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Old 11-22-2017, 01:25 PM   #1
boblee
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Default A story.

Sometimes I get in the mood to tell one - and although I'm at work today, I'm not really doing any work, so I think I'll tell a story about one of my old and longtime dead mentors; Roy Dickerson.

Pushmataha County Oklahoma, a community named Sobol. A Baptist Church with my grandpa as the minister. All there was and is: the church, a store with a gas pump, basic groceries, livestock feed, cigarettes, snuff, chewing tobacco and an adequate supply of .22, 30/30, 30/06 ammunition and shotguns shells. Too small even for our own post office. Oleta, about eight miles west, sorted our mail for the rural carrier to deliver.

State Highway 3 & 7 is the longest state highway in Oklahoma, it traverses approximately 650 miles, southeast to northwest. I'd be safe to say that Sobol is the western and southern edge of the Kiamichi Mountain range, which marries into the Ozark range, some one hundred miles or so northward and east. My grandparents, My older cousin, Larry and I lived right there, right on that highway. A circular gravel driveway to our home; it looped around the concrete enclosed natural spring that was our water source. The same gravel turn - off the highway, going north instead of following the circle, the roadway led to Roy and Nora Dickerson's property, about three hundred yards north. Please forgive me for probably too many details. I see the place so clearly in my mind's eye and I guess that I want readers to be able see it also.

I can't exactly remember just when I met Roy, best guess - when I was ten years old. He was our local mechanic. His shop, a corrugated metal building, was fifty yards or so on the east side of their home. His talents were long and wide. You have to try to understand that this was in the fifties, things were far less complicated back then. No computers, no pollution control stuff. One could raise the hood of the truck or car and there was a lot of room and not very many wires and Roy could trace it down and fix it. In addition, he changed and fixed tires and he welded stuff and soldered stuff and he was good and he was honest and he didn't charge more than it was worth and he would do work on credit or on the barter system. I never asked him how old he was because age ain't and never has been real important to me. In reflection, probably early fifties.

Through church gossip, I knew that Roy had been imprisoned earlier in life. Oklahoma didn't go wet until 1957 and Roy had made whiskey and bootlegged whiskey and the revenuers caught up with him and they caught up with a number of people back then and the whole "prohibition" thing only accomplished creating organized crime and eliminating legal jobs and making criminals out of people that weren't criminals. His brother Tom, got sent to prison too, but that's another story. Another story that I'll tell ya'll sometime later on. I suppose that I was a precocious child. Roy's history concerned the church deacons and most members, but it didn't matter none to me at the time and it sure as hell don't matter to me now.

Roy just accepted me pretty much right away. And he didn't condescend. There never was you're just a kid and I'm a man and you don't know **** and I'm in a different place than you are and you oughta just be glad that I'll give you a little of my time. Nope, He was kind to me and he treated me as an adult, an adult with not much experience. Larry was his friend too. They had met before Roy and I met. Probably he knew through idle talk with Larry that there might be some hope for me. I was a product of divorced parents and back then that was a real and present blight on one's soul and on their status as a human being. Well, odds are against the kid, but even a cur can make a dog if you have the time and the patience.

Roy drove a 1953 GMC pickup, light green in color with sideboards - sometime sideboards on, sometimes not, depending upon the endeavor. He kept a wooden flat-bottomed boat chained to a tree on the Little River about ten miles north of the bridge on 3 & 7. Little River was a clear, rocky mountain river back then before they dammed it up and ruined it. You could stand in chest deep water and still see your feet. There was no real road to the River and to the boat, but Roy could take that truck through and into places than most couldn't have taken a four wheeler had they existed, because he knew how and he didn't get into no hurry. We would pack our stuff and we would stay until Roy ran out of tobacco or whiskey. Might be three days or it might be a week. Daytime, we fished with cane poles and cheap rods and reels and we put out trotlines and chicken wire fishtraps, and said fishtraps were illegal then and they are now. We baited them with slab cotton seed cake cattle feed. There was not a lot to pack. Roy slept in his truck. My bed was on the three twelve inch planks nailed between two pine trees that served as our table. A quilt under me and a blanket over me with a tarp stretched between the two trees to keep off the dew.

Roy brought along cooking and eating stuff. A cast iron skillet, a cast iron dutch oven, coffee pot, bacon, eggs, a couple loaves of bread, potatoes, onions, a can of Crisco, cornmeal, flour, salt, pepper and the ability. Fish were a given, squirrels were my job, I had a little Stevens Crackshot single shot .22 that Larry had given me with a penny cut in half for a front sight and it and me were far from accurate but I managed to compensate and I killed enough and Roy held them while I skinned them and he cooked them to perfection in his dutch oven. He put in just enough flour and the right amount of water and he left the lid on with coals on the top and he had sliced potatoes and onions in there too and if you've never had squirrel done that way I feel sorry for you. The meal washed down with coffee brewed with clear river water with a bit of a leafy taste because you got that water close to the bank of the river and leaves are on the bottom and you can see them and you know that's where to fill the coffee pot because you know. I knew because I was still but a child and being a child my thinking was as clear and as unmuddled as the the river water that I was asked by Roy to please go fetch.

