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March 29 '08
Volume 617

Fishing Adventure Central Hills Baptist Retreat
Rarely, if ever, does a fishing trip with Gordon Sansing, Lee Gordon, and Jim Hess turnout to be simply a day at the lake. Instead, that which was first conceived as a day or two of fun and relaxation oft becomes an adventure, not entirely dissimilar to that of Easterners, who, fired with the "pioneer spirit, made their way westward across the plains often pushing to the west coast of early America.

Those who migrated west sold or forsook most of their possessions in order to lighten the prairie schooners that held supplies and food-stores needed for their long journey. Groups sometimes traveled caravan-style in what was called a wagon train, and each wagon train had a wagon master who led the group to a specific destination. It was not uncommon for them to experience breakdowns such as broken axels or wheels, and even with a wagon master they sometimes made bad choices as to the best route to reach their destination. For the settlers and prospectors, once they left their homes in the east, every day was an adventure. In our case, adventure occurred almost hourly, not just daily.

For our spring fishing trip, "wagon master" Jim Hess arranged for our accommodations at Central Hills Baptist Retreat near Kosciusko, Mississippi, where we planned to fish for two days. Since our respective homes are in most every direction relative to Kosciusko, we didn’t have the opportunity to form a modern wagon train. However, Lee Gordon invited me to ride with him from West Point in a gesture aimed more toward companionship than fuel savings.

"Yeah, if you want to drop off your car at my house, we can go in my truck to Central Hills," Lee shared in a phone conversation a few days before our departure. "I’m taking my two-man boat. That way, we’ll both have somebody to talk to."

The foursome with whom I fish depend on me for our food-stores. It’s a fair arrangement, as I don’t incur the upkeep of licensed boats and trailers, electric motors and battery chargers. Thus, the twenty dollars or so that I spend for snacks is quite reasonable.

Jim had explained we would not have kitchen privileges so we would be eating our meals away from where our wagons were circled. Typically, I prepare turkey and ham sandwiches for a noon meal, but this time I opted for a supplement to the usual snacks we eat, which included Little Debbie sweets, Vienna sausages and crackers.

"The boys might enjoy some yogurt and perhaps a few apple slices," I mused when I made my grocery list.

Yes, it could have been the cold wind that influenced their decision to abstain from the yogurt I offered them, though I should have known they wouldn’t choose to stray from tradition and try something new. But, it was altogether my fault they didn’t eat the apple slices. I had forgotten to get them out of the refrigerator when I was loading the coolers Tuesday morning. Apparently, it doesn’t do any good to make a list if one doesn’t check it twice.

As a non-swimmer, I dare not venture onto a lake without a floatation device, so I remembered to stow my seat cushion, just in case Lee Gordon didn’t have an extra one I could use. After unloading all of my fishing gear, luggage, and food-stores into Lee’s truck we were soon underway.

About three blocks from Lee’s house, I asked, "Did you get my seat cushion when you were helping load everything?"


"Do you have an extra one in the boat?"

"Nope. Do we need to go back?"

"Yeah, I think we better."

Sure enough, the seat cushion was in the backseat of my car, and after a slight delay we were underway once more. We talked the whole way to Kosciusko and it mostly involved relationships with church members and church staff. I may have listened more than I talked as Lee had a lot to unload. In a light-hearted moment, I told him God had sent me to minister to him, but I doubt he believed such was possible. He’s wrong, of course, for an understanding and sympathetic ear is not a force to be taken lightly and can rightly be considered a form of Christian ministry. I provided him the opportunity to express his frustrations without fear of condemnation, which was certainly a godsend.

Friends Sansing and Hess were waiting for us when we drove onto the campus of the Baptist facility. As we exited the truck we saw that Jim’s boat was in the back of Gordon’s truck, and Jim’s boat trailer, which sat empty, had an almost flat tire on the left rear side. Just like the pioneers of old, one of our wagons had experienced a wheel problem on the trail and the nearest wainwright was about seven miles away.

"I need to take the wheel off, but I don’t have a lug wrench that fits," Jim explained. "But, it hasn’t got to be done right now. I can do that tomorrow morning."

