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Steel Shank

Favorite Memory From Childhood

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Posted (edited)

There are lots of memories, I can remember many early glimpses from my childhood, but one always seems to come back to me as a moment in my life that I wouldn't have the opportunity to experience more than a handful of times at best.

It's 1966 or 67, I'm about 4 or 5 I guess. It's winter, and we'd just had a big snowstorm (8-14"). To a little kid that's like an Arctic blizzard, and up to your waist deep.

I was staying at my cousins house, I was the baby, the youngest at the time, so I was still doted on a bit more than my older cousins.  The storm has passed, and it's a freezing,  but beautiful, crystal clear, blue bird sky day.  Everything is covered in a thick blanket of white: roads, houses, trees, cars.  We're outside, and I'm sitting on a Flexible Flyer sled (I think that sled was still in my cousins dads garage when he died a couple years ago).  To a kid that age/size it felt like there was 10' of snow.

My older cousin is pulling me on the sled, the sun is so brilliant reflecting off the snow, it's almost blinding. I have this memory of just being excited, and giddy to be outside in the snow, and having the time of my life. Nothing but the ride around the block on that sled mattered, because I was allowed to go with the older boys, it was so beautiful, and cold.  It was dreamlike, it was like being on a dog sled as my cousin ran down the road pulling me along, the cold slapping my face, my eyes hurting from the sun shining off of everything, and refracting like a kaleidoscope. To this day I still have that vivid memory of that moment tattooed in my head like no other moment in my life, and that includes my wedding day, and my kids being born.

 

Edited by Onboard 2.0

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Posted (edited)

Summers in the mid 1950s at my grandparents in a small (150 population) town in very rural NW Missouri, playing with my cousins,  riding around town on theIr Shetland ponies, shooting air rifles & .22s at any poor critter that we came across in the nearby woods & ponds, riding the homemade cart with steel wheels & a Model A steering wheel around inside the big auto repair garage that Grandpa owned (annoying his mechanic so much that he put pneumatic tires on it), peeking through the outhouse knotholes at the girls inside, shooting up unlimited free fireworks (Grandma sold them at her cafe) on July 4th, cherry bomb fights, watching Grandma decapitate chickens for dinner by whirling them around and cracking them like a whip, spending the day out at the family farm messing around and having a huge dinner at the end of the day. Going to the County fair with its hokey midway and rattletrap carnival rides, cotton candy, etc.  spending a week or so at Dad’s college friend’s ranch near Muldrow, Oklahoma, shooting frogs & turtles around his ponds, hunkering down in the root cellar several nights in a row while torandoes passed close by, discovering his pile of Playboy magazines sitting in plain sight on a corner table and spending the afternoon drooling at Marilyn Monroe’s titties. 

Early 1950s living at Fort Brooke in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, playing pirates all over the ancient El Morro fortress one block from our quarters, being a member of the Junior Military Police on the day when we got to “run” the post (I drew Main Gate duty),  Cub & Boy Scout camping at El Yunque National Rain Forest (shaking big scorpions out of our cot bedrolls in the morning), riding the glass bottom boat at night across Phosphorescent Bay watching the ghostly fish swimming beneath, climbing coconut trees in our yard to knock them down so we could husk them & punch open to drink the milk, playing doctor with the girl next door - before we got caught one time, watching the tall ships sail into the harbor during their summer training cruises, going to watch movies at the outdoor post theater ( a pavilion cover over the seating area), taking my dog Wimpy over to the PX and watching him run into a brushy area to chase a bunch of stray cats that colonized it (occasionally killing one), big excitement getting out of school early one day at the Navy base and having our bus escorted home by Jeeps with machine guns because of the local rebel uprising, then told to stay in quarters - we could hear the shooting when a handful of said rebels tried to break into the Fortaleza Governor’s mansion three or four blocks from our back gate ( they were all killed, IIRC). That’s about the same time that terrorist group shot up the US House of Representatives and tried to assassinate Harry Truman..
 

Late 1940s, riding around Camp Hood ( now Fort Hood) training area in WW2 era tanks - Dad was a 2nd Armored Battalion commander, later got a regiment - going to the first soft serve ice cream joint (pre Dairy Queen) in the area - swimming in a creek during the summer to cool off, as there was no A/C in any of the barracks-type quarters. 

Edited by Armybrat

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As a little kid I got to travel with my grandparents everywhere.  By the time I was 9 I had been to over 40 states and 3 countries.  Christmas was also good we had a large family and presents and drunk people spilled out all over the floor.   As a teenager, I loved the music.  Been to countless concerts, but regret not seeing Kiss and the B52s.  Also my crush at the time planted a big ol' kiss on me unexpectedly.

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Cool thread, SS.

I'll post the more detailed version of my 'the trip I got hooked on fishing" story later.  And maybe my "my very, very short bullriding career in early elementary school" story.

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On 5/2/2020 at 8:41 AM, Crapinon said:

I'm pretty sure we all passed each other at some point in time. Vacation for my mom and dad was fishing for 10 days in Creede. At an old hunting lodge called Broadacres a  few miles west of Creede. The lake was about 20' from the cabin door, Rio Grande a few hundred yards away and stream fishing at the back of the stream fed lake. No television, no radio. Drove me crazy when I was a kid, but I would do it now in a heartbeat. Except when we did it in the 60's it was $8 a night. I checked into it a few years ago and someone from California bought it. They tore all the log cabins down, built a lodge with a to cater to the upscale anglers and charge about $500 a day to stay there and fish. 

