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Stories that will make you laugh and cry- from Uncle George- an old hippie

Friday Night Fights, Family, and Deer Camps



I have thought about writing a book from the old high school football officiating memories from my Daddyís generation just after World War 2.  I think it was just special to be alive back then. It was soon after the war and I think men were looking for something to replace the brotherhood they missed from the service friends. Letís face it, television had just been invented, there were usually just 2 stations available and both of those went off the air at 10 PM with the sound of the National Anthem.


People depended on each other for communications and entertainment. The family belonged to a lot of these groups, like the deer hunting club, little league baseball, fishing camping trips to Clear Lake, and football officiating. Then you had your neighborhood card games playing rook and penny anti poker.


The closest I had of neighborhood associations was the week after Hurricane Andrew invaded Baton Rouge. The lights went out for a week. Deer, fish, and ducks were rotting in the fridge. You were invited to a barbecue on nearly every house in the neighborhood where we lived near Independence Park. I had lived on Linda Ave for 10 years and met people that week that I never knew existed. It was great fun and great to be alive. I had some really good gumbo form the Cajuns on the street. The party lasted a week until the front porch light came on. I havenít seen the neighbors since. They went back to the television sets, the video games, and the chat rooms. It is sad how this nation has developed. We sit and chat with people from foreign countries and canít walk across the street to say hello to a neighbor.


 I have very good memories from my basic training and early Air Force Career. I have often tried to look up some of my old friends with no luck at all. I had one in particular from your neck of the woods, a Rick Tender from somewhere in West by God Virginia. One of his legs was shorter than the other from running the ridges.


I remember the Friday night fights and all of the football games where Daddy refereed. The officiators met at Frenchyís cafť on Louisville for po-boys and pies to discuss game assignments and strategy before every Friday Night game. We traveled to distant far away places like Oak Grove, Winnsboro, and Holly Ridge.


I guess Frenchyís fell by the way of White Flight in Monroe. The best place I have found for po-boys is Coney Island Connection in West Monroe. I love it there. It is the only restaurant I have ever been where the clerk recognizes me and knows that I want roast beef po-boy, dressed with gravy, shoe string potatoes, and sweet tea. I honestly could live off that and nothing else.


Back during the Friday night fights, I usually was allowed to tag along form the age of about 9 to 15, when I started playing football myself. I remember all of the white pants and striped shirts, and the whistles. I still have my daddyís police whistle and officiating whistle. I can still blow them. I loved traveling with the officials, hearing their laughter, conversations, the football crowd, and the sound of the whistles blowing an end of the play. I can smell the hotdogs, popcorn, and peanuts, and the fresh cut grass, the mud, sweat, old dirty jock straps, and blood.


I refereed one or two Junior Varsity games in Fort Walton Beach/ Destin Florida when I was stationed out there at Egland AFB in 1080s . I think I have one of the stripped shirts somewhere packed up in a box in storage. Letís see, I weighed a whopping 180 then and now maybe 270, I doubt it would fit. To be honest I have never been very good at anything I ever did except maybe pitch a baseball when I was a kid or at this business I have of teaching smoke school. I am a fair story teller.


I was horrible at football officiating. I was too slow both mentally and physically. The last game I called, I called a clip on the defensive back. I thought both coaches and the other referees were going to lynch me. I left the field and never came back. The truth be known.


The other fond childhood memories I have were of the deer hunting clubs we belonged to at Glascock Island near Vidalia Louisiana on the Mississippi River up to age 12 and the Five Points club where five gravel roads met near Hickory Springs CCC camp between Hwy 126 and LA 4 hear Chatom Louisiana. Both were real camps where family friendships seemed like they would last a lifetime. We were up before daylight to the smell of bacon and eggs cooking. The chores- deer dogs to be fed and the convoy of pickups taking the standers out for the morning dog hunts. Mercy sakes, we god ourselves a convoy. I love to hear the sound of those walker dogs on the trail. It seems like it took the deer and dogs 3 minutes to cover from just out of hearing to your logging road. You had about 3 seconds to see the deer jumping 12 foot above the logging road, tell if it had horns, and squeeze the trigger. I must have missed a thousand deer a day back then. Uncle Hip would say, you canít eat the horns anyway.



I have tried deer hunting several times thorough recent years, and it is just not the same. I canít find a good club and I guess they do not exist anymore. If you know of any, let me know.

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