Gordon Sansing brought forth his lug wrench, carefully removing it from a Velcro-secured enclosure that had its own glove, something for the well-heeled driver I’m sure. It didn’t fit, either. We then proceeded to get ourselves signed in and our overnight goods stowed in our rooms. Jim ushered us inside to the bedrooms, each with two bunk beds.

"Take your pick," he offered. "This one has a full bath; that one shares a bath with another bedroom."

I tossed my bedroll on the first bunk I saw and asked only that my roommate was someone other than Jim. Though I love him like a brother, I can’t sleep in a room with someone who snores.

"I’ll room with Jim," Lee offered. "His snoring won’t bother me. Once I fall asleep, I,m good for the night."

Shortly after ten-thirty we were on the water. Lee and I fished from one boat. Gordon and Jim fished from the other boat. It was windy and cold and fishing was poor. Lee and I tossed several small fish back before concluding if we were going to grill fish for lunch on Wednesday, we had better keep the small ones. At day’s end, the four of us had only twenty-three bass, none of which topped a pound. Once the fish were cleaned and stored, we left ‘camp’ in search of some red meat.

To be continued…

Georgia Volunteers Second Collegiate Group

The second wave of Collegiate Challenge volunteers for Habitat for Humanity rolled into Pontotoc Sunday afternoon, March 16, 2008. These were students from Georgia Southern University. Six young men – Adam, Ali, Corey, Markus, Tuvios, and Robbie, plus four young women – Annie, Ashley, Courtney and Jalisa, comprised the group, all as eager as the Bowdoin Bunch to assist in building a house for a deserving family.

They almost ran out of work to do on one house when a shipment of doors failed to arrive on time in midweek, and rainy weather delayed pouring the concrete slab on a second, which prevented frame-work starting on time. Yet, construction supervisor Keith Thomas, and assistant supervisor Rachael Walker managed to keep the group working.

My oldest granddaughter, Anna Butler, had surgery on Tuesday and I went to a dermatologist on Wednesday and subjected myself to the pain of having ten pre-cancerous lesions "burned" off my forehead, face, and shoulder. Neither of us required hospitalization but both of us were pretty much wiped out for the next few days, and if memory serves me, I only made it to three nights of dinner with the volunteers.

Ali and Markus were two of the better ping pong players to come our way in recent years. After watching the pair play a couple of games, I was tempted to try my hand at the sport I had greatly enjoyed during my high school and junior college days. In my estimation, Ali was the more skillful player, so I challenged him to a game, thinking if I should suffer defeat, I would have been beaten by the better player. I played respectable for "an old guy," but Ali beat me.

Markus was fascinated with how I held the paddle and remarked, "All the good players hold the paddle that way."

While I’ve known some players to hold a paddle like I do, I believe the great players hold the paddle similar to a tennis racket.

After losing, I laid the paddle down to walk away from the table, but Markus stated he wanted to play me. Had I known how good I was about to play, I would have asked Barbara to video the game. I made shots I didn’t know I could still make and Markus played well, too. I aced Markus on a quick serve, made a few unbelievable returns, sent a few underhanded-backhands his way and slammed him a couple of times in defeating him eleven to six. As expected, I had several sore muscles the next day, but I gained the respect of a much younger player.

I made no attempt to compete with any of the volunteers who were shooting hoops at the other end of the building. I was never much of a shooter in the games I played in Physical Education during my college years and was even less a dribbler or passer, so I watched the young folks enjoy themselves. Jalisa must have played basketball in high school, or else she looked the part, tall and thin and her quickness allowed her to compete on par with the "boys."

For me the week was over before it had hardly begun, and I didn’t get to spend as much time interviewing the volunteers as I would have liked. Yet, I was thankful for the opportunity to meet each of them and to thank them for their work effort. Plus, if they hadn’t participated in Collegiate Challenge and chosen to come to Pontotoc, I might not have ever heard of Georgia Southern University, which boasts more than fifteen thousand students and is noted for its engineering school.