Some years we'd stay right outside of Creede as well. Remember hitting the soda fountain in town. Sometimes we went up to Emerald Lake as well.

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In the late 70's I lived in Chicago.  One of the players was from a nearby town close to our hometown in Mississippi and lived very close to us in Chicago.  He contacted us somehow and hired my sister to help his wife with their kids during the day (no lights at Wrigley).  He would come over to our house in the morning and pick up me and a friend or two, along with my sister, then head over to his house and drop my sister off.  Then his neighbor, also a player for the Cubs, would join us for the drive to the North side.  I spent the better part of 2 summers, aged 9 and 10, going to just about every Cubs home weekday game.  We'd go in through the players' entrance and roam the stadium until they opened the gates, then we'd go to Will Call and get our tickets and head back in.  Those were great times.

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Late 60's, I was 4 years old.  Our family used to borrow some good friends cabin at Possum Kingdom lake.  They had a boat house, nice boat, ski gear, fishing, etc.  My dad was a big water skier.  I remember swimming at the dock with my grandfather, and he was teasing me about going to the next step down on the ladder into the lake, and I was afraid to do it.  Of course he was with me and holding on to me.  It's the last memory I have of my granddad, as he was killed in a plane crash a few months later.  I'll be as old as he was next year.

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Possum Kindgom reminded me of a place called Burger's lake somewhere in Fort Worth. I don't remember going all that often but remember it being fun as a kid.

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Back in the mid 70's my parents used to dump me and my twin brother off at our grandmas ranch down in Stockdale, TX for a couple weeks each summer.

We would sleep late, watch morning game shows, go outside and catch grasshoppers for fishing, fish, watch afternoon syndicated stuff like Hogan's Heros, Lost in SPace, Wild Wild West, play dominoes at night with grandma, eat like kings, climb trees, burn stuff, explore, shoot guns and con our grandma into getting us some candy bars.

Now grandma was a widower since '63 and liked to go out to a beer joint a few times a week and had to take us with her.  There, we learned to shoot pool at the honky tonks, and amuse her friends by drinking beer and acting goofy.  We always went right to sleep after those honky tonk nights.  good times...but were always glad when mom came to pick us up. 

Were drove that poor old woman crazy.  She had raised two daughters on the ranch and was not used to two city boys with no off switch.

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, LW Goatman said:

Possum Kindgom reminded me of a place called Burger's lake somewhere in Fort Worth. I don't remember going all that often but remember it being fun as a kid.

LOL.  This place.  I've been there twice.

1. While in college at UT, I went home for the summer.  My girlfriend of a year breaks up with me suddenly.  To this day, the only girl that ever truly broke my heart.  So, I decide that I'm going to go all "bad boy", buy a pack of cigs (I'd never smoked a day in my life), and have my younger brother drive me to some bar on Greeneville.  I proceed to smoke the entire pack and drink, probably, 10+ beers.  We get home, and my parents are standing the front lawn at 1AM.  I take one step, say, "She broke up with me" and throw up all over my mom's feet.  The next morning, we had a family trip to Burger's Lake at about 7AM.  It was slightly rough.

2. In 2008, my wife, daughter, and I came down from East TN for a vacation.  My mom decides to resurrect the aforementioned family trip from the 90's.  We take my daughter - then 10 - and the rest of my nieces and nephews over to FW to swim at Burger's Lake.  It was fun.  We get back to Knoxville later on that week and then get this from my parents.

https://www.star-telegram.com/latest-news/article3823699.html

Quote

Burger’s Lake in west Fort Worth has closed while health officials investigate whether a waterborne parasite has sickened at least eight patrons at the popular swimming hole, Tarrant County Public Health announced today.

The lake has not been confirmed as the source of the cryptosporidiosis outbreak, but health officials suspect it is involved. The owner was cooperative and closed the facility Wednesday night, agency officials said.

 

Edited by Knoxtnhorn

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4 hours ago, Jiggy-Z said:

grandma was a widower

Women are widows, men are widowers.

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8 hours ago, You don't know me said:

In the late 70's I lived in Chicago.  One of the players was from a nearby town close to our hometown in Mississippi and lived very close to us in Chicago.  He contacted us somehow and hired my sister to help his wife with their kids during the day (no lights at Wrigley).  He would come over to our house in the morning and pick up me and a friend or two, along with my sister, then head over to his house and drop my sister off.  Then his neighbor, also a player for the Cubs, would join us for the drive to the North side.  I spent the better part of 2 summers, aged 9 and 10, going to just about every Cubs home weekday game.  We'd go in through the players' entrance and roam the stadium until they opened the gates, then we'd go to Will Call and get our tickets and head back in.  Those were great times.

Wait, what?  Who were the two players?  That's an incredibly story.  

