Tadpole's Outdoor Blog

December 29, 2013

“THE CHRISTMAS SONG THAT ALMOST WASN’T” BY: NEAL MURPHY

Filed under: Neal Murphy — Freddie Keel @ 6:44 am

 

 

Many secular Christmas songs have been written over the years, some successful, but most never made it to the big time.  The second most popular song behind Bing Crosby’s White Christmas almost didn’t get recorded.  Had it not been for Gene Autry’s wife, Ina, the little song may have languished for lack of attention and faded away into the trash can of history.

gene_autry

In 1939 a little poem was written by Robert L. May for Montgomery Ward’s annual holiday booklet giveaway.  It was a story of an outcast reindeer whose “differences” ultimately helped him save Santa’s threatened sleigh ride on Christmas Eve.  To everyone’s surprise the poem sold over one hundred thousand copies.

May’s brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, took the poem and composed a melody in 1947 and tried in vain to sell it to several popular singers, including Bing Crosby, Perry Como, and Dinah Shore, who all rejected it.  By a stroke of luck, Gene Autry’s wife, Ina, heard Mark’s demo record and was enchanted by its “Ugly Duckling” theme. She strongly encouraged Gene to record it as a companion song to his Here Comes Santa Claus record.  But her husband hated the song and refused to record it.

It became widely acknowledged that if not for Ina, there would be no “Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer” by Gene Autry. Carl Cotner, Gene’s musical director also tried to talk Gene into recording it.  Carl had told Gene he thought it would be a good song for him, and Carl did the arrangement.rudolphAt a recording session Gene said, “How about that little song that you are so crazy about?”  They placed it on the music stand and he recorded it in one take.  It was later admitted that Ina had talked Gene into doing it.  Five weeks later, on August 4th, Gene cut two more Christmas numbers, Santa, Santa, Santa and If It Doesn’t Snow On Christmas which had moderate success.

“Rudolph” became a favorite on The Hit Parade and soared to the top of the Billboard Country and Western, and Pop charts, a first for Gene Autry.  During its first year of release, “Rudolph” sold two million copies, selling an estimated twenty-five million more over the next forty years.  For decades it remained the best selling single of all time after Bing Crosby’s White Christmas.  The song also anticipated a new trend for Gene – recording songs specifically geared to the children’s market.  Over the years “Rudolph” would be recorded by more than five hundred artists, but Gene’s version always seemed to be everyone’s favorite.

“RUDOLPH the RED-NOSED REINDEER”

You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen,

Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen,

But do you recall the most famous reindeer of all?

Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer

Had a very shiny nose,

And if you ever saw it

You would even say it glows.

All of the other reindeer

Used to laugh and call him names,

They never let poor Rudolph

Join in any reindeer games.

Then one foggy Christmas Eve

Santa came to say,

Rudolph, with your nose so bright

Won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?

Then how the reindeer loved him

As they shouted out with glee,

Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer

You’ll go down in history. *

Composer: Johnny Marks – 1949

December 23, 2013

Draining Water from your boat

Filed under: Uncategorized — Freddie Keel @ 7:48 am

Public Comment Sought on Adding Counties to Rules Requiring Draining Water from Vessels

AUSTIN – In the state’s ongoing effort to combat the spread of invasive zebra mussels, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission has approved for public comment a proposal to add 30 counties in North and Central Texas to the recently-implemented rules requiring that all boats operating on public water be drained after use.

Additional counties being considered for vessel draining requirements are: Archer, Bastrop, Bell, Bosque, Burnet, Clay, Comal, Comanche, Coryell, Eastland, Ellis, Erath, Falls, Fayette, Freestone, Hamilton, Hays, Henderson (west of Hwy 19), Hill, Johnson, Leon, Limestone, Llano, McLennan, Navarro, Robertson, Somervell, Travis, Wichita, and Williamson.

