This Saturday, the 26th. Hope you all can come!!
A Duck-Shooting Event
I was at an outdoor event held in a big convention center in Mt. Home, Arkansas when I came across a place back in a corner where ducks were flying around in a circle and kids were shooting at them with a little gun that fired nerf- balls. I couldn’t believe how good those kids were. I had this overwhelming urge to stand in line and take my turn, but there were some things I had to think about. For one thing, what if I couldn’t hit any? There were adults standing around watching the kids shoot! What if some of them recognized me… a guy who wrote a book about duck hunting standing there with a bunch of kids trying to figure out how to lead a mallard flying in a circle? I chickened out!
But I will have my chance this weekend when the same rig will be back in the corner at our grizzled old outdoorsman’s swap meet. Some of you wing- shooters ought to come out and join me.
That may be one of the most exciting thing we have ever had happen at our swap meet, except for the time my executive secretary, Ms Wiggins, tried to cook pancakes and we had that little fire in the back of her old Datsun pick-up.
If you have a little money in your pocket you will likely go home broke because you will never find better buys on old sporting arms, fishing gear, whatever. I can’t really give a list of all the things you will find there because it would run right off the end of this page.
We’ve held this event for six or seven years at the Brighton Assembly of God gymnasium and the youth of the church fix biscuits and gravy and coffee and donuts for breakfast, then hamburgers and pork sandwiches and pie and cake and drinks for lunch.
So folks can spend hours there, sitting around our big round tables up front, drinking coffee and visiting or milling around looking at 40 tables worth of stuff, some antique stuff, and some new stuff.
This year Jerry McCoy, who owns a nice outdoor antique store down at Bull Shoals, will bring about 500 lures, all new and in boxes, which he will sell for three dollars apiece. That’s less than half of what the same lure would often sell for at Wal-Mart’s sporting goods counter.
I am going to offer my books for ten dollars, a forty percent discount, and inscribe and sign them, which adds a nickel to their resale value. There are eight of them now, with the new one published last summer. I also intend to give away a bunch of my Lightnin’ Ridge outdoor magazines, probably four or five of the recent issues.
I expect to see all sorts of things there, outdoor art, and taxidermy, furs and game calls, bows and hand-made wooden gifts. One of the most popular tables is the one where Dale Olsen sells beautiful wooden cutting boards and there’s another where Vernon Myers sells his hand-made knives and another where Billy Green sells hand- made turkey calls.
As of yet we do not have a table where ladies sell canned goods and baked goods but I am working on that. And my old college roommate, radio personality Woody P. Snow, will be there selling his books and artwork. People who have listened to him for years get a kick out of meeting him.
I would love to talk with you, so come by and see me if you can. Most of the calls I will get this week will be from folks wanting directions, so I am posting a map for you to see.
The church is at the little community of Brighton, which is about 16 miles north of Springfield on Highway 13. You turn there at Highway 215 going east and follow the signs. It is easy to find. Just listen for quacking and the sound of those nerf-ball guns shooting at ducks!
The following Saturday, April 2, we will take a day-long trip over to Truman Lake to hike through a wilderness area and have a noon-time fish fry and look at eagles and migrating waterfowl on a short pontoon boat excursion. We do that each spring and fall but here’s what’s new about that.
You can come up and stay at my Panther Creek lodge on Friday night, get up and have breakfast with me on Saturday morning and then follow me over to the lake, only thirty minutes away. That sure beats leaving your home in the early morning hours to try to get there on time.
Some folks come from Arkansas and Kansas to take this trip with us and have to drive ‘a fer piece’. Now we have a place to get a good nights rest and breakfast. Let me know soon if you want to go along because our pontoon boat will only accommodate about 15 hikers. My lodge is big enough for everyone who wants to go.
The lodging and breakfast is free, the cost of the trip is 40 dollars per person, and that money goes into our fund for the Panther Creek underprivileged kids summer camps.
This is a good place perhaps to thank an awful lot of generous people who have contributed to our Panther Creek Project. It’s a big tract of land along a little creek that I am trying to make into a place where churches can bring trouble youngsters, especially boys without fathers, free of charge.
There is the cost of annual electricity, insurance and taxes, and we do not solicit any help with that. If God wants something to work, and a man does his part, He helps you find ways to come up with the needed funds. I figure on holding some special wild game dinners there to raise money to pay the bills.
I am so sick of seeing these people on television with their phony schemes where the money they beg for goes into administration, conventions, or somebody’s pocket. Sometime in May or June we are going to have a day at the Panther Creek project with a big dinner just for those people who have wanted to help by donating money.
Two of those people there will be Robert and Larry Sitton, brothers from Lamar Missouri who heard me advertise on a Stockton radio station that we wanted to buy affordable bunk beds for boys to sleep on.
I still can’t believe what those two did. They went out and started finding bunk beds, which they fixed up and painted, delivered to us and assembled them. Seven sets of bunk beds and two single beds, enough to fill our lodge and cabins for visiting kids.
Those brothers don’t look like angels, but they must be. Folks in the area heard about what they were doing and they started giving them new pillows and sheets and blankets and towels. As much as I hope to meet all who have helped in so many ways, there is one elderly lady I just have to go see. She made several quilts and gave them to us. Do you know what hand-made quilts are worth? Can you visualize the hours she put into those precious gifts?
I look at the world through the eyes of our lop-sided liberal news media and television and often get the idea that evil people have taken over our country. Then I meet people like the Sitton brothers and a hundred others who send ten dollars and tell me to apply it to the electric bill or a hundred dollars sent to help pay the insurance bill and I realize that there is another side of the coin.
This Panther Creek Project has showed me how wonderful common country people can be.
Someday I hope this changes a lot of little boy’s lives. It has already changed mine.