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My grandparents had a lakefront cabin on Lake Buchanan.  We showed up on July 4th weekend and they had our room stocked with fireworks, all the usuals like Black Cats, bottle rockets and those flying saucers, but also bad ass ones like the big tubes that did all sorts of wild stuff.   Sparklers? None, they're for pussies.

Next morning Meemaw served Count Chocula with chocolate milk.  Why not?

Dinner was fried catfish caught that day. I caught a bone in my throat and she rolled a ball of white bread in water and shoved it down my throat. Worked like a charm. 

Had a hard time sleeping because I was sunburn as shit.  But I was happy.

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1 hour ago, Lobo said:

Wait, what?  Who were the two players?  That's an incredibly story.  

Steve Dillard and Tim Blackwell. I did have the years mixed up. It was the summers of 79 and 80. Steve made it to the Cubs before the 79 season. Steve played 2nd and Tim was a catcher. Steve finished up his career with the White Sox while Tim finished up with the Expos. We moved to STL in late 1980. When we were there and Tim was with the Expos he would leave tickets for us. He would come to the house if they had an off day and my dad would grill some steaks. Another cool story was during a Cards/Expos series in STL. We met him downtown and had lunch. He also brought a couple teammates with him. Somewhere in boxes there may still be a picture of me in downtown STL with Tim Blackwell, Gary Carter and Tim Raines.

This will sound corny, but those men, Steve and Tim, were not  all star major league players, but they were amazing people. I can’t imagine taking 2 or 3 young kids with you to work as often as they did. They are just humble men that also happened to be major league ball players and loved to give an amazing experience to this bratty kid. They are largely responsible for the love of baseball that I have today.

Those 79 and 80 Cubs teams had some names on them. Dave Kingman, Bruce Sutter, Mick Kelleher, Jerry Martin, etc. I have a few signed balls locked away. One from early 80’s Expos and one each from 79 and 80 Cubs. No clue if they are all authentic signatures though. I have heard that a lot of times those are actually signed by equipment managers. I do choose to believe that they are authentic and will be passed down to my boys at some point.

Another cool story: I think it was 80. Me and a friend were in Wrigley waiting for the gates to open while watching batting practice. We were right behind the third base dugout. The Cubs had a player named Mike Tyson (yeah, not that one). He broke (more of a chip than broken) his bat and when he left the cage, he threw his bat toward the dugout. Fortunately for me, he overshot and it bounced up into the stands right next to me. I carried that thing around the whole day. After the games, we would wait outside the clubhouse until Tim and Steve came out. This time, I got Tyson to sign the chip on the broken bat. I think that is at my mom’s house.

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9 hours ago, BayouBill said:

Hunting with my dad

TL;DR

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"You don't know me"---thanks for the details.  I'm lying if I said I remember Steve Dillard and Tim Blackwell, but statistically speaking I know I watched them play.  They played platoon-style numbers right as my dad started taking me to lots of Cubs games in the late 70's.  Going to see a Cubs game was not the destination trip to Wrigley that it is today for baseball fans from all over the country.  We'd either get pulled out of school just a hint early to make the 3:05 games, or I'd get to go with my dad after work on Saturday afternoon, or Sunday after 11:00a church.  You could walk up and get good seats upper deck along the baselines for $7/each.  

'80 was a good season for both of them and that's the first Cubs team I started following religiously (I would have been four at the time).  I'm sure at some point to impress my dad, I would have spouted off the starting lineup which would have included your buddy Blackwell at Catcher.  Buckner had a good year, Kingman has hurt half the yea, and a result-that was a rather abysmal Cubs offense even by Cubs standards.  That pitching staff had a rough year as well, but it featured perennial all-stars like Rick Reuschel, Mike Krukow, Willie Hernandez (wins the AL MVP just 4 years later), and two Hall of Fame closers---Bruce Sutter and Lee Smith.  Unfortunately, most of guys on the staff picked that year to have their worst years and so you got the last place Cubs.  But you could make the case, 1980 was at least the best season for one guy on the roster---Tim Blackwell.

Very cool you got to learn to appreciate baseball from two guys actually playing it at the MLB level.  Hope you still keep in touch with them.  

 

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My grandparents had a lakefront cabin on Lake Buchanan.  We showed up on July 4th weekend and they had our room stocked with fireworks, all the usuals like Black Cats, bottle rockets and those flying saucers, but also bad ass ones like the big tubes that did all sorts of wild stuff.   Sparklers? None, they're for pussies.

Next morning Meemaw served Count Chocula with chocolate milk.  Why not?

Dinner was fried catfish caught that day. I caught a bone in my throat and she rolled a ball of white bread in water and shoved it down my throat. Worked like a charm. 

Had a hard time sleeping because I was sunburn as shit.  But I was happy.