The water draining regulations were implemented December 10 and are in effect on all public waters in Collin, Cooke, Dallas, Denton, Fannin, Grayson, Hood, Jack, Kaufman, Montague, Palo Pinto, Parker, Rockwall, Stephens, Tarrant, Wise, and Young counties. These same regulations are also in place on an emergency basis in Belton and Coryell counties.

The current rules require that persons leaving or approaching public water in the affected counties drain all water from their vessels and on-board receptacles. This applies to all types and sizes of boats whether powered or not, personal watercraft, sailboats, or any other vessel used to travel on public waters.

Applicable in all areas where boats can be launched, the regulation requires the draining of live wells, bilges, motors, and any other receptacles or water-intake systems coming into contact with public waters.

Under the current rules, live fish cannot be transported in water that comes from the water body where they were caught and personally caught live bait can be used only in the water body where it was caught.

The department is proposing to modify rules that affect participants in fishing tournaments that hold off-site weigh-ins. The proposed changes would allow anglers participating in a fishing tournament confined to one water body to transport live fish in water from that single water body to an identified weigh-in location, provided all water is drained before leaving that location. Anglers would be required to possess documentation provided by tournament organizers that would identify them as participants in a tournament.

Movement from one access point to another on the same lake during the same day does not require draining and there is an exception for governmental activities and emergencies. Marine sanitary systems are not covered by the new regulations.

Anglers are allowed to transport and use commercially purchased live bait in water provided they have a receipt that identifies the source of the bait. Any live bait purchased from a location on or adjacent to a public water body that is transported in water from that water body could only be used as bait on that same water body.

The public may comment on the proposed rules online at http://tpwd.texas.gov/business/feedback/public_comment/proposals/201401_water_draining.phtml.

Comment may also be made in writing to Ken Kurzawski, TPWD Inland Fisheries, 4200 Smith School Rd., Austin, TX 78744, by email at ken.kurzawski@tpwd.texas.gov, or in person at any of the following two public hearings.

All meetings are set to begin at 7:00 pm.

  • Tuesday, January 7 in Austin at TPWD Headquarters, Commissioners Hearing Room, 4200 Smith School Rd..
  • Thursday, January 9 in Waco at the McLennan County Courthouse, Commissioners’ Courtroom – 1st Floor, 501 Washington Ave..

December 22, 2013

“THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS” BY: NEAL MURPHY

Filed under: Neal Murphy — Freddie Keel @ 6:48 am

 

 

In December we begin to hear many radio stations play the famous, old Christmas carols that we all love to hear.  Most of these carols or hymns are very old and tell the true story of the Christmas season and the real reason for the season.  One of these songs is “The Twelve Days of Christmas” which predates most of the other carols as it was first published in 1780.  As examples, “Silent Night” was written around 1818, while “O Little Town of Bethlehem” was penned in 1868.

 

Most people view “The Twelve Days of Christmas” as a delightful nonsense rhyme set to music.  It has a repetitious melody with pretty phrases and a list of strange gifts.  But, the song had a quite serious purpose when it was written.

 

“The Twelve Days of Christmas” was written in England as one of the “catechism songs” to help young Christian Catholics learn the tenets of their faith.  Catholics in England during the period 1558 to 1829, when Parliament finally emancipated Catholics in England, were prohibited from any practice of their faith by law, private or public.  It was a crime to be a Catholic.  In fact, you could get imprisoned, hanged, or your head chopped off if you practiced your Catholic faith.

 

The song’s gifts are hidden meanings to the teachings of the faith.  The “true love” mentioned in the song doesn’t refer to an earthly suitor.  It refers, instead, to God Himself.  The “me” who received the presents refers to every baptized believer.  The “partridge in a pear tree” is Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge which feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, in memory of the expression of Christ’s sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: “Jerusalem!  Jerusalem!  How often would I have sheltered thee under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but thou wouldst not have it so…..”

