Palestine, Texas

“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and onl\\ne how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.” – Carl Sandburg

Palestine is the county seat of Anderson county in Texas with a population just under 19,000. It is also the western terminus of the Texas State Railroad. It was established as a trading post in 1843 and in 1846 became the county seat.

The Gallery at Redlands

Next week I will travel to Palestine, Texas to be a part of the grand opening of The Gallery at Redlands. My friend David Tripp, who I have known since the second grade, and Sandra Jones are the new owners of the gallery.

In 2017 Wade and Gail Thomas opened the gallery and asked David Tripp to be the featured artist. This year they gave David and Sandra the opportunity to become the new owners of The Gallery at Redlands and they jumped on it. David has the vision of a gallery rooted in diversity. The Twelve was born. A group of featured artists representing water color, oil, acrylic on canvas work, pastel art, photography, pottery and sculpture. The featured artists are:

  • Cecillia Branham
  • Paula Cadle
  • Stacy Campbell
  • Deanna Pickett Frye
  • Grace Hessman
  • Mark Hyde
  • Elaine Cash Jary
  • Candice Lord
  • Lorraine McFarland
  • Tommy Thompson
  • Ian Watson
  • Doyle White (me)

The reception will be March 20, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., at the Redlands Hotel, Suite 109, 400 N Queen St., Palestine, Texas. There will be door prizes and refreshments will be served. Come out and meet Wade and Gail Thomas, David Tripp and Sandra Jones and The Twelve.

I am excited to be included within this group of elite artists. David has assembled a very diverse group of artists who make up The Twelve and I tip my hat to him and Sandi for all the hours and hard work they have put into preparing the gallery for the grand opening. I am grateful to Wade and Gail Thomas. David Tripp and Sandra S Jones for this fantastic opportunity. I thank you.

David Tripp Art Collections 54 -www.davidtrippart.com

Recollections 54 The Art of David Tripp – http://www.davidtripp.wordpress.com

The Lure of Fly-Fishing

My friend since second grade and fishing buddy David Tripp

“More than half the intense enjoyment of fly-fishing is derived from the beautiful surroundings, the satisfaction felt from being in the open air, the new lease of life secured thereby, and the many, many pleasant recollections of all one has seen, heard and done.” – Charles F. Orvis

Imagine if you will standing beside a clear, fast moving stream listening to the music of the water dancing over and around the rocks and through shallows as it flows downstream. You scan the water looking for feeding fish and the perfect place to cast your fly in hopes to catch that elusive lunker. You step into the water your eyes drinking in the beauty that surrounds you. The rays of the morning sun feel warm upon your face and a heron floats past you on its journey downstream. The fast moving water rushes past your legs and you deliver your first cast of the morning. Your eyes focus intently upon the brightly colored fly line as it floats downstream, watching for a signal that a fish has taken your fly.

Nature’s presence can be felt all around you and it fills your heart with joy and excitement. The feeling seeps into your inner being and you are overwhelmed with the joy of being alive. It’s at that moment you realize you aren’t there for the fish. You are there for you to become one with Mother Nature and to embrace the healing powers She has to offer. It is always available to us but our minds and heart have to be in the right place to take full advantage of these benefits. Our minds have to be free of societal pollution and we have to believe in our hearts and know in our minds that it is real and attainable. That my friend is why I pursue fly-fishing.

Return to Fly Fishing

First Catch on New Orvis


“Even a blind hog will find an acorn once in awhile.” Unknown

I destroyed my right foot over 40 years ago and the doctor put it back together the best he could. When I walked, there was a considerable amount of pain and it steadily got worse. I was forced to abandon fly fishing around 1990 because of the pain.

I bought my first fly fishing set up in 1976. I was hooked, no pun intended. I was devastated when I walked away from it.

In 2020 I met doctor Sloan who said he could fix it and I eagerly agreed on the surgery. I had a chance to pursue fly fishing again.

I bought a new Orvis Encounter combo. As soon as the doctor gave me the green light, because it was winter, I headed to a near by lake. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t land that first fish.

