You Shoulda Been Here Yesterday

During all of the years I lived in Houston I went fishing in various spots in Galveston Bay. More times than I can possibly remember.

I was shown some of the very best places to catch fish, where the good reefs were, how deep they were, and how to rig my line for specific fish that might be biting.

Among others I fished at Deep Reef, Carancahua Reef, Offatts Bayou, and the Texas City Dike.

I fished mostly out of a boat, but occasionally from the bank, and once or twice I tried wade fishing.

I tried live bait, dead bait, cut bait, and once even tried artificial bait.

Yet, in spite of all the different places and things I tried, I consistently ended the day with a nasty sunburn and…no fish. And almost without fail, when I returned to the bait camp with out any fish, someone would say, “You shoulda been here yesterday. There were so many fish they were practically jumping in the boat.”

Heavenly Sounds

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It may not make a lot of sense but it is a thing that happens often. You hear something but there is nothing evident that could make any sound. At least not in the narrow viewpoint that most of us have been brought up to embrace in this physical world.

There are many varied sounds in the realms of the supernatural. Sometimes the Music of the Spheres comes through. The depth and beauty of it is beyond description but if you ever hear it you’ll never forget the experience. Kind of a heavenly symphony from God.

At other times, a single sound may only be evident. The note of a flute. The gentle ringing of a bell, or sometimes, many bells. The roaring of waves breaking on a beach. A gentle breeze blowing through the trees or sometimes heavy, howling wind. Even the rumble of thunder may be heard at times. In many instances, if a person is in contemplation, the sound heard can give a clue as to what plane or realm is being visited. Your angel can supply that information if you ask. As you become more sensitive you may find that you occasionally hear some of those inner sounds mentioned above while you are in a fully awake physical state.

Keep those inner and outer ears open and sometime soon you may be blessed to hear some of those heavenly sounds. They put even the most beautifully composed music on earth in the shade.

Hurricane

It was back in the 1940s. There was a hurricane in the gulf and it was heading for Galveston. I can’t give the name of the storm because this was before the weather service started giving names to hurricanes.

After listening to the latest advisory my dad suggested we drive to Galveston and see what the gulf looked like when there was a storm coming. The forecast had said it wasn’t expected to make landfall until sometime during the coming night. Since it was then mid-morning we should have ample time to go there and get back out well before conditions started getting bad.

As we passed through La Marque, the last town on the mainland before the highway crossed the flats and then Galveston Bay via the causeway, the sky suddenly began to look ominous. My dad pulled over to the shoulder and stopped. Looking at the gray clouds he said he didn’t feel comfortable continuing on into Galveston.

My sister, several years older than me and always highly adventuresome, wanted to go on. I, on the other hand, felt afraid and said so. My sister glared at me and mumbled something about me being a scaredy-cat.

My mother pointed out that there didn’t seem to be any wind and it wasn’t raining. She thought the overcast sky didn’t look all that bad, especially since we were so near the coast.

My dad decided we would continue on to Galveston but if the weather started showing any signs of worsening we would turn around and leave immediately.

We drove across the causeway and as we turned onto 61st street and crossed Offatts Bayou my dad mentioned the wind must have picked up since the water looked somewhat choppy. We continued on and soon arrived at the gulf. He turned left onto Seawall Blvd. and after driving only a short distance he pulled into a parking space.

The surf was rough and the same color as the gray sky. My sister wanted to get out and go look over the seawall to see how close the waves were to the base. My mother said OK since the wind seemed to have died completely.

My sister asked me to come with her but I just shook my head. She gave me another disgusted look and got out of the car. She was almost to the edge of the seawall when the wind hit. At that particular location there was a railing that she was able to grab. Had it not been there she would have been blown off the seawall into the rocks and surf below.

She turned around and tried to come back to the car but the wind was blowing so hard it kept pushing her back against the railing. Finally, she got down on her hands and knees and was able to slowly crawl back to the car.

As soon as she was safe inside my dad said we needed to get away from there and started the engine. Just after we drove onto the causeway torrents of wind-driven rain started lashing the car. Because we were already on the bridge we couldn’t turn around or stop. Although he had the windshield wipers on full speed they were doing nothing to clear the glass. My mother pointed out the reason why. The wind was so strong it was actually lifting the wipers up and they weren’t even touching the windshield.

My dad discovered another worrisome thing that was happening. The bay was extremely rough and as the water crashed against the bridge pylons the wind was blowing the spray up through the expansion joints. He feared the water coming up from below might cause the engine to drown out. Fortunately the car kept running and we finally got across the causeway.

After fighting high wind gusts as we drove across the flats we suddenly reached the edge of the storm and found ourselves in fairly calm weather with only light rain falling. My dad drove about another mile and pulled off the road to try and settle his nerves. He had been gripping the steering wheel so hard his fingers were cramped and he had trouble straightening them.

While we were sitting there my mother turned on the radio just as the announcer said the hurricane was hitting Galveston at that very moment. My dad said, “No Kidding!”

The rain and wind started picking up so we headed for Houston. We arrived home and had enough time to get in the house and have some lunch before the storm arrived there and the power went off. Lucky us, we got to experience the hurricane twice.

And that was my introduction to the power of Mother Nature. It was a lesson I’ve never forgotten.

Surrounded By Noise

It can sometimes be a real challenge to be a writer and today it’s especially so.

The apartment next door is vacant and so the landlord is having it remodeled.

Add to that the next building to this one is being re-roofed.