 

The other symbols, or gifts in the song, mean the following:

 

2 Turtle Doves – The Old and New Testament.

3 French Hens – Faith, Hope, and Charity, (the Theological Virtues).

4 Calling Birds – The four Gospels.

5 Golden Rings – The first five books of the Old Testament (the Pentateuch) which gives the history of man’s fall from grace.

6 Geese-a-laying – The six days of creation.

7 Swans-a-swimming – The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.

8 Maids-a-milking – The eight beatitudes.

9 Ladies Dancing – The nine fruits of the Holy Spirit.

10 Lords-a-leaping – The ten commandments.

11 Pipers Piping – The eleven faithful Apostles.

12 Drummers Drumming – The twelve points of doctrine of the Apostle’s Creed.

 

The twelve days of Christmas actually refer not to the days preceding December 25th, but to the twelve days after Christmas, i.e. December 26th to January 6th, which is the day before the Epiphany.

 

Interestingly, some one has calculated the cost or value of all the gifts in the song in the year 2011, which would total $24,263.18.  Of course, that would be earthly value and not the Heavenly value.

 

So, the next time you sing “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, you might have a greater appreciation of the lyrics and their true, hidden, meaning.

December 18, 2013

On The Bright Side – Mary Howell

Filed under: Mary Howell — Freddie Keel @ 6:13 am

 

Let us remember that Jesus is the “reason for the season”.  We can rejoice in His birth, life, death and resurrection.  Jesus makes the difference in our lives and brings life, hope and peace to all who believe in Him.

 

One Solitary Life

He was born in an obscure village

The child of a peasant woman

He grew up in another obscure village

Where He worked in a carpenter shop

Until he was thirty.

 

He never wrote a book

He never held an office

He never went to college

He never visited a big city

He never traveled more than two hundred miles

From the place where He was born

He did none of the things

Usually associated with greatness

He had no credentials but himself.

 

He was only thirty-three

 

His friends ran away

One of them denied Him

He was turned over to his enemies

And went through the mockery of a trial

He was nailed to a cross between two thieves

While dying, his executioners gambled for the clothing

The only property he had on earth.

 

When he was dead

He was laid in a borrowed grave

Through the pity of a friend.


Nineteen centuries have come and gone

And today Jesus is the central figure of the human race

And the leader of mankind’s progress

All the armies that have ever marched

All the navies that have ever sailed

All the parliaments that have ever sat

All the kings that ever reigned put together

Have not affected the life of mankind on earth

As powerfully as that one solitary life.

 

May God bless you with a joyous Christmas season.

December 15, 2013

“RED NECKS AND GOOD OLE BOYS” BY: NEAL MURPHY

Filed under: Neal Murphy — Freddie Keel @ 6:37 am

 

 

East Texas is an area of the country in which “red necks” and “good ole boys” live, along with most of the deep southern states.  I know some of them and I suspect that you do as well.  Most people think that the “red necks” and the “good ole boys” are one in the same.  They are mistaken as there are notable differences.  I will list a few of the differences here.

We might begin by defining what a “red neck” person is.  The term dates way back to the early 1800s when uneducated white people worked in the fields all day.  Their skin, particularly the neck area, would take on a reddish hue due to sun exposure.  Thus, they were called “red necks” by the upper class folk.  They usually lived in small, rural towns, were known to drink a lot, and were offensive in other ways.

Around 1920 the use of the term was popular in the coal-producing states of West Virginia and Kentucky.  Striking coal workers usually wore red hankies around their necks to reflect their position to management.  Thus they were called “red necks” by non-union people.

redneck

Jeff Foxworthy has given us a number of ways to describe a “red neck”. You might be a one if:

You think loading your dishwasher means getting your wife drunk.

You cut your grass and find a car.

You think the stock market has a fence around it.

Your stereo speakers used to belong to the drive-in theatre.

You own a home-made fur coat.

The Salvation Army rejected your mattress.

Birds are attracted to your beard.

Your school fight song was “Dueling Banjos”.

