Jamie Patterson Managing Editor“We need to try to get somebody to watch the kids during the last weekend in September,” I shouted to my husbandJason, as I walked into his office.
“Why,” he asked, looking up from his computer. “What’s going on?”
“Squirrel season starts,” I said, with a twinkle in my eye.
While my eyes were twinkling, Jason’s eyes were rolling.
“You’re funny,” he said, as I made my way out of his office.
But I continued to daydream about the experience.I tried squirrel hunting for the first time in my life last year. Granted, I missed everything I tried to shoot. But I loved every minute of it.
With September in full swing now, I am ready to get back to the woods and show Jason how it’s done.
Hopefully, this year I will get at least one of those critters.
Squirrel hunting is a family tradition that I want to carry on and pass down to my own children, James and Elsie.
My grandfather, James Jackson, was the best squirrel hunter in three counties. He lived and breathed squirrel hunting.
According to one family legend, he killed one by throwing a rock at its head.
During squirrel season, Paw Paw was hardly ever at home. And when he was, he was dressing squirrels and making supper with his prize.
“Fire up the stove,” he yelled, holding two hands full of squirrels.
I am sure there was a bag limit, but it wasn’t always “acknowledged” on Jackson family land. Paw Paw looked at as he was providing for his family. If the whole Jackson clan came overfor supper, eight just wouldn’t be enough.
It truly was a family event. All the men would come to our house and drink about a gallon of coffee. Then they would take off before the sun was good and up.
Then they would all return with more squirrels than I had ever seen in my life. Setting up tables under the carport, the men would get to cleaning their game.
I wasn’t often allowed outside during that time.
“They are liquored up on their pride and Lord knows what else,” Maw Maw said, shutting the screen door.
But I would sneak out ever so often to see what was going on.
Then the men would barge into the kitchen, and Paw Paw would usher Maw Maw out of her territory. The kitchen was Maw Maw’s land, but not on “squirrel day.”
Paw Paw would roll his sleeves up and get to work. The other men would gather around the kitchen table, ready to get started on their second pot of coffee.
Paw Paw was an excellent cook. He wouldn’t admit it, but I think he enjoyed being in the kitchen.
“You know why I am a good cook,” he asked. “Because in the Army, they would send you to the mess hall to work when you got in trouble.”
As I raised my eyebrows, he would start to grin.
“I got in trouble a lot,” he smiled.
Paw Paw could fry, roast or just about anything else he wanted with squirrel. But what he really liked to do with his squirrel was cook it in a pressure cooker.
Maw Maw would make a batch of biscuits, and everybody would fill up on tender meat, gravy and biscuits. We’d top it off with a piece of red velvet cake and a cup of coffee.
It truly was a fun time in my life during squirrel season. The house was filled with laughter, food and life.
It almost killed Paw Paw when the doctor told him he had a tumor on his spine. In order to remove it, he would be paralyzed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair.
It was a hard pill to swallow for Paw Paw, whose life revolved around family, hunting and fishing.
During the last years of his life, Paw Paw and I would take a stroll down our road every morning. I would ride my bike alongside his wheelchair.
There was a spot by the road that had a clearing on the side. You could sit in the clearing, by the edge of the woods, and watch nature in all her glory.
Leaving my bike on the ground, I would sit crosslegged next to Paw Paw...and listen.
We wouldn’t speak, just listen to the woods.
But every now and then, I would see him pull his arms up like he was holding a shotgun. He would making a firing noise towards a tree in the distance.
Then a squirrel would take off running up the tree.
Even with an imaginary gun, those critters knew he was there.
The guns that my Paw Paw used in his life were passed down to me, every one of them. I am proud to own the ones that he used particularly for squirrel hunting.
I plan on using them this season when I try my hand at squirrel hunting once more. And I will pass them down to my son, Paw Paw’s namesake.
I didn’t have any luck last year, but I didn’t have Paw Paw’s gun either.
Maybe he will take a minute to look down from Heaven and help me aim just right.
Walter Patterson Herald ColumnistClint Eastwood’s little skit at the Republican National Convention has sparked an avalanche of comments, both positive and negative. The mainstream media pounced on Eastwood declaring that he was an old man who had clearly lost his mind. I’m sure that most of these media types did not know before the speech that Eastwood was a long-time conservative. But “Dirty Harry” held nothing back.