A lot of my favorite childhood memories are from Lake Buchanan. My Grandparents were both born and raised in Bluffton, which used to be on the banks of the Colorado River before they dammed it up to create the lake. The town had to be moved a few miles west. Sometime in the 50’s my Grandpa and his cousins, aunts, and uncles all got together and bought about 15 lots all next to each other. I’ve been going to Lake Buchanan for all of my almost 51 years. We used to get to the lake and tell everyone hello, and then me and my cousins were off. We jumped off of every dock on Shaw Island road. We used to jump of the bridge on Shaw Island road all day long when the lake was up. We set trot lines with Grandpa. There was nothing better than waking up the next morning after we had baited the lines and hopping in Grandpa’s aluminum boat with the 2hp Evinrude to go check the lines and see what we caught. My cousins and I roamed all over the place. We used to have bottle rocket wars and see how many snakes we could catch and keep in one of the hundreds of empty Parkay bowls that Grandma had. We’d pick plums from the tree for Grandma to make plum jam, which was glorious. We’d swim all day and scare Grandma by swimming out to the middle of the lake where we knew there was a sandbar. We’d act like the water was deep and then stand up so she’d stop yelling at us. I really can’t imagine a better childhood environment than growing up at Lake Buchanan. It was perfect.

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36 minutes ago, Lobo said:

"You don't know me"---thanks for the details.  I'm lying if I said I remember Steve Dillard and Tim Blackwell, but statistically speaking I know I watched them play.  They played platoon-style numbers right as my dad started taking me to lots of Cubs games in the late 70's.  Going to see a Cubs game was not the destination trip to Wrigley that it is today for baseball fans from all over the country.  We'd either get pulled out of school just a hint early to make the 3:05 games, or I'd get to go with my dad after work on Saturday afternoon, or Sunday after 11:00a church.  You could walk up and get good seats upper deck along the baselines for $7/each.  

'80 was a good season for both of them and that's the first Cubs team I started following religiously (I would have been four at the time).  I'm sure at some point to impress my dad, I would have spouted off the starting lineup which would have included your buddy Blackwell at Catcher.  Buckner had a good year, Kingman has hurt half the yea, and a result-that was a rather abysmal Cubs offense even by Cubs standards.  That pitching staff had a rough year as well, but it featured perennial all-stars like Rick Reuschel, Mike Krukow, Willie Hernandez (wins the AL MVP just 4 years later), and two Hall of Fame closers---Bruce Sutter and Lee Smith.  Unfortunately, most of guys on the staff picked that year to have their worst years and so you got the last place Cubs.  But you could make the case, 1980 was at least the best season for one guy on the roster---Tim Blackwell.

Very cool you got to learn to appreciate baseball from two guys actually playing it at the MLB level.  Hope you still keep in touch with them.  

 

I have tried to keep in touch over the years, but not with a whole lot of luck.  When Steve was done playing he ended up coaching in the minors for some time.  He and his wife moved back home to Mississippi and he ran the parks department for his town.  I don't know if he is still doing that or if he has completely retired.  Sometime around 2010 or so I was contracting for the military in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait.  My dad had kept in touch with them (my dad retired in Mississippi as well) and he told me that Steve's oldest son was an officer in the Air Force.  I contacted him and we kept in touch that way for a bit.  Tim, on the other hand, I was never able to get back in touch with.  Much like any other friendship, life just seems to get in the way.

I'm not certain about Tim, but Steve had a job in the off season in his playing days.  He was a UPS delivery driver if I recall correctly.  I think they barely missed the rise in players salaries.

We probably attend some of the same games if you went to any of the 1:00 weekday starts in the summer. 

I vividly remember the first homerun that I saw Tim hit.  It was a line drive that he hit into the chain link fence over the left field wall near the pole.  I remember hearing it hit the fence. 

To add a bit of irony to this entire story, I have never been a Cubs fan.  I am a Cards fan, but I appreciate the Cubs and their long time fans.  I did, however, spend a couple of summers as a Cubs fan.

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Okay, I'll start with an early one.  My grandparents (dad's side) lived on a ranch in Chihuahua when I was a little kid.  It was a haul to get there -- usually a two day trip.  We'd head from Houston to the Valley, and stop off there to visit my mom's folks for a while.  Sometimes, we'd go through Eagle Pass, where my dad grew up, and visit all of his old friends.  Then, a full day's drive, some of it on dirt roads, before we got to the ranch, which had its main gate right on the Pan American highway. 

It was a thick-walled house, meant to keep out the desert heat (although that flat roof can't have helped - hey, I didn't build it).  No electricity -- hurricane lamps, propane stove and fridge.  And open land all the way to the river (which was usually dry).  Maybe 50 yards from the main house was the ranch hand's quarters -- a single room adobe structure where a family of four lived.  The boys there were older than I was, but they were my companions/chaperones as I'd make the ranch my own.  Imagine being a 4-5 year old boy, and just having the run of infinite land.  We'd catch horned toads, find cool rocks, find 7mm shell casings from the Battle of Jimenez (happened over and around our ranch).  But the best days -- the absolute BEST days -- were when my dad and I would go rabbit hunting for desert cottontails.