So as I sit at the computer working on a story the carpenter is hammering and drilling on the other side of the wall behind me. At the same time about six roofing people are ripping chunks off of the top of the place next door and talking as loud as they possibly can.

If I can successfully write a coherent story while surrounded by all of this noise and confusion I’ll be surprised.

I have to admit though that so far the flow of words has continued quite smoothly.

Galveston Roller Coaster

One of my first adventures in Galveston, but definitely not one of my favorites, involved a roller coaster called the Mountain Speedway. It was located behind the Buccaneer Hotel on Seawall Blvd.

We had gone to the beach in the afternoon and afterward had a seafood dinner at Hill’s Restaurant. By the time we finished eating the sun had set. My sister wanted to go to the amusement park just a few blocks down the street so we headed that way.

As we neared the Buccaneer we caught sight of the roller coaster with all of its dips and curves outlined with small lights. My sister, who was several years older than me, just had to ride it. My mother and dad talked it over and decided that we would all ride it.

Now I was still quite young and didn’t know what a roller coaster was. Rather than several cars hooked together the Mountain Speedway used single cars that held about six people. My sister wanted to be in the front seat, of course, so my dad rode with her. My mother and I sat in the second seat.

Nobody told me what was going to happen but as we began the tow up to the top I began getting nervous. My mother used the diversion of pointing out how pretty the neon sign at the top was. That worked until we got up there and the car was released.

We screamed down the first dip and I totally freaked. My mother had to hold her hand over my eyes while at the same time hold me tight because I was shaking like a leaf.

It was the longest and scariest couple of minutes in my life.

I never rode the Mountain Speedway again. In fact I was in my late 20s before I rode any roller coaster again…and I didn’t enjoy that time either.

Port Bolivar Ferry

Taking the ferry from Galveston to the Bolivar Peninsula was something I really enjoyed and was part of just about every trip I made to Galveston.

I made the crossing many times in a car but usually I preferred to park in the adjacent parking lot and walk onto the ferry.

I have ridden it on early mornings when there is fog, noon and afternoon in the bright sunlight, and at night, which adds a kind of special quality to the trip.

On the daytime runs there are views of Seawolf Park on Pelican Island and the remains of the S.S. Selma, a sunken concrete ship partially visible above the waters of Galveston Bay.

Oh yes, and there are the ever present seagulls, flocking around the stern of the ferry and hoping for a bit of food. Warning…don’t get beneath them as they seem to have rather loose bowels.

Galveston

As far back as my memories go there was Galveston. The family went there often. We even went there one time when we shouldn’t have and got caught in a hurricane.

Even back in the early days there was always a variety of things to do. We used to go to Murdoch’s to swim because they had a bath house.

There was an arcade on Seawall Blvd. which my sister and I always wanted to visit. That worked for my mom and dad because there were also slot machines they could play.

Within walking distance, behind the Buccaneer Hotel was a big, scary roller coaster that I rode once…and only once. That is another story, as is the hurricane. I’ll tell them in later posts.

Even after I was married and moved from Dallas back to Houston, our place to go when we wanted to get away for awhile was always Galveston.

Although we live at Lake Tahoe now Galveston is still a special place to me and always will be. Quite often I go online and look at their live webcams.

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Caves

I’ve visited a number of caves over the years and as I sit here thinking about it there is one question that stands out.

That question is, “Why? Why did I go to all of those caves?”

I don’t like caves. I didn’t enjoy any of them. In fact, I was quite nervous the whole time I was in them. The idea of being far below the surface with all those tons of rock over my head gave me a case of “the willies.”

For someone who gets creeped out by caves I have gone through a lot of them. Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, Diamond Cave in Arkansas, and Cave of the Winds in Colorado. And in Texas I’ve visited Natural Bridge Caverns and Wonder Cave.

Now I will admit most of those caves were beautiful, but as I said, they were nerve wracking for me.

No more! Give me a nice and reasonably well lit nature trail through a forest and I’m happy.

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Pictures Of My Foot

Back when I was active professionally in photography a consistent problem I had was remembering whether or not I had advanced the film and cocked the shutter. As a result I would often point the camera down and press the release. About 50% of the time nothing would happen and I would then advance the film and take the picture. The rest of the times I would end up with an out of focus image of my foot.

At one point I tried turning the camera toward my face and looking but after temporarily blinding myself when the strobe went off right in front of my eyes I returned to collecting more photos of my foot.

It’s a habit I never have conquered. Even with digital cameras I still end up with images of my foot quite often.

How Not To Photograph A Creek

During the years I lived in the Dallas area my favorite spot to go on my days off was a neat little place in Oklahoma, not very far past the state line.

It’s called Turner Falls. The waterfall there is simply beautiful. There are lots of hiking trails and things to explore.

Adventures? Oh yeah, and on one visit I managed to have one that was typical. I was photographing the creek considerably below the falls and decided I wanted to get a view from the middle of the creek. It was rather shallow and I found a place where I could step on several large rocks and actually be right in the middle of the flow without getting wet.

As I stood there, intent on focusing my camera, a splash of cold creek water hit my right ankle. Without thinking I quickly moved my foot. My balance was already precarious and that sudden movement resulted in my rear-end landing in the icy cold water of the creek. The people who were watching said they had never seen such wild scrambling to get back to dry land. I wasn’t hurt but from the waist down I was wet and miserable.

By the way, just as I plopped into the creek I accidentally clicked the shutter. The resulting picture was of my left foot just as it hit the water.

That was the first and last time I ventured into the middle of a creek with a camera.