When I saw Eastwood walk on stage, I immediately thought that he was going to give a conventional speech, one where he stood at the podium and read from a teleprompter. But that was not to be. Shortly after he began, he looked over to an empty chair and addressed it as though Obama himself was seated there.
The performance was hilarious – and creative. Soon, the audience was doubled over with laughter, and Eastwood had made his point. Not only is Obama an “empty chair,” he is also an “empty suit.”
“We have 23 million people unemployed in this country, and this is a national disgrace,” he declared. Who could disagree? The opening day of the Democrat National Convention saw the national debt top $16 trillion. This is money that your grandchildren and mine will have to repay. According to Bloomberg News, every family in America now owes more than $136,000 to the government in order to retire our debt, and this is money that the government has absolutely no hope of collecting.
Eastwood continued. “We own this country. Politicians are our employees. If they can’t perform, we have to let them go.” These are simple truths that clear-thinking Americans instinctively know and understand. The president has not done the job we hired him to do; consequently, we must let him go.
The Democrats, even four years after he left office, want to blame George Bush for our economic problems. They won’t tell the truth and confess that the recession was caused by Democrat policies governing the housing market. Bill Clinton and Janet Reno forced banks to lend money to people who had no means of paying the money back. As a result, the housing market collapsed, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were left holding the bag for billions of dollars, and the house of cards began to crumble. Probably the most culpable Democrat in this financial collapse was Barney Frank, the far-left Democrat representative who headed the House Banking Committee. Everything this man did – everything, assured that the housing market would collapse. President Bush warned this dullard no less than 17 times that if changes were not made, an economic recession was unavoidable.
But back to Eastwood. Everything that Obama did as president made the situation worse. Instead of solving the financial crisis, he insisted that Obamacare be enacted into law with its 21 separate tax increases. Of course, the trillion dollar stimulus failed along with the bailout of the automobile industry. General Motors owes more than $25 billion to the government with no hope of paying it back. What Obama did was simply postpone the inevitable – and nationalize the automobile industry. Have you seen GM’s stock price lately? Have you noticed the price of gasoline? All of these disasters can be laid at the feet of Mr. Obama. Americans have elected an inexperienced man to the most demanding job in the world. Obama simply cannot fill the presidential chair. It is much too big.
Actors memorize lines for a living. Eastwood had memorized his carefully. He said exactly what he intended to say the way he intended to say it. He suffers neither from senility nor from Alzheimer’s. He was funny. He was entertaining. He was brilliant. Most of all, he put Mr. Obama in a place where Americans know he should be – in an empty chair.
Bravo, Clint Eastwood. Bravo!
Jamie Patterson Managing EditorIt has been about a month since James started his first day of school.
I am starting to get used to all the routines, procedures and other things that go along with “school days.”
I have also quit crying to myself as I watch him slowly walking into school building with his little book bag that takes up his entire back.
I get almost as excited as he does on Fridays to dress him up depending on the theme that goes with the football game that night.
I also look forward to seeing his week’s worth of lessons each Friday, complete with wiggly letter-tracings and colorings.
But what I really seem to enjoy the most are the talks he and I share on our way to and from school each day. Some of the things he is starting to ask bring a grin to my face and a break from the daily grind of deadlines, news articles and page layouts.
James is full of questions now, and I try to find the right answers to all of them.
“Why do we have to take naps,” he asked.
“So you will get your energy up for a big day,” I replied.
Looking out the window with a very concerned expression on his face, I could tell he was really thinking about my answer.
“But I have enough energy,” he said. “So, I don’t need naps.”
“Well, if you don’t rest, you start to become moody,” I said.
“What’s moody,” he asked.
“It’s how you act when you start feeling tired and you start acting bad,” I said. “You start to get cranky, and you don’t listen very well. And you overreact with stuff Daddy and I tell you.”
James began taking his finger and tapping it on his chin as if he was really thinking about his response.
“I don’t get moody,” James said. “Maybe you and Daddy should take naps.”
I give him a look over my sunglasses and explain to him that’s not how it works. He grins and tells me it should be the way it works.
We both start smiling at each other, and he moves onto to other questions.
Where do bears live?
Do astronauts live on the moon?
Why do I have to wear a seatbelt?
If Elsie is a girl, why does she look like a boy?
Can I pretend to be a coyote?
Why did the dinosaurs die?
Why did God make holes?