He'd load up the .22, I'd get behind him -- we've got pics from the earliest hunts, where I'm wearing a diaper and boots to follow along.  He'd scan and look for rabbits, I'd mostly look at the ground and pick up cool rocks.  But I knew that if he said to freeze, I had to freeze, because there was a rattler.  In fact, when I was 4 or 5, there was an occasion when he didn't even have a chance to warn me - I just took a rifle butt to the chest that sent me flying backwards, and then he lowered the gun and shot the 4 footer he had almost stepped on.  Found a pic from one of our hunts -- I was about 4 and a half in this pic:

 

efe4722cea3c2569c585713737c0fcba.jpg

 

 

I remember one hunt when I was 5, it was the first hunt I contributed on -- I was scanning one direction, and saw some ears bouncing.  I shouted "dad! rabbit!", and he wheeled and dropped it.  I was so proud.  When we were done with our hunt, we'd head back to the house, usually with a couple of cottontails and maybe a couple of jackrabbits.  The ranch hands wanted the jack rabbits (they stewed them, and shredded the meat for tacos).  While we cleaned the cottontails, grandma was getting the skillet ready.  We'd clean and break down the cottontails into individual pieces, then she'd bread and fry them, like chicken.  We'd sit at a blue formica table, lit by a hurricane lamp, eating fried rabbit that WE went out and got.  Game that you went out and got just an hour or two before.  Fried up by grandma.  Eaten with everyone around the table, as you told stories of the hunt.  Does a dinner get better than that?  No, it does not.

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We were indeed at some of the same summer day games then.  We went to a few, but in hindsight, I probably went to more day games during the school year than in the summer because the 3:05 games, my dad would leave work at 2, pick us up at school just before 2:30p, and we'd be at Wrigley right around 3:00-3:15p.  You'd pay some neighborhood guy $5 to park your car there and you'd be inside by the bottom of the first.  Summertime was harder with earlier start times and he was a work-a-holic.  But yeah, just about every weekend we'd be out there too.  I still remember in high school, my buddy Joel Cummins trying to toss beers from his trunk up to us over that LF chain link fence you mentioned.  It never worked.  They'd land back on Waveland Avenue and Joel would stand out there and chug hot, nearly exploded MGD beers.  That guy is somehow a very accomplished keyboardist with Umphrey's McGee now, it's a huge band.  I see that Blackwell ended up graduating high school from Crawford in San Diego.  He was one of 8 guys that went from that school to MLB, not just pro ball, but MLB.  That's insane for one high school to have.  I played for a filthy good program outside Chicago that had multiple guys go every year to partial scholarship spots on Div. I program.  And we only had 8 guys play pro ball total, and nobody ever made it to "The Show."  Anyway, obviously I've been going down the baseball rabbit hole this morning since you brought up Blackwell and Dillard.  

Anyway, I'm sure you've already seen your friends' photos on baseball-reference.com.  First of all, tell Blackwell---sweet fucking 'stache.  But the weird thing is, you take away their facial hair, and obviously use a photo of him at a comparable age, but both guys look like Jackie Earl Hailey, the actor.  I mean, it's uncanny to me, they both look like JEH without the facial hair. Seriously, it's weird.   

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2 minutes ago, Grade of D as in David said:

Chicken fried rabbit is fucking delicious.

I believe Italic had it on the menu at one point.

Yeah.  The sad footnote on all of that is that for me, the ranch life ended when I was 6 or 7 or so.  Grandparents got old and less resilient, so bought a house in town.  We'd go out to the ranch to visit and do stuff, but we stayed in town.  Then, Grandma got sick.  The local docs figured out it was cancer.  And it was bad.  My dad hopped in the car, and drove nonstop to get her, then nonstop back, because we were in Houston, and we had MD Anderson.  He drove for 25 hours total, no breaks.  Because mothers and sons.

Grandma didn't last but another year or so.  We buried her in Eagle Pass (where she had grown up).  I remember seeing and hearing my grandfather sobbing at the graveside.  First time I'd seen a grown man openly cry.  

And then a few years later, grandpa had a stroke, and was never the same.  As he declined, I remember the day we sold the ranch - had him sign the papers in the hospital.  At least we sold it to a friend and neighbor.  We put the money in the bank down there.  And then a year or so later, they did a massive peso devaluation, and the money largely went poof.

But as long as I live, I don't know if anyone will love me as much, with such pure devotion, as my abuelo and abuela did.

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My grandparents lived in Elgin (Texas) and my grandfather had a small place in Type between Elgin and Taylor.  It was about 40 acres if I recall with an old two story house on it. The house was a dream for little kids.  It was pretty run down but still safe.  No running water, outhouse, and a beautiful old in ground cistern that collected rain water.  We'd pull buckets of cool water out and keep them in the house for drinking and washing.  No body lived on the property but someone was there just about every day so it was maintained.   It had 2 stock tanks and a big old barn with a hayloft.  He and my uncle had a few head of cattle, some chickens, and there were occasions where there were hogs and goats too. 

Most of my fondest childhood memories were of riding out there in my grandfather's truck, if the weather was nice in the back, and just fucking around out there.  We'd help a little with feeding the live stock or whatever but mostly we just fished the tanks, wandered the property and played.  Great dove and rabbit hunting during the seasons.  It was surrounded on all sides by fields of maize and we'd sit on those tanks at sunset and wait for the birds to come to water.  I think about those times at least once a week.  God I miss that old man.