Roy was an old outlaw and I was a young outlaw and now I'm an old outlaw and it was inescapable for him and it's inescapable for me now because it is. At night on the River, two Coleman lanterns on the bow of the boat, aluminum foil on the backside, we shot and gigged fish. Please keep in mind, the river was clear, so clear... All I'm about to tell you, illegal, then and now. Not many "gamefish", other than catfish. Drum, redhorse, carp, suckers, the rare but occasional bass. You gig them and you shoot them with a 30/30. Roy's rifle was a Winchester Model 94 30/30. Steel jacketed bullets I was told; don't know if they are still in production. One shoots UNDER the fish, not to hit - the concussion does it - they go crazy and they zoom around and then you attempt to stick them with the gig. Sometimes, we would bait under a leaning tree with cotton seed cake or fish carcasses or squirrel remains and scale the tree and shoot into the crowd and dip net what we could. I'm not making this up, I dare you to even try.

One night, late - you do it late, time to go, lanterns full, pumped and lit, prepared to board. What the eff? A snake and this ain't just a common water snake, it appears to be a different kind of snake. It was. Rattlesnake, timber rattler, rare then - more common now; swimming in the river. We killed him, although lots of ammo expended. The boy paddles the boat, that's the system, inarguable. Later, upriver; Roy bow - the boy, the paddler, astern. I paddled into a little feeder creek, often some bullfrogs can be found. There was a low willow limb overhanging the water right at the junction of the creek with the river and I thought, hmm.. water moccasins, low limbs. I been here a time or two and I don't even have pubic hair yet. Sure enough, PLOP and another PLOP. Bear in mind, lights were in the front and I was in the back in the dark and I left. Right now. Shore was probably around ten feet away and I was onshore with dry feet. I can only assume that it was akin to skipping a flat rock across water. Roy confirmed after picking me up, loading me back into the boat. Yep, two water moccasins but they both promptly left the boat almost as quickly as I did.

Back then, deer season in Oklahoma ran nine days. The Saturday before Thanksgiving through the Sunday after Thanksgiving. No bow season, no black powder, nothing beyond or else, that was it. Whatever year it was when I was age eleven, Roy gathered me up to go deer hunting - about two weeks before deer season officially opened. Roy was hard of hearing, he wore hearing aids, though they seemed to be little help to him. He pursued, ran deer with dogs, illegal at the time and still illegal. He had a redbone male and a black and tan *****. If they were named, their names escape me. Anyway, he said Bobby I need some deer meat and you know that I can't hear the dogs running, would you go with me. Well, sure and thank you for asking Roy but you know that I don't have no deer gun I said. He said you can carry my shotgun just in case. It was a Winchester Model 97 16 gauge hammer pump.

We called it the old Sconyer Place. Nobody we knew knew for certain who owned the place. Roy cut the dogs loose about a half mile from our destination as hunters / shooters, said were were going to a stand down the road aways. Stand then meant not a structure or nothing stuck up in a tree or anything man manufactured. It meant a place that a deer was likely to be or run through. We were no more than settled when I heard the dogs. Roy had loaded the shotgun for me with ought buckshot, he was armed with his Model 94. The black and and tan female had the body of a greyhound, skinny despite the fact that Roy fed them well - and she could run. Here the deer was, right there, right now, with the ***** dog almost on her heels. Roy commenced shooting, how many times I don't know, but several. I shot once and jammed the shotgun trying to pump in the second shell. Hell, the gun was longer than I was tall. Dogs went about a hundred yards and quit. There she was, deader than today's sense of common decency. When Roy opened her up, he found one buckshot in her heart. He didn't say a word, not one. Roy always carried a half-pint bottle of locally distilled moonshine in his back pocket. He smiled at me, twisted off the cap and offered me my very first drink. I accepted it, I earned it, I had it coming.

I don't remember what year it was that Roy died. I had left Oklahoma, moved to Texas, the whys are unimportant. I was told by those that chose to tell me that Roy had died of throat cancer and before he died he found God and attended church. God, my Father, please forgive me for what I'm about to say if I'm wrong and if I don't understand:

Roy was one of Yours, God. One of Your special appointed mortal persons. A gift from You to at least one innocent little boy. Church and organized religion and deacons didn't have nothing to do with it. If Roy Dickerson ain't in Heaven with You right now, nobody left still alive has a chance.


