Monday, June 30, 2008

Slim Fishin's

Saturday was a fishing day. I went down to my "spot", the last time before my yearly fishing license expires (tonite at midnite, snif).

The days around my house had been fairly calm, in the mornings at least; a respite from the howling gusts of the past couple of months, and so I decided that I was going fishing. Saturday, I rose at nearly 5 a.m., only to fall back asleep till just before 6:30. Dang! I hurried down the road, slid to a stop and double-timed it over the levee and down to the water. Even then, the wind had begun to come up and riffle the surface of the water. Double Dang.

As I waded around the flat, the wind continued to build, yet I noticed that several people were up in the Northwest corner, right where I wanted to be. I didn't see them catching anything; I didn't see them doing much of anything. I wondered if they were perhaps crabbing. There was only one of the group of four that were there was moving around like he was actually fishing.

The entire foray netted me only three undersized flounder, one of which was a mere quarter inch short of the 14 inch minimum limit. But I can't bring myself to haul a short, illegal fish and explain to my daughters why I broke the game laws just to have a fish. So they all walked. So to speak.

Still, it was beautiful, even though the fishing success was less than resounding.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


This is not an editorial on the price of the stuff that makes our cars go. This is about gasoline specifically, the actual substance, and another power that it fuels.

This evening when I came home, I knew of the chore that awaited me. My wife’s chariot, the Grand Caravan, was in need (again) of new disc brakes. Not a particularly difficult job, since I have gotten so much practice with this machine and its penchant for eating brake pads.

I went to Auto Zona and obtained the needed supplies. I then came back, knocked on my best neighbor’s door and asked him if I could use his mechanic’s tools to do my brakes. Since I help him whenever I can and mostly since he’s an old school-type guy, he said, “Of course,” and proceeded out to gather the tools while I replaced his silver Grand Caravan with ours in his driveway.

It wasn’t long before I had made the swap with the disc brake pads and even one of the rotors, and began cleaning up. This is where ol’ Larry picked up one of his red shop rags, opened the hood of Black Beauty (his riding lawn mower that I mow our yards with) and dipped a corner in the gas tank for a good old-fashioned instant hand cleaner. At first there was a slight catch in my brain about using such a precious and dangerous commodity for cutting the stubborn brake dust from my hands. Immediately, the smell of gasoline permeated the garage as we stood around and talked, me wiping my hands of as much of the solid black dust as I could.

We hung out at his truck and spoke of many things that geezers talk about, actually for longer than it took me to change out the brakes.

When we finally adjourned to our respective dens, I was fairly hungry, since it was about eight o’clock by that time. I washed my hands about five times, each time removing a small amount more of the black brake soot that accentuated every line on my fingers and framed every fingernail with a near-indelible line of ebony. I would have made a fine engraving or pen drawing. Even now, as I type on this satin-smooth aluminum computer keyboard, I can see that I will be wearing the evidence for several days to come.

I ate my spaghetti, aware of the faint but unmistakable odor of “Eau De Refinery” emanating from my fingers. As I ate my peach for dessert, slurping and juggling the slippery globe, I even got a closer encounter with the 87 octane cologne I wore on my hands.

The smell was a comfort, though. The peach brought back many summer days, enjoying my favorite fruit in the shade of a mimosa tree in GranMommy’s back yard.

The petrol scent was what caught me, though. It immediately transported me back to GranDaddy’s garage, the cool, dark cavern that smelled of gasoline, dirt, grease and old wood. On a hot day, I often retreated into the relative cool of the garage to explore what he had in there. The usual things, the broken hammer, the small vise, the coffee cans full of bolts, screws, nails and whatnots. There was an old outboard motor clamped to the end of the workbench. In under the shelves, the ancient pickle crocks were nested. And at any time, there was a good chance that one of the local feline tramps had dropped her latest litter of kittens in there. Maybe I’d find an old, interesting relic from his days as the owner of a car dealership. Or an ancient fishing reel. It was possible.

Whether I found anything of interest or not, I was always satisfied to go in there to spend a few minutes or an hour. I was never disappointed.

All of that from some gas on my fingers. In much less time than it takes to read it. The nose and the brain are a fantastic team.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Appetite of Youth

Today at lunch, I was a witness to something I had only heard allusions to on Whataburger commercials.

The young fella that's an intern here, a big strapping former offensive lineman, actually ate a triple-meat with bacon Whataburger, along with a bucket of fries and a big coke.

The older guys present, of which I am chronologically the eldest, were aghast at the thought of putting that much meat into one's stomach.

In my day, three patties was virtually un-thought-of. Double meat was the epitome of gluttony, and that's pretty much the standard of consumption for me way back in the 70's and 80's. The idea of putting on another quarter-pound of beef and three slices of bacon hadn't crossed anyone's minds yet. I wouldn't think. I "usta-could" eat a double meat cheeseburger, and did on many, many (many,many) occasions, but that was when I did something besides sit on my backside and click a mouse for 9 hours a day.