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1 hour ago, Lobo said:

We were indeed at some of the same summer day games then.  We went to a few, but in hindsight, I probably went to more day games during the school year than in the summer because the 3:05 games, my dad would leave work at 2, pick us up at school just before 2:30p, and we'd be at Wrigley right around 3:00-3:15p.  You'd pay some neighborhood guy $5 to park your car there and you'd be inside by the bottom of the first.  Summertime was harder with earlier start times and he was a work-a-holic.  But yeah, just about every weekend we'd be out there too.  I still remember in high school, my buddy Joel Cummins trying to toss beers from his trunk up to us over that LF chain link fence you mentioned.  It never worked.  They'd land back on Waveland Avenue and Joel would stand out there and chug hot, nearly exploded MGD beers.  That guy is somehow a very accomplished keyboardist with Umphrey's McGee now, it's a huge band.  I see that Blackwell ended up graduating high school from Crawford in San Diego.  He was one of 8 guys that went from that school to MLB, not just pro ball, but MLB.  That's insane for one high school to have.  I played for a filthy good program outside Chicago that had multiple guys go every year to partial scholarship spots on Div. I program.  And we only had 8 guys play pro ball total, and nobody ever made it to "The Show."  Anyway, obviously I've been going down the baseball rabbit hole this morning since you brought up Blackwell and Dillard.  

Anyway, I'm sure you've already seen your friends' photos on baseball-reference.com.  First of all, tell Blackwell---sweet fucking 'stache.  But the weird thing is, you take away their facial hair, and obviously use a photo of him at a comparable age, but both guys look like Jackie Earl Hailey, the actor.  I mean, it's uncanny to me, they both look like JEH without the facial hair. Seriously, it's weird.   

Shoot, I meant right field wall.  Anyway, I never noticed that they looked like Jackie Earl Haley, but I'll be damned if they don't have a resemblance.  I think that those pictures are from their 1981 Topps baseball cards.  And Tim did have an awesome 'stache!

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Really hard to pick one or even 10...I feel I had a pretty great childhood. But here is a simple one I cherish:

Laying in the couch with my Pops as a kid in the 80s and watching soccer on Univision/Telemundo on Saturdays.

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On 5/6/2020 at 12:19 PM, LW Goatman said:

Some years we'd stay right outside of Creede as well. Remember hitting the soda fountain in town. Sometimes we went up to Emerald Lake as well.

Your avatar made me laugh. When we went to Creede, we would leave FW about 4 AM and my dad would drive through Lake Worth to Jacksboro and stop for breakfast at the Green Frog cafe. We drove through Lake Worth during the Goatman craze and I remember continually looking out the windows for it. 

Later in life, when I was at Nolan my biology teacher, who wasn't much older than his students, swore that him and a friend of his were the Goatman. He told us how they made the costume and tricked people about its super human powers by throwing a tire some incredible distance. He said they had to quit when people started showing up with guns wanting to kill and mount its' head. He could have been lying but he was pretty convincing. 

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One more...

My grandfather, then my uncles owned a farm and ranch service company that made concrete tanks, cattleguards and fences in San Antonio.  Even though the business has been defunct for 15 years, I still see their water tanks throughout central and south Texas to this day.  Anyways, when I was younger than 10, I went with my uncle a few times to install these tanks on Hill Country ranches.  They had this old, shitty truck crane that didn't seem safe at all that my uncle and his crew (mexican guys that didn't speak any English) to install these tanks.  It was cool to watch them install the tanks, but I loved that at lunch, they would make a campfire and warm up the food and tortillas to eat tacos for lunch.  My uncle always seemed so happy and funny with my brothers and I.  It wasn't until later in life when the business fell apart that I really understood how hard it was for him.

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14 hours ago, Brisketexan said:

But as long as I live, I don't know if anyone will love me as much, with such pure devotion, as my abuelo and abuela did.

I already know noone will ever match my grandpa. A toast between mine and yours.

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Liz Lott.  Man she was hot.  Looked like this, 70's girl about 10 years older than me.

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So Liz was a very giving and sharing person.  She would sunbathe naked in the backyard next to mine and I would watch her do it.  Her bush was easily 4" tall and damn impressive.  There's no doubt in my mind that Liz's bush is why I prefer bush today.

Also my dad would come and get me out of school early, claiming some family issue, couple times a year and then he would take me to matinees of first run movies like Superman, Indiana Jones, Godzilla or something like that.  Always appreciated that about him.

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On 5/7/2020 at 9:50 AM, Brisketexan said:

Okay, I'll start with an early one.  My grandparents (dad's side) lived on a ranch in Chihuahua when I was a little kid.  It was a haul to get there -- usually a two day trip.  We'd head from Houston to the Valley, and stop off there to visit my mom's folks for a while.  Sometimes, we'd go through Eagle Pass, where my dad grew up, and visit all of his old friends.  Then, a full day's drive, some of it on dirt roads, before we got to the ranch, which had its main gate right on the Pan American highway. 

It was a thick-walled house, meant to keep out the desert heat (although that flat roof can't have helped - hey, I didn't build it).  No electricity -- hurricane lamps, propane stove and fridge.  And open land all the way to the river (which was usually dry).  Maybe 50 yards from the main house was the ranch hand's quarters -- a single room adobe structure where a family of four lived.  The boys there were older than I was, but they were my companions/chaperones as I'd make the ranch my own.  Imagine being a 4-5 year old boy, and just having the run of infinite land.  We'd catch horned toads, find cool rocks, find 7mm shell casings from the Battle of Jimenez (happened over and around our ranch).  But the best days -- the absolute BEST days -- were when my dad and I would go rabbit hunting for desert cottontails.