Not proofed for spelling, punctuation or anything else.
Bob Lee
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Old 11-22-2017, 01:40 PM   #2
MisterSanders
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nice read!
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Old 11-22-2017, 01:46 PM   #3
jerp
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Great story Bob. It illustrates how much we are formed by our childhood experiences, and how much difference one caring adult can make.
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Old 11-22-2017, 01:47 PM   #4
125Dad
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This is not a story it's a book. lol
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Old 11-22-2017, 02:02 PM   #5
Phillip Fields
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Nice read. Reminds me of Robert Ruark. His series about "The Old Man and the Boy" is still my favorite reading, even though I first read it 60 years ago'
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Old 11-22-2017, 02:05 PM   #6
TxAg
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Old 11-22-2017, 02:22 PM   #7
Mesquite Archer
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Good story!
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Old 11-22-2017, 02:26 PM   #8
tgil
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What a great read. I'd enjoy sharing a fire with you, just to hear the stories.
A buddy and I were lamenting, just yesterday, about a friend that has passed. He was one of the funniest men I've ever known, and the stories he'd tell....
May Roy, Fred and all those like 'em, rest in peace and live forever in our memories.
Thanks for sharing!

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
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Old 11-22-2017, 02:31 PM   #9
Stick-Launcher
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I really enjoyed that... Thanks for sharing. Much of that story reminds me of my time growing up...
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Old 11-22-2017, 02:36 PM   #10
Instinct
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Good story bob,
Tators,onions and a cut up squirrel in a Dutch oven. One of the best camp meals there is.
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Old 11-22-2017, 02:41 PM   #11
perow
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Great read-thanks for posting

I would love to share a campfire with you sometime
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Old 11-22-2017, 02:41 PM   #12
LennyWayne
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...tears.

I felt like I was right there beside you and Roy.

Good read.
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Old 11-22-2017, 02:47 PM   #13
Razorback01
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Razorback01 approves this as excellent reading.
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Old 11-22-2017, 02:53 PM   #14
public
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Old 11-22-2017, 03:03 PM   #15
Antlers86
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Please tell more stories. Really enjoyed reading that!
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Old 11-22-2017, 03:13 PM   #16
GarGuy
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Heck i knew that fellow..only his name was Jack and he lived in Texas. good read..
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Old 11-22-2017, 03:20 PM   #17
timoub007
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Great story, and thank you for taking the time to write it out.

Happy Thanksgiving all,
Tim
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Old 11-22-2017, 03:22 PM   #18
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I saw the house and the circle drive made of gravel...I was right there with you, no shoes and all!
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Old 11-22-2017, 03:45 PM   #19
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great story!!
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Old 11-22-2017, 04:18 PM   #20
NBK75
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Thanks for sharing your story with us, I totally enjoyed reading it.
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Old 11-22-2017, 04:38 PM   #21
miket
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Enjoyed it immensely. Please do not hesitate to write more as you can.
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Old 11-22-2017, 04:46 PM   #22
locolobo
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Thanks for the read. Brought back memories of my own childhood. Not so much because of one person but of the lifestyle and the things I experienced and learned. Moccasins in the boat while frog giggin for one. I bailed too! Thanks again!

Last edited by locolobo; 11-22-2017 at 04:51 PM..
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Old 11-22-2017, 04:58 PM   #23
tradtiger
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Nice read!
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Old 11-22-2017, 05:30 PM   #24
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Thanks for posting, really enjoyed the read! Happy Thanksgiving.
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Old 11-22-2017, 05:49 PM   #25
Froggy
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Good read boblee. Brought back some of my childhood memories.
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Old 11-22-2017, 05:58 PM   #26
banzai
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Hunting, fishing, camping, a boat, a river, friends, the woods, at night... thank you for taking me away on a short vacation away from Austin, Bob.
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Old 11-22-2017, 10:04 PM   #27
GrapeApe
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**** good story. I love to hear stories like this when I'm sitting around a campfire with friends and family
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Old 11-22-2017, 10:17 PM   #28
mikemorvan
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Very nice. Thank you sir.
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Old 11-22-2017, 10:22 PM   #29
em12
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Great story- I really enjoyed it. Thank you for sharing this part of your life with us. And please, as already stated, tell more stories.....
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Old 11-22-2017, 10:31 PM   #30
SwampRanger
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Very good thank you for sharing
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Old 11-22-2017, 10:33 PM   #31
dustoffer
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Didn't have a "Roy" -- closest thing I had was "Uncle Phil". Son is named after him and his (our) canoe is leaned up against my shed as I type.

Thank You BobLee. Good to recount your blessings occasionally.
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Old 11-22-2017, 10:33 PM   #32
TP3
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Thanks Bob Lee. You paint a vivid picture sir.
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Old 11-22-2017, 10:39 PM   #33
Rubi513
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Great read!
Reminded me when I was younger, hunting with my Dad and his friends and listening to stories around the fire.

I hope you can tell us more stories.
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