I checked in with him a little later in the afternoon to see how he was faring after his gastronomical gut-bomb. He affirmed that he was doing pretty well, although, he did admit that an hour or so earlier, he had a patty on each eyelid, pulling them toward the ground floor.

Those days are gone for me, however. One patty, one burger, a tomato slice, pickle, ketchup, cheese and mayo, on a good day. But that's only maintenance. If I actually DID anything, I'd probably take up less real estate.

Oh, well, that's a big "IF".

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Words DO Kinda Rhyme…

One night after a particularly spicy dinner, I found that I needed some help in the stomach acid department, as in a reduction thereof. I went to the medicine cabinet in the kitchen and began to rummage through the products kept there.

My middle gal was playing with the dog in the kitchen and saw me fumbling with the package of acid reducer tablets. They were housed in the nearly impenetrable blister pack; solid Plexiglas to view the tablet, the back encased in plastic covered by sixteen gauge stainless steel, and all of it as slick as possum gravy.

My ever-helpful lass noticed my struggle and asked what I was getting. “Heartburn medicine…” was my reply.

“Didn’t Mom do that earlier?”


“Never mind, I’ll get it for you…”

“Thanks!” I replied, drying my hands off.

I turned away for a second and when I turned back around, I saw my dear, sweet daughter about to feed my acid reducer to the dog! As a matter of fact, the little pink tongue of our Pomeranian was unfurling in slow motion to accept the treat from her beloved master.

A fraction of a second before the pup’s tongue touched my over-the-counter medication; I snatched it from my girl’s fingers.

“What are you!?...That’s my medicine!”

She burst out laughing, nearly uncontrollably, and I couldn’t help but join her, tentatively.

When she gained a measure of composure, she managed to choke out haltingly, “I thought you said ‘heartworm medicine’!”

Well, that was just it. We all laughed and laughed, and her cryptic statement from earlier about Mom blah blah blah made perfect sense.

So dear readers, please enunciate very, very clearly anytime the words “burn” and “worm” are used. You may get something you don’t want.

Or your dog might.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Helpful Link

This is the link to a handy site for checking your local beach for dangerous bacteria levels.

Click on the "Interactive Map Tool" for a view of the Texas Coastline (typed lefty while standing, facing East, with my right hand over my heart) and your favorite beach.

Hit this before you hit the beach. You are able to search by county and then by beach using the "Beachwatch Search" feature on the right side of the page. Shown here >

This is just one more reason to sort of rely on the GeezerChron.

I just need a link to find out if there is a jellyfish, man-o-war or shark report in force. I'll look.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Best of Friday

My apologies for the dearth of postings, all you regulars (the three of you) are aware of why the postings have been so sparse. There has been found a remedy, albeit temporary, but a solution it is. I have Cactus to thank for it.

Thanks Cactus!

OK, so back to telling you how phenomenal last Friday was. At 0600, I arrived at my parents’ house to disembark on a fishing expedition with the elder Mr. Soderberg; my Dad.

We headed to the private lake (I REALLY can’t tell anybody else where it is, he blindfolded me at a crossroad as a security measure) where he reported in the neighborhood of 20 fish being caught last Monday. This lake is loaded with black bass.

The twisting, turning, convoluted double footpath on the other side of the locked gate ran us deep into the tallow and hackberry forest, with glimpses of lake and partial lake meadows in between. We finally arrived at the corner of a man-made lake with glassy water and some miniature islands, grasses and hydrilla along a channel not three feet deep. But the water was clear and in good shape.

We started out with worm fishing (Dad) and spinnerbait (me). He drew first blood, and while it’s nice to watch your dear old Dad catching fish and laughing, there is only so much you can stand while not duplicating the activities. After about three of the joyous outbursts, I had endured just about enough and abandoned the spinnerbait.

A Cocahoe minnow was my weapon of choice, red with a white tail. On the first cast, I hooked up with a small bass, and that was the way the day ran for several hours. The quarry ranged from about a pound-and-a-half to a beast that was over five pounds. Well, it was five pounds on Friday, but today I think it had grown to nearly six, and I am not sure how much she will weigh next week. I anticipate the growth to be a geometric progression. It was, in fact, the biggest black bass I had ever caught; just look at the unretouched telephone photo and where it comes on me. Good sized fish, brothers and sisters.

My Dad caught one nearly as big (operative word “nearly”) a little later, and you can see the scale in the next photo. The sizes ranged from my thirty-seven pounder and my Dad’s four-and-a-half pounder down to two pounds and the one to one-and-a-half pounders. All were athletic and well-marked, healthy and sparkly green.

As the morning progressed, the action eased up a bit, and we tried some different lures. The sun rose a little more over the trees, and a slight breeze came up. The cicadas began their raspy chainsaw chorus in the trees, immediately raising the temperature just by virtue of the relentless sound.