Yesterday I tried another area lake but the fish Gods weren’t in my favor. Since I’m not a quitter I returned today bound and determined to get that first fish.

The day started out a little better. I got some strikes and hung two but didn’t get them in. I guess I wasn’t holding my mouth right.

Then it happened. I had one on. I got it in and got a picture. It was official! I began doing “Snoopy Dog” dances all around the lake, yes even though it was no Moby Dick. I can tell you one thing. A 66 year old fat man doing “Snoopy Dog” dances is not a pretty sight. The word “repulsive” comes to mind.

All in all it was a good day. The “no fish” curse had been broken! I gained confidence and everything was grand in Wayne’s World.

Sacred Space

“Your sacred space is where you can find yourself over and over again.” – Joseph Campbell

I really never understood my overpowering compassion for the river until one day I came across this quote. I read it and the lightbulb in my head went off.

The river is my sacred space, or safe place, where I am free of societal pollution. Once I am in the presence of the river I am free to think with my mind, heart, body and soul. I have the ability to examine my own own beliefs and thoughts in great depth and to understand why I believe the way I do. I reach an understanding of who I really am and who I want to be. The revelation of what I want to accomplish in life and most importantly why becomes apparent. In this place I find a me that I can respect and love. If we can’t love ourselves what’s the point of loving at all?

With all the animosity in the world it is easy to plunge ourselves into the pit of depression which robs us of peace and happiness.

Seek your sacred space, find it and visit it frequently. The real you will soon become visible.

Gone But Not Forgotte

My best friend and me.

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” – Josh Billings

On January 1, 2011 a wonderful Australian Shepherd was born. Little did I know how much she would change my life and bring so much joy to me. She unfortunately had a rough start in life. She was plagued with crystals in her urine that caused immense pain and at a year old she would have hip dysplasia surgery.

After surgery.

She was comfortable on the couch so this would be her hospital bed. I slept on the floor beside her until she was able to get on and off the couch by herself. She would try to chew her stitches and I refused to force her to wear the cursed collar so I improvised.

She adapted well to the shorts.

I was a farrier and Kate became my ride dog. We were together everyday and became quite inseparable. She loved going with me and took her job at riding shotgun very seriously.

Kate riding shotgun.
Kate with me on the job.

Kate was very well behaved and loved to take walks.

I think she is trying to tell me something.

I have never owned a dog as loving as Kate. She had to constantly be by my side and if she wasn’t she kept an eye on me to make sure I didn’t slip off without her.

My constant companion.
In the Christmas spirit.

I have had several dogs over the course of 60 plus years but none of them touched me like Kate did. I was her human. She was a great listener and after a rough day she always managed to make me smile and lift my spirits.

Then the fateful day of a vet visit, x-rays showed her lungs were filled with tumors and there was no cure. I was devastated and my whole world came falling down around me. I couldn’t imagine my life without her in it. She was my everything and more. I know there are those of you rolling your eyes and saying she is just a dog and to you I say you have never recognized nor appreciated the unconditional love of a dog. She was family. She filled me with joy and happiness.

Kate the puppy.
Her last day riding shotgun.

On Friday morning (Jan 24, 2020) I had to go into town. That morning she clung to me more than usual. When I opened the door she almost knocked me down to get to the truck. She was going with me come hell or high water. I had to help her into the truck and when we returned I had to help her out.

I had an appointment on Tuesday to have her euthanized to end her suffering. Little did I know but I think Kate did, that that would be her last ride and our last day together. We spent that day together and I cooked her a porterhouse steak for dinner. It was a good day.

She awoke me in the wee hours of Saturday morning, Jan 25 gasping for air. What happened then was down right ugly and heartbreaking. She fought hard and I felt so helpless. At 1:26 a.m. her fight was over. I had lost my best friend. At least her suffering was over.

Kate on her last day with me. RIP

Many won’t understand the devastation of losing a dog because they have not really understood the unconditional love they possess. The loss of Kate left a huge hole in my heart. I still come home looking for her to greet me. I am pretty much a loner by choice and I very rarely get lonely and when I do it is because of the void she left in my life. I will never forget her and the joy she brought me.

