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

Blackberries

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

Changes

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.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Fifty-One and Counting

It’s not often a backyard barbeque lasts for over fifty years, but the Annual Wild Game Feed at Irvine Lake is one of those rarities.  In the late 1960’s a few hunter and fisherman friends emptied their freezers for a backyard get-together, and had so much fun they decided to do it again the following year.  Each time they would meet up for the annual emptying of the freezers, a few extra friends would tag along, until one year they managed to outgrow the backyard.

It didn’t take long before they had to charge admission in order to cover costs, so they did it legally by incorporating as a not for profit group with monies being donated to various charities.  Over the years, this grew into what is now the biggest and best wild game feed I’ve ever attended.

This year I plan to attend the fifty-first Annual Wild Game Feed, and I hope to see you there.  As always, it’s the third Friday in September, (this year it’s September 20, 2019).  If you have been there before, you know what to expect, and you know that no words on a piece of paper (or computer screen) can adequately describe this event.  I’ve never been to any wild game feed I didn’t enjoy, regardless of who put it together, but the Annual Wild Game Feed at Irvine Lake is one of a kind.  Nothing else compares.  Nothing else comes close.

If you haven’t attended before, well, re-read the previous paragraph.  Every man who can possibly get to Southern California on the third Friday in September each year should experience this event.  However, the tickets are limited, and the few tickets available sell out quickly (as in QUICKLY!).  The last several years have seen the tickets disappear in just a matter of days after the order forms are made available in late May or early June.  Several guys have told me they overnight FedEx or UPS their order forms the very day they receive them in order to get their tickets.  Not a bad idea.

I’ve lost the memory of which year was my first one at the Feed, but I think this year is number twenty-one or twenty-two.  And every year is better than the last one.  And last year’s Feed was unbelievable. 

If you are interested in joining about 1,500 of your closest man friends (sorry, no ladies) this year in September, send me an email and I’ll add you to my mailing list.  My email address can be found under the tab “AWGF FAQ’s.”  The very day I receive my order form, I’ll send you an electronic copy for your use.  Just don’t hesitate to place your order.

See you at the Feed!

Meat and Beer!