Daddy says he is the boss. What’s a boss?
I really like answering that last one.
Some of his questions are actually pretty funny, and I try to answer each one to the best of my ability.
But explaining things like meteors, tornadoes and the eating habits of a grizzly bear can get pretty tough sometimes.
And James has gotten into the habit of asking the same questions over and over again.
I try to be patient and answer each and every question because I know my own mother went through the same thing with me.
I can remember asking hundreds of questions about space, if toys came to life, why bullies pick on you and if you could drink pop candy with soda pops.
But every now and then, I can tell you where James gets a lot of his questioning skills from these days.
What kind of hairdo is that?
How can I be of assistance?
I wasn’t listening. What did you say?
Why can’t he wear camouflage to church?
What’s up with your head? Are those curlers?
Where’s the remote?
Where did you stash my new hunting magazine?
Why do you move everything?
What’s wrong with what I’m wearing?
What do you mean, we have to entertain?
What’s the point of having placemats if I can’t eat on them?
Do we have to go?
Do we really need to buy all this?
These are questions I am bombarded with regularly by my husband Jason. I am sure James picks up them from time to time.
And usually a heavy sigh and a slight shake of my head answers the questions for him.
Walter Patterson Herald ColumnistFor several months, I have been warning that the presidential race is going to get ugly. If you follow the liberal media, it already has.
A Yahoo News executive was heard saying this about Mitt Romney at the Republican Convention last week: “Romney’s happy to have a party when black people drown.” David Chalian spoke these hateful words into an ABC open microphone. He was referring to hurricane Isaac and its track to hit New Orleans.
Yahoo fired him, as they should have, but the damage was done. These are the types of reporters covering the Republican Convention for the mainstream press. All are liberals. Most of them have little are no journalistic training, and most of them have been educated at liberal northeastern schools.
The Democrat Party and their colleagues in the press all prayed that Isaac would force the Republicans to call off their convention.
If you noticed the weather forecasts, you noticed that this storm was made to sound much worse than it actually was. Hurricanes have been hitting the Gulf Coast for thousands of years, yet Isaac was going to be the worst storm ever and the human suffering and deaths were going to be so great that no sensitive person, no humanitarian, no Christian could do anything but meekly submit to the weather. One headline even read: “Has Isaac ruined the Republican Convention?
Most of us can readily see why the Democrats wanted Isaac to prevent the Republican Convention from happening.
Even the most naïve among us know that if we stay on the present economic course, we are going to go over the “financial cliff.” Paul Ryan addressed this point eloquently Wednesday night when he gave his acceptance speech for Vice-President of the United States. “We don’t have much time,” he warned.
Should the United States go over the “financial cliff,” the amount of suffering by our people will be unequaled in the history of our country. There will be no entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, or food stamps. Banks will close. Most businesses will shut down. Cities and towns will be unable to pay their employees.
Things that we take for granted today will suddenly become luxuries. There will be riots in America’s largest cities because there will not be enough food to feed the people. Transportation will grind to a stop. Medical care will be non-existant.
The U. S. Government is presently training troops to deploy to urban areas to put down riots and control the masses of hungry people.
Agencies like Homeland Security and The Social Security Administration are buying huge amounts of ammunition, not for target practice or to train their officers, but to use against the populace when the ‘financial cliff’ finally consumes our economy.
The Republicans have a plan.
Unlike Barack Obama whose plan is to give us more of the same, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have an economic plan that will save our country from certain economic collapse.
Every week, new unemployment numbers come out, and each week, 375,000 of our fellow citizens lose their jobs.
Without a strong economy, this nation cannot reach its potential. Without a strong economy, our citizens cannot reach their full potential. Obama’s “big government” model will not work and cannot work. Only free market capitalism can save America from the ‘financial cliff,’ and this is a point not understood by Mr. Obama or his fellow Democrats. The re-distribution of your wealth is their only rallying point.
The last four years have not been kind to Americans. Obama and his socialists’ policies have steadily choked the economy down, and now, 23 million Americans are out of work.
With no accomplishment in his resume, Obama and his party must go negative – ugly, and lie. Without immediate change, as Paul Ryan stated Wednesday night, our great country will become a reflection of Greece, Spain, Italy, and the United Kingdom. “Are you better off today than you were four years ago? Absolutely not.
That is why it is time for a change in Washington. Romney and Ryan look like a good start.