Meddlin’ Kate Jan 1, 2011 – Jan 25, 2020

Remembering a Childhood Friend

Some people come into our lives and leave footprints on our hearts and we are never, ever the same.” – Unkown


My maternal grandparents owned a farm in Patton, MO when I was a young un. My grandpa farmed, raised sheep and had some dairy cows.

Across the holler from him lived a brother and sister by the name of Bob and Bert Hinson. Now Bob was a colorful ole gentleman. It was said he made some of the best moonshine that ever crossed your lips. I never grew tired of his stories and he never hesitated to entertain me.

On a ridge that overlooked his farm was a large grove of pines. Bob loved to sit in the middle of the grove, roll him a smoke and listen to the singing of the wind as it swirled through the pines.

I remember during one of my visits Bob asked me if I would like to join him in a visit to the ridge among the pines.

We made our way across the pasture and started our climb to the top of the ridge. Even though he was in his 70s you couldn’t tell it. He climbed the steep ridge with ease.

Once we reached the top we made our way to the center. The sound of the wind singing in the grove filled me with peace. Bob sat in his usual place on a fallen tree in the grove. Once settled in he pulled a rolling paper from his shirt pocket and a can of Prince Albert and filled it with his tobacco of choice.

He opened the Prince Albert can and carefully poured the tobacco into the paper and rolled him a smoke. He lit it and took a long drag. We sat there not speaking a word. We just sat there drinking in our surroundings and the symphony being played by the wind upon the pines. There was a great calm and life was good.

Bob finally took his last drag on his smoke and carefully put it out. He turned to me and said remember this boy, when you are one with nature you have everything you need to enjoy life. He then arose from his perch and we headed back to the house.

That was my last visit with my friend. He passed away shortly thereafter in his sleep. I often wonder what was on his mind that day. Did he know that his visit on earth was coming to a close? I am forever honored that he shared that time in the grove with me on that day. As far as I know that was his last visit to the pine grove. RIP my friend. You are still in my heart.

Winter Kayaking

There are a few of us diehards who refuse to put our kayaks away for the winter. Yeah we have been called crazy but it r3ealoy isn’t that bad. The water is crystal clear and you pretty much have the river to yourself. I cannot stress enough that you have to be prepared for anything that might happen.

I did this particular float about 6 or 7 years ago. I broke rule number one, I went by myself. It wasn’t very smart on my part and I am not very proud of myself. I was on the Bourbeuse River in Missouri. The river had flooded and the temps plummeted below freezing and ice had formed. As the water level dropped the ice had remained creating some beautiful sights.

Ice shelves left behind by falling water levels

The water was crystal clear and the beaver were active along with a few otters. In 3 miles I didn’t see another person.

Proper preparation can be the difference between life and death.

Rule number one: DON’T be a Wayne. Never go alone. ALWAYS take a buddy along with you. If you end up in the water it doesn’t take hypothermia long to set in and you need to get dry and warm ASAP! As you are getting out of your wet clothes they can be starting a fire to help the warming process.

Rule number two: Pack dry clothes in a good dry bag along with an emergency blanket. Don’t forget socks, underwear, gloves and boots.

Rule number three: Fill a dry bag with fire starting materials i.e. matches, lighter, good tinder. Make sure you are well versed in starting fire under any conditions.

Rule number four: Pack a first aid kit and signaling device.

Rule number five: ALWAYS tell someone where you are going and what time you plan on returning. If you change your plans make sure they know.

Kayaking can be very rewarding in the winter months as long as you observe the rules, use caution ,and DO NOT take chances. Dress warm. You can always take off layers and place them in an extra dry bag. Winter is one of my favorite times of the year to kayak.

Released At Last

2 weeks after surgery

Today was my last visit to the doctor’s office. My surgery was on October 7. It seems to be a success. No pain except for the healing pains.

The purpose of this blog is to share my experience with my complete ankle replacement so those having the same surgery could know what to expect.

I have to admit the first 3 days after surgery was tough. I had never been in this much pain. What had I done? Am I crazy?

