to light red cast to it.  To make matters worse, I spent much of the next year in Spain where the hot sun is a way of life.

I know you are thinking, “Why didn’t you wear sunscreen?”  But to be honest, I didn’t really know about it.  I had heard of suntan lotions; however, I thought that suntan lotions were only for getting a suntan.  Live and learn.  And it’s a lesson I don’t want to learn again.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Snail Time

Recently my wife and I took some time to browse through a few antique boutiques, thrift stores, and just plain junk shops.  I grew up with many of the things in these stores as everyday items in my home, so basically I found it to be a trip through memory lane.  But there are always surprises and delights to be found that jog my thoughts in unexpected ways.  One item I saw was a rather large neon green ceramic snail with the shell encasing a clock in its spiral.

Many thoughts went through my mind almost immediately.  My first thought was, “Oh, man that's ugly!"  Then I noticed it was chipped, cracked, and crackled, and I thought, "Who would ever buy that!”  I reached over and looked at the price tag and thought, “!#@$%&*”  I also had a few other thoughts about the absurdity of this thing, but then it dawned on me that this is the perfect representation of waiting on the Annual Wild Game Feed at Irvine Lake to arrive each year. 

On the surface time moves forward at a constant rate with no measurable change in pace.  But there are times when it seems to move so slowly there is almost no perception of movement.  One of those times occurs for me about halfway through the year--not the calendar year, but the Wild Game Feed year.  This halfway point falls on the third Friday in March each year as the Feed is always on the third Friday in September.  From this day in March time moves forward so slowly I find it difficult to even notice.

Am I alone in this?  Does anyone else notice how time just seems to slow to a snail’s pace while waiting for the Feed?  On the plus side, this gives me plenty of time to prepare for the biggest and best man feast on planet earth.  On the minus side, it’s still six months away.  I’ve passed through this doldrum over twenty times, and I know the snail will eventually reach its destination, but the Wild Game Feed is still six months away.  Six long, slow moving, snail crawling months!

There is, however, an event much closer in time involving the Annual Wild Game Feed.  It’s the mailing of the ticket order forms.  That one usually happens about the end of May or the first part of June each year.  I hope you are saving your money guys, because when the forms arrive, they need to be returned immediately.  There can be no hesitation, or there will be no Game Feed for you this year.  The Feed sells out within days every year, and to hesitate is to miss out.  Then the snail will haunt you for an entire year. 

Whether snail time is long or short, this year’s Annual Wild Game Feed will happen on Friday, September 20, 2019.

See you at the Feed!

Meat and Beer!

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Biggie—Year Eight

I’ve received several inquiries as to when I’m going to post again, and I apologize for waiting so long.  I’ve been rather busy with a little white doggie and simply forgot about my writings.  Sorry.  But Biggie is just too much fun.

To me it is simply amazing that Biggie has been in my life for eight years.  He may be my part-time dog, but he is still a large part of my life.  There has been much to overcome for both of us, but it keeps getting better.  Eight years ago, I wanted nothing to do with him simply because I didn’t want to get attached, as I knew I would.  That quickly changed, and now I find it difficult to think of letting him go.  Hopefully that is still many years away.  Biggie is twelve years old now, and this summer he will turn thirteen, but I’m counting on many more years.

A couple of weeks ago Biggie came for a visit.  He stayed until last night before returning home to his mom, but during his stay with my wife and me he expected to be highly entertained.  Actually he provided most of the entertainment.

Biggie demands breakfast be served at exactly 6am every morning, and he understands it takes me about 15 minutes to wake up and prepare his breakfast.  Therefore, at 5:45 I get the wake-up call.  It starts with a simple hand lick.  Apparently I sleep with one hand over the edge.  At first I’m just hoping it was a dream, and I try to go back to sleep, but Biggie isn’t fooled.  The hand licks now include a few hind leg scuffs.  Then comes the front leg pawing.  When that doesn’t work, I get the dancing. 

By now my eyes are open, and he sees me watching him.  Every dance is different.  My favorite is the twist where he quickly turns back on himself (first right, then left) a few times.  This is followed by the dogtrot where he prances back and forth across the room. Then there is the dog hop where he literally hops around the room.  Biggie has his own versions of the funky chicken (funky dog), the jitterbug (jitterdog), and the boogie-woogie (doggie-woggie).  And the list goes on.

Since I’m enjoying the dancing more that getting up, Biggie now resorts to force.  My hand now gets a set of teeth attached to it (not hard, but he won’t let loose either), and Biggie will start to pull me out of bed.  The moment my feet touch the floor, he lets loose of my hand and starts to nip at my heels to herd me into the kitchen.  Once I’m in the kitchen he backs off as breakfast is prepared.  But if I try to leave the kitchen before he eats, he will block the door and not let me through. 

I usually go straight to my computer while he is eating, so as soon as he is finished, he finds me and stares at me until I pet him.  And pet him.  And pet him.  Now it’s time for him to take a walk.  I get dressed, I put his walking harness and leash on him, I take him to the door, I open the door, he looks outside, he turns around and runs under the bed.  I go back to the computer.  I know Biggie needs a walk.  Biggie knows he needs a walk.  Biggie wants my wife to take him.  My wife is still asleep, so Biggie decides to wait.  Apparently his walks with my wife are more fun than his walks with me.

Afternoon rides in the car are not just expected, they are demanded.  There was a time when I could put him in the car and take him around the block.  He would be a happy dog with just a short ride, but those days are over.  Long over.  Now he isn’t happy until we run out of gas.  Either that or I take him to a park where he can explore for a couple of hours.  And I had better not take him to the same park twice in a row.  Thank goodness there are more than twenty parks within a few miles of home.

His favorite park is the beach at White Point less than 5 easy miles from home.  It isn’t the classic sandy beach, but a rocky shoreline with old broken up concrete slabs and retaining walls from a 1920’s bathhouse resort.  It is filled with tide pools and shallow flat areas with almost no wave action.  Perfect for Biggie. 

Biggie has always had a fear of water.  When he first came our direction we had a small children’s plastic wading pool.  We put about 4 inches of water in it, and tried to place Biggie in the water.  I’ve never known a dog to exhibit such fear.  I won’t go into details, but we realized there was a big problem.  It took years to get him to trust us when just giving him a bath.  We could take him to a nearby dog beach, and he enjoyed playing in the sand and with the other dogs, but he would not go near the water.  However, at White Point Biggie won’t stay out of the water.  Go figure.  And he still hides at bath time.  And he will not step in a water puddle on his walks. 

The past two weeks were filled with Biggie Adventures, and I found myself quite occupied with being entertained by entertaining Biggie.  I’ll do my best to keep writing, but if there is another lapse in my postings, somehow Biggie will be responsible.