Changing to topwater seemed to be the strategy of the moment, so thus armed, we attacked the water with a renewed vigor. The first cast of the big treble-hooked topwater lure yielded the big fish that I so proudly display above. This continued for a time, and as expected, that action slowed as it inevitably does.

That indicated a change back to “the worm strategy”. My Dad used a Texas rig and I, dedicated as I am to saltwater soft plastics, used a sand eel in a pumpkinseed color with a yellow tail on an eighth-ounce jig head.

We both noticed an increasing number of tiger striped dragonfly couples darting up and down across the surface of the lake, and the bass of all sizes were cartwheeling after the (apparently) tasty insects. As a matter of fact, one of the fish I caught still had a half-swallowed pair of dragonflies in his throat, alongside my sand eel and hook.

The sand eel served me well, even up until a particularly savage strike removed half of the brave lure. The body was roughened by the rasp-like teeth of the bass and was barely recognizable. As a side-note, my left thumb was beginning to look the same. After removing the hook from the bass’ mouth, I decided to throw the truncated plastic bait a couple more times. To my surprise, the hungry largemouths kept relentlessly attacked my offering, until which time I retired it to my pocket, to show as a trophy.

The breeze kept blowing, the fish kept hitting and the sun began to beat down with a purpose and by eleven, I was beginning to show signs of wear. At one point, I sat down at the bank and cast to the grass across the channel. Sure enough, a fish hit the lure and I had to stand up to bring him in. That was when, jokingly, I exclaimed, “I’m just BORED!” with my hands on my hips, looking down on the fish with feigned disgust. My dad replied with a hearty laugh.

Shortly thereafter, HE caught another one, and then HE exclaimed, “Now I’m bored, TOO!”

My thirst began to build, and staring into the clear water, I nearly tempted myself into flopping into the lake to take a long drink. Of course, the proximity of the old landfill was also in my mind (the reason we didn’t keep the fish) and wondering what dangerous lead/mercury/arsenic/cocktail had maybe leached out into the water was deterrent enough.

Along about then, my Dad proffered a suggestion that whenever I was ready, we could go. I countered by asking him if he were anywhere near ready. After a couple of hems and haws by both of us, we finally admitted that we were just TIRED OF CATCHING BASS!

That’s a hard statement to make, that’s why it took another couple of casts to convince ourselves that we were still Texans.

On the drive out, we reveled in time spent together, the smell of fish slime, and the scars borne by our shredded thumbs.

SO much better than a good day working, I can’t even fully express!

Stay Tuned!

Yes, there is a good one (a purely objective opinion) is on the way!

Keep checking back!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Wordy Guy IX

After a couple of months to think of new brain twisters, Wordy Guy is back with Number 9 in the series.

Brush the dust off your Latin; here comes

Ipso Facto

A) A Latin term meaning “an established fact.”

B) A Latin term meaning “as an inevitable result.”

C) A legal term meaning “established by law.”

This one's tough if you know "just enough Latin to be dangerous". Take care my fiends!

The answer is
Although Cactus was the first, our lupine friend from way out West, Wollf, was the first correct answer. If you look at his comment, it is evident that he has some experience with Latin as a language.

Congratulations, Mr. Wollf, you now have bragging rights for Wordy Guy IX!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Wine & Cheeze Whiz

My youngest gal and I were traveling through the upscale village of Friendswood last Friday, and happened to stop at a Shell Stop and Rob store for a Dr Pepper. This particular store is only a few hundred yards from an elementary school, and is on the right side on the approach to the beginnings of neighborhoods.

As we pulled up to the curb and got out, I noticed through the glass door a wine rack filled with long, slender bottles. A big fluorescent splat hung off of the left side shouting “$9.99.”

I commented to my daughter, “Hmm, I wonder if they sell a lot of wine here…” We headed back to the coolers at the back, and to my surprise was another section of wines, with prices up to about $15 a bottle. And there were some in the cooler already, too!
I thought it strange to have wine above the “Ripple” level in a convenience store, and a pretty good variety, it looked like.

On arriving at the counter to check out, a little Chinese man popped up and asked if we found everything OK. I said yes, and as he scanned our chosen soft drinks, my little reporter asked him, “So do you sell much wine here?”

At first he didn’t seem to hear, so I repeated her question.

“Oh, yes, yes, we sell a lot of wine, yes!”
“Do you sell a lot to the elementary school students?” I asked.
“Huh? Oh, no, no, ha ha!”
“Mostly the teachers, I’ll bet, right?”
“Ha ha, oh yes, ha ha, no, ha ha!”

Driving away, I thought it odd that in the same place, you could buy your $15 bottle of wine, a bag of pork rinds and a jar of Cheeze Whiz. The trailer park version of the wine and cheese tasting party.