Finally the pain began to subside. It was at least bearable. The crutches were a nuisance. Everything I did was a chore. Nothing was easy.

When he moved me up to the walking boot life was grand. I could do a lot more. I was even graining the horses. I did some trout fishing. The day after Christmas I graduated to a regular shoe.

This presented some problems. I was having to deal with a lot of swelling. Now I had to figure out how to get my foot in the shoe. Another problem was I was unable to use those muscles for 12 weeks and they were very weak. That made it hard to walk.

I take it day by day. There is improvement every day. It could take 8 months to a year to completely heal.

Would I do it again knowing what I know now? Absolutely! The benefits outweigh the tough times after surgery.

I hope this helps those who are considering going through the surgery. it’s a tough decision. I am glad I chose surgery.

Nature Is Calling Me

Camp

Why do I love nature so much? I am going to do my best to put into words why. I wish I was a better writer so you could maybe experience the passion I have for nature. Well here we go. The following is about a night on the river back in September.

I arrived at the river just as the sun peeked over the eastern ridge shedding its light on the colorful hues of autumn. The leaves glistened with the reflection of the sun’s light upon the orange, red and yellow hues scattered around the hillside. A beautiful sight to behold. It gave my heart joy to see Mother Nature’s paintings before my eyes.

I busy myself preparing my kayak for my river excursion. As I slid my yak into the water I caught a glimpse of movement to my right. I turned my full attention to what had captured my eye. It was a momma racoon with 4 of her offspring. One in particular had taken a deep interest in what I was doing. Slowly it began to inch its way in my direction to get a closer look. As it inched closer momma became agitated and positioned herself between me and her offspring. She began chattering loudly as if she were scolding the young one. After a couple of minutes she began steering her clan away from me. They moved down the bank of the river then disappeared over the rise.

I began my trek up river to the place I would make camp for the night. I had camped here many times before. It had a clear western view where I could watch the sun set. The area was well protected from any artificial light pollution giving me a clear view of the night sky.

Beaver pic from a another day on the river

As I rounded a bend in the river I noticed a beaver standing in the river near the bank watching me with great curiosity. Suddenly it disappeared under the water. It surfaced about 20 yards from me and slapped its tail on the surface of the water warning the others that there was an intruder in their territory.

It was a beautiful day to be on the river. It was a week day so I pretty much had the river to myself. Temps were in the 60s with a slight southerly wind. Movement ahead of me. About 50 yards up river 4 deer were making their way across a shallow part of the river. They were moving with purpose and soon disappeared into the woods on the other side.

Smallmouth bass

I was making good time so I decided to do a little fishing. For about an hour and a half the fish bit good and all of a sudden they seemed to get lockjaw. Fortunately I had enough action to be able to relive the battles sitting in front of the campfire.

Hawk

I made it to my campsite around 4:30 p.m. As I pulled my yak up on the gravel bar a hawk soared overhead. I went to work setting up camp and gathered some firewood for the night. With camp set I threw a couple of lines into the water in hopes that I would catch supper. Unfortunately it didn’t happen but I had brought along some Mountain House freeze dried beef stew. I filtered some water from the river then got the fire started. I brought the water to a rolling boil for about 4 minutes then poured it into the stew pouch. In ten minutes supper would be served. For a MRE it was quite tasty.

This is my favorite part of camping. Sitting in front of the fire watching the flames dancing within the fire is so relaxing. In the background I can hear the music of the insects and Mother Nature’s night creatures. It is so peaceful sitting there alone listening to the river critters going about their business searching for food. A star falls from the sky. Then another and another. Then it ends as abruptly as it began. Now I am ready for sleep.

It’s hard for me to put into words the peace I feel within me. My friend Gary Fultz I am sure knows the feeling I am talking about. He too has a great respect for Nature and Mother Earth. My spirit seems to float to the heavens. I feel no sadness or anxiety. My soul is cleansed by the tranquility surrounding me. I feel so alive and all my senses are intensified causing me to be more appreciable of my surroundings and what is in my heart. Reading back I am disappointed. I didn’t do a very good job of putting what I feel into words. The best way for you to understand is to just go camping.

Big River