He'd load up the .22, I'd get behind him -- we've got pics from the earliest hunts, where I'm wearing a diaper and boots to follow along.  He'd scan and look for rabbits, I'd mostly look at the ground and pick up cool rocks.  But I knew that if he said to freeze, I had to freeze, because there was a rattler.  In fact, when I was 4 or 5, there was an occasion when he didn't even have a chance to warn me - I just took a rifle butt to the chest that sent me flying backwards, and then he lowered the gun and shot the 4 footer he had almost stepped on.  Found a pic from one of our hunts -- I was about 4 and a half in this pic:

 

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I remember one hunt when I was 5, it was the first hunt I contributed on -- I was scanning one direction, and saw some ears bouncing.  I shouted "dad! rabbit!", and he wheeled and dropped it.  I was so proud.  When we were done with our hunt, we'd head back to the house, usually with a couple of cottontails and maybe a couple of jackrabbits.  The ranch hands wanted the jack rabbits (they stewed them, and shredded the meat for tacos).  While we cleaned the cottontails, grandma was getting the skillet ready.  We'd clean and break down the cottontails into individual pieces, then she'd bread and fry them, like chicken.  We'd sit at a blue formica table, lit by a hurricane lamp, eating fried rabbit that WE went out and got.  Game that you went out and got just an hour or two before.  Fried up by grandma.  Eaten with everyone around the table, as you told stories of the hunt.  Does a dinner get better than that?  No, it does not.

 

On 5/7/2020 at 9:58 AM, Grade of D as in David said:

Chicken fried rabbit is fucking delicious.

I believe Italic had it on the menu at one point.

 

I used to hunt rabbits on my grandparents farm in N. Texas. Grandma would fry em up. We'd also shoot squirrels in the pecan orchards, but she wouldn't let us bring "tree rats" anywhere near the house.

I guess that's my favorite childhood memory, sniping squirrels in the pecan orchards.

 

Favorite hs memory is driving out to Pale Face Park (now called Pace Bend Park) or Hamilton's Pool, drinking beer and cliff diving (Pale Face) or smoking dope and laying on the rock and letting the water from the water fall flail my skin blue (Hamilton's Pool).

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On 5/7/2020 at 9:58 AM, Grade of D as in David said:

Chicken fried rabbit is fucking delicious.

I believe Italic had it on the menu at one point.

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We'd also shoot squirrels in the pecan orchards, but she wouldn't let us bring "tree rats" anywhere near the house.

Yeah, so they see these gdamn things in a totally different light in East Tennessee.  I met a lot of folks that would eat them.

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1 minute ago, Knoxtnhorn said:

Yeah, so they see these gdamn things in a totally different light in East Tennessee.  I met a lot of folks that would eat them.

Squirrel in Brunswick stew is yummy.  East of Tenn. here.......

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My grandmother used to to pull me out of school once a month during the MLB season and take me to the Astros Orbiter luncheons.  There were always a couple of Astros players there and at least one or two from the visiting team.  I remember when the Cubs came to town and I met Shawon Dunston (rookie season) and Harry Caray.  But the one memory that sticks out from all others was Dave Smith teaching me the grip for his forkball.  

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On 5/7/2020 at 7:21 AM, Hate said:

A lot of my favorite childhood memories are from Lake Buchanan. My Grandparents were both born and raised in Bluffton, which used to be on the banks of the Colorado River before they dammed it up to create the lake. The town had to be moved a few miles west. Sometime in the 50’s my Grandpa and his cousins, aunts, and uncles all got together and bought about 15 lots all next to each other. I’ve been going to Lake Buchanan for all of my almost 51 years. We used to get to the lake and tell everyone hello, and then me and my cousins were off. We jumped off of every dock on Shaw Island road. We used to jump of the bridge on Shaw Island road all day long when the lake was up. We set trot lines with Grandpa. There was nothing better than waking up the next morning after we had baited the lines and hopping in Grandpa’s aluminum boat with the 2hp Evinrude to go check the lines and see what we caught. My cousins and I roamed all over the place. We used to have bottle rocket wars and see how many snakes we could catch and keep in one of the hundreds of empty Parkay bowls that Grandma had. We’d pick plums from the tree for Grandma to make plum jam, which was glorious. We’d swim all day and scare Grandma by swimming out to the middle of the lake where we knew there was a sandbar. We’d act like the water was deep and then stand up so she’d stop yelling at us. I really can’t imagine a better childhood environment than growing up at Lake Buchanan. It was perfect.

That's awesome.  We were on the east side.   Some local kids blew up a raft to row over to Garret Island, but my parents wouldn't let me go, as I was around 7 or so.  Bastards.  I watched them row out there, so jealous.  It might as well have been the Arctic Circle, it looked so far away and adventurous.