Bird Count 2008 Carl Wayne Reports

"I realized that if I had to choose, I would rather have birds than airplanes. "~ Charles Lindbergh

The results are in from the 2008 Great Backyard Bird Count in mid February. Ordinary people like me and a record 85,000 other people identified, counted, and reported a record 635 different species of birds all across America.

The ten most reported species, all native to the Midsouth, in descending order: northern cardinal, mourning dove, dark-eye junco, downy woodpecker, American goldfinch, blue jay, house finch, tufted titmouse, black-capped chickadee, and American crow.

The ten most numerous species were snow geese, Canada geese, starling, robin, grackle, crow, goldfinch, junco, red-winged blackbird, and mourning dove. Again all of these species are common in the Midsouth and except for the geese, in my own backyard in Collierville TN and Hurricane MS.

Oxford had 44 people report 19 species; Tupelo had 26 people report 10 species; and Pontotoc had 28 people report 8 different species, out of a total 1,281 people reporting statewide. Total count was 163, 782 birds of 172 species.

Collierville had 32 people report 58 different species out of a total of 444 people reporting statewide. Total bird count was 152, 387 birds of 327 species. See details at

The website is full of interesting information and maps. Over the years the reported information has been used to show how various bird species have

moved into areas they have not traditionally been seen, as well as mapped the spread of white-collared doves from Florida, where they first escaped into the wild in 1982, to across most of America.

The first ruby-throated hummingbird sighting for this year was near Oxford on March 19 and Memphis on March 26, so it's time for Mimi and her momma

Opal to get out they feeders, clean them, fill them, and set them out. This is a work of love for them. They love the hummingbirds and the joy they bring to me and to her daddy Ralph.

Carl Wayne, Master Gardener,

Remembering Margie Accident Claims Old Friend

Margie, as most of us called her, stepped over into a glorious reception in Heaven on Thursday, March 20, 2008, after an automobile accident. She was returning to their home in Bartlett, having returned from Pontotoc, MS. The accident was somewhere near the I-240 and Walnut Grove exchange near Baptist Hospital. She was driving an older car that the children had used as a "school" car when it had mechanical problems and stopped on the expressway. Another car struck her from behind as she was stopped. Although taken to the hospital, she did not survive. Margie graduated Pontotoc High School in 1960 and was sixty-six years old.

Margie was married to Hubert Crane of Pontotoc and they had four daughters, Christa, Carrie, Carla, and Candice. I think all the girls are married with children of their own. She had been keeping one of the granddaughters there in Bartlett for a few days and was returning from taking the child back home to Pontotoc.

Margie was a fine Christian lady and had just finished a series of Bible studies at her church. Howard Huey, her older brother, said she was discussing how good those studies had been and since he is a minister himself, had much to tell him about them.

The writer has known her for over sixty years and it is sad to loose her. We grew up across the street from one another there in "Happy Hollow" in Pontotoc. Although we were not that close in recent years, it’s like most good friendships, when we did have occasion to get together, we just picked up where we had left off before. ~ March 21, 2008

Funeral services were held today for "Margie," as most of us knew her.  She married Hubert Crane in 1959 there in Pontotoc.  It was a fine memorial service and well done by the Pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Bartlett.  Howard, her brother, assisted in the service.  He is a minister himself.  Margie was well respected and admired by so many people, both in church, at work and in the community.  The visitation was Easter Sunday evening and the funeral home counted over 500 who stood in line, in the cold and wind, for over an hour to visit with the family. 

At the funeral service they had a slide show on the church's big video enhancing screens that showed pictures of her as a young girl and all along as she grew up, got married and as the four girls came along.  Then there were more recent pictures of her with grand children and all sorts of family situations involving all the family.  They even had a picture of us kids (Margie included) from "Happy Hollow" in 1945 on "V-J Day" as World War II was over, in our patriotic dress. ~ March 24, 2008

Shared by Ralph Jones

Bodock Beau The Perfect Man

This one, courtesy of Ken Gaillard, is for the ladies:

Picture of the perfect man –

Did you really think there was one?


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