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Claude Washer Caldwell Parish Louisiana    April 5, 2010

I first met Claude Washer when I was knee high to a grasshopper at one of our first fish fries in the 1950s at our Old Sawmill Pond in Clarks Louisiana. Claude was a Caldwell Parish Deputy Sherriff and the town Marshall of Clarks and he always reminded me of Andy Griffith of Mayberry RFD. I reminded me of Opey. I remember that Claude always wore the police uniform with the large tin star. He liked to chew Red Man and was often seen with tobacco juice stains in his grey whiskers. Claude and his lovely wife Mamie owned an ESSO store out in the woods on Louisiana Highway 4, just before the Seven Runs of Caster Creek, near Chatom Louisiana. In the 1960s we joined the Seven Runs Hunting club and built a small camp in Claude's back yard. When we were not in the woods hunting, I would sit in their living room and watch LSU Football or the young and beautiful Dolly Parton on the Porter Wagoner Show. Claude's daughter was married to Tom Wagoner who lived across the highway. For years and years the Wagoner's, the Washer's, and the Whitlow's were best of friends.

One of my favorite stories about Claude involved the accidental pig killing by my Uncle Duke Andrepont and Uncle Guy Severs. Back in those days Louisiana had a stock at large law which meant everyone could keep their cows, pigs, and other livestock at no cost on any timberland in the state. If you ran over any cow or pig, then you paid for it if they caught you. I remember seeing wooden pig trap cages all over the woods as well as the large hogs with the tusks. If you hemmed up a momma pig with babies, then you were in a heap of trouble. Daddy warned us to just back up and not turn and run or the pig would chase you. Today these left over hogs make up the wild hog hunting population of the State.

For some strange reason Uncle Guy decided that one of Claude's pigs would look real nice on the camp kitchen table with an apple in his mouth. Uncle Guy unloaded his twice barrel 12 gauge shooting up gun on the pig and the pig ran up beside Louisiana Highway 4 and died a few feet just inside a thicket. Uncle Duke heard all of the shooting and swore that Uncle Guy had killed a 12 point. When Duke found Guy standing over one of Claude Washer's prize pigs, he had a hissy fit. We were camped in Claude's back yard and hunting on Claude's land. When Daddy learned the news he also had a hissy fit and made them wait until after dark to go into the woods, bring the pig out, and dress it behind the camp. Daddy was a Monroe Louisiana cop and this would ruin his reputation.

They worked out a plot for Guy and Duke to walk out into the woods with a carbide head light, find the pig, and bring it out to the highway. Daddy stood in the edge of the highway with a cow horn that he blew to call up lost deer hunting dogs. Daddy was supposed to blow the truck horn if he saw any vehicles coming down the road. Claude was out on patrol in his sheriff car and noticed the carbide light shining through the woods. Claude turned off his head lights and snuck up on Daddy standing beside his truck blowing the cow horn. Daddy forgot to blow the truck horn.

Luckily Duke and Guy had turned off the carbide light when they found the pig. They were dragging the pig back out to the highway when they noticed a car parked beside Daddy's truck. Slowly they realized the car had a red-light on the roof and they could make out Claude Washer sitting in the police car talking to Daddy. They laid down in the ditch about 15 feet behind the police car. All of a sudden Claude opened the door and walked behind the car and took a leak. He peed on his prize pig and never noticed it in the dark.

The next night in Claude's back yard, we had a Pig Roast Cochon De Lait with an apple in the mouth of Claude's prize pig. Daddy never admitted that we served Claude's pig. He said that he purchased the pig from a local butcher shop. Claude thought the pig tasted exceptionally well.

Another Wild Hog Story:

Back when I was 12 years old, Ricky Claunch rode behind me on my Paint horse Dolly to go deer hunting on the pipeline that crossed Caster Creek. This was a very brave event for both of us since Dolly was known to step on my feet when I saddled her up and she often drug me off her back under clothes lines and vines in the woods. She never got lost and I would always find her at the barn waiting to be fed. I was not so lucky- I always got lost after she threw me. Usually the barrel of my Winchester 30-30 would end up stuck in the mud barrel first. One day my little brother Ricky shot a shootem up 12 gauge with a barrel full of mud and the barrel blew up and nearly blinded him. The barrel looked like a worn out mattress spring. He sawed off the barrel and still has the gun.

For some reason back on that cold rainy December day on Caster creek, Dolly did not throw us off. I put Ricky Claunch on one side of the creek and I rode Dolly across the creek and on down the pipeline about 100 yards away. I tied Dolly to a tree beside the pipeline and sat down on a cypress stump. A few minutes later the pack of Walker Hunting dogs jumped what turned out to be a wild woods hog with a mess of babies. I saw the hog cross the pipeline and heard Ricky shoot.

I jumped on Dolly and we galloped down the pipeline across the creek where we saw Ricky standing pointing his gun into the thicket. Pretty soon the dogs started baying the pig. Ricky grabbed his Bowie Knife and ran into the thicket to cut the pigs throat. The next thing I knew Ricky came screaming sprinting across the pipeline yelling, and in hot pursuit was the pigs, followed by the Walker Dogs all squealing, barking and yelping up a storm. Ricky was yelling "Shoot this Thing!!  Woah! Shoot this Thing!!! Hep! Shoot this Thing!!! "

I said, "I can't, I might hit you or one of the dogs."

"Shoot this Thing!!  Woah! Shoot this Thing!!! Hep! Shoot this Thing!!! "

I said, "I can't, I might hit you or one of the dogs."

"Shoot any way- One of us has to get some relief !!! "

Sounds similar to some Jerry Clower Stories.

 

It ain't over until the fat cat sings

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