James 'JP' Smock

The Black Bear Road

When I was 5 years old, I was scheduled to go into the hospital to have my eye operated on. Before I went into the hospital, Dad and Uncle Marion decided to take me on a fishing trip to help get my mind off of the upcoming surgery. In his younger days, Dad was one of those guys that would fish darn near anywhere and Uncle Marion was even worse than Dad. The only places that they didn’t like to fish were where they might accidentally encounter another human being.

Uncle Marion had a secret fishing spot deep in the national forest just east of New Waverly. I seem to remember the lake was named Hoffstetter or something like that. It probably has a golf course and subdivision surrounding it by now, but in those days, it was pretty much free of human inhabitants. We started out in Uncle Marion’s pickup truck after Dad got off work on a Friday evening and reached the logging road that led to the lake right at dusk. We slowly made our way to the lake with lots of stops to remove fallen trees and to smooth out the ruts that were too deep for the truck. While we were traveling down the logging road, Dad and Uncle Marion had a long conversation about the black bears that inhabited the thick woods that we were traveling through. We were all kind of disappointed that we didn’t see any, but Uncle Marion assured us that there would be some hanging around the lake. By the time we reached the lake, it was after 10 pm and we were all tired. …

What A Character!

Over my 50 some odd years on this earth, I’ve met a lot of people. Plain vanilla people are fine, but in my adult life, I’ve always been fascinated by people who are different, people who might be labeled as strange, weird, eccentric, or people that just plain march to a different drummer. We sometimes refer to these type of people as characters. My dictionary lists the following as one of the many definitions of character;

…a person of a specified kind (usually with many eccentricities); “a real character”

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