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Late night drives across rural NM and west TX with my dad, listening to the fading AM signal, carrying whatever local HS sports game was going on at the time. We’d pick a side as we drove, root for that team as the local yokel announcer called it, and watch the miles slide by. Inevitably the signal would fade out before the game ended, and we’d find the next town’s game. 
In the pre-internet age, it was usually impossible to go back the next day and figure out who won the game. But it didn’t matter. 
Dad is 86 now with Alzheimer’s. He doesn’t remember that anymore. But I do. 

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That's awesome.  We were on the east side.   Some local kids blew up a raft to row over to Garret Island, but my parents wouldn't let me go, as I was around 7 or so.  Bastards.  I watched them row out there, so jealous.  It might as well have been the Arctic Circle, it looked so far away and adventurous.

I always wanted to go out to Garrett Island, but never made it. It was too far for us to swim and probably even to far for us to paddle to safely. We were stupid as kids, but we realized we had some limits. As much as I explored the area we were in, there is still so much about the other areas of the lake I know very little about. The east side is one of them. I’ve been to the waterfalls a few times, but mostly I’ve stuck to “my” area between Shaw Island and Black Rock State Park.

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3 hours ago, nnm said:

Late night drives across rural NM and west TX with my dad, listening to the fading AM signal, carrying whatever local HS sports game was going on at the time. We’d pick a side as we drove, root for that team as the local yokel announcer called it, and watch the miles slide by. Inevitably the signal would fade out before the game ended, and we’d find the next town’s game. 
In the pre-internet age, it was usually impossible to go back the next day and figure out who won the game. But it didn’t matter. 
Dad is 86 now with Alzheimer’s. He doesn’t remember that anymore. But I do. 

I like this.

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1) Grew up dirt-ass poor.  One day my parents take us to a restaurant called Po Folks in Richardson.  We NEVER got to eat out.  So, we're sitting there thinking this is the greatest day ever when they drop the bomb.  "Hurry up and finish eating.  We're headed to Six Flags."  
2) Grandfather was a lineman for SW Bell.  I spent most of one summer with him in the Hill Country.  He would drive to Wimberly, Llano, Marble Falls, etc... Sunday night and come back to Brownwood Friday evening.  We stayed in either a cabin or a trailer in one of the state parks.  He'd go to work; I'd fish, explore.  On his days off, I'd float down the Blanco river or inner tube at Canyon Lake.  
3) Not to be cheesy, but I swear one of my greatest memories was getting my acceptance letter to UT.  From about age 6, this was my goal.  Hell, I didn't even enjoy high school because my focus was the day I'd set foot on the 40.

My grandfather was also a lineman for SW Bell. I never got to go on the road with him though. That would have been bad ass.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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How many of y'all are lucky enough to experience this...?  Let me preface this by stating that I was extremely close with my maternal grandfather.  When I wasn't in the Dallas area, I spent quite a bit of time on the family farm with my grandfather.

When I was about 8, our family started doing something we called, "Christmas on the Farm".  The second weekend of each December, we'd head to the farm where the matriarch of our family lived.  She was, I guess, in her 80's.  The sweetest great-grandmother one could have. The Farm, as we called it, was about 200 acres, just outside of Comanche.  I could probably write a book about all the individual memories I had of the farm and this yearly occurrence.  I'll keep it short.  

Imagine walking into an old farm house.  You've got about 30 aunts, uncles, cousins, etc...  All of whom brought their own home cooked recipes, presents, etc... We'd eat, play games, go on hay rides, prank each other.  At night, some would sleep in a couple of campers parked outside.  Everyone else would just sleep where they could find room in the 2 bedroom farm house.  There was no escape from whatever prank someone could come up with in the middle of the night.  Again, I could write quite a bit.  Suffice to say, it's something that I'll never forget.

Christmas on the Farm ended sometime around my junior year of high school.  My grandfather passed in November of my freshman year at UT.  His mom passed the next year.  I've been back to the farm one time since then.  

A couple of years ago, one of my aunts sent me a video of Christmas on the Farm circa 1989.  I could only get through about half of it.  It's like the scene in Christmas Vacation when Clark is stuck in the attic.  Do you know how much the emotions flow when you see family members long gone on video?  Half happy; half sad.

That'll be my one, drunk nostalgic post for the week.

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When I was about 9 or so, my grandad let me drive a bulldozer he had rented or borrowed to dig a stock pond. I thought I was hot shit getting to actually drive a bulldozer.

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On 5/6/2020 at 8:58 PM, Mach 1 said:

Next morning Meemaw served Count Chocula with chocolate milk.  Why not?

Granny would let me have coke floats for breakfast.    That’s a pretty good childhood memory.

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My granddad used to drink tea-coke out of a saucer. Mix Coca-Cola with iced tea. I have no idea how he came up with that combo, but it wasn't horrible.

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3 hours ago, RPM said:

My granddad used to drink tea-coke out of a saucer. Mix Coca-Cola with iced tea. I have no idea how he came up with that combo, but it wasn't horrible.

Mine would fill a glass with buttermilk, then corn bread.  I tried to like it.  I really did.  

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1 hour ago, Knoxtnhorn said:

Mine would fill a glass with buttermilk, then corn bread.  I tried to like it.  I really did.  

My dad used to do the same buttermilk / cornbread combo.

Still grosses me out just thinking about it....good memories.

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