You keep a can of Raid on your kitchen table.

The tail light covers on your car are made of red tape.

Good Ole boys, on the other hand, are the sons of Red Necks, usually from eighteen to thirty-five years old.  Good Ole Boys are normally from the Deep South and they like cheap beer, NASCAR, football, professional wrestling, hunting and fishing, and country music.  They usually carry a personal spit cup on their person while chewing their tobacco.

redneck1

They are not necessarily bad persons, but occasionally are portrayed as racist, though many could care less, aside from cracking a racist joke with his buddies.  Good Ole Boys are generally all about having a good time.  They may speed to impress a girl they’re taking on a date, but won’t hit and run.  They may have a few beers to impress her later at the bar, or even get in a fight there, but won’t get so drunk that he can’t drive her home.

Good Ole Boys most often drive a rusty muscle car or a four-wheel-drive pick up.  They are not looked upon as a bad person, in fact most are pretty good-natured guys.  He is a Southern-born boy who is country to the core and proud of it.  He likes to hunt and could not be prouder of his gun collection.  He carries one knife in his pocket, and another one in his boot, in case the one in his pocket gets confiscated.  The Good Ole Boy is a hard-working, honest gentleman who prefers the simple life and is just looking for a girl he can take shooting.

As one single country girl put it, “On our first date, he showed me a picture of him pulling a bullet out of a deer’s heart.  He said he keeps it on his desk.”

So, there you have the low-down on the difference between a Red Neck and a Good Ole Boy that perhaps you had never thought about.  Are you personally acquainted with any of them?

December 13, 2013

All Time Largest Typical Whitetail Deer – # 12

Filed under: Fishing & Hunting — Freddie Keel @ 6:15 am

12. Brad Jerman

A giant rack will do strange things to a man. Just ask Brad Jerman, who tried sleeping in his tripod stand after spotting the buck of his dreams. After a few hours Jerman came to his senses, crawled back home for some sleep and then went back for another go-round at 3 a.m. He literally crawled back to his blind for the second time in 12 hours to avoid detection. Jerman’s crazy scheme worked, however, as later that morning he killed this 201 1/8 B&C trophy in Warren Co., Ohio, and the No. 12 typical whitetail of all time.

12_bradley_jerman

December 12, 2013

On The Bright Side – Mary Howell

Filed under: Mary Howell — Freddie Keel @ 6:50 am

 

 

 

Christmas time brings back wonderful memories of happy times during my childhood days.  Since my Dad was a minister, the month of December focused on a variety of church activities.

 

We got into the Christmas spirit early and put up the Christmas tree on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  Our tree was filled with treasured ornaments.  Some were handmade by my sisters, Jane and Clara.  The old fashioned bubble lights and shiny icicles were like putting the icing on the cake. They gave our tree a beautiful sparkle!

 

Mom started the tradition of making a handmade stocking for everyone in the family as sons-in-law and grandchildren became a part of the family.  Stockings were added for each new addition.  Mom took the time to hand embroidery the names with green thread to make the red stockings more beautiful.

 

Jane, Clara and I took delight in putting up Mom’s manger scene.  Each character looked authentic.  Now our manger scene is more than 75 years old and still holds a special place in our heart.

 

Another Howell tradition was to hang a wreath of mistletoe above  a prominent doorway.  When someone got caught under the mistletoe, we would rush to give them an unexpected kiss.

 

Every year, we looked forward to the annual Christmas pageant at church.  When Jane and Clara were youngsters, they played angels in the pageants.  Then when I came along, I also donned a tin foil halo and sparkly wings that were made by our mother.  I now treasure a photo of being dressed as an angel which was made when I was 8 years old. The photo was among the keepsakes of Pansy Adickes and was given to me in recent years by her daughter, Sharon Crowell.

Christmas parties were also fun for us but one that stands out in my memory was the Christmas in August party that my mother gave for the church children.  She would make her own Christmas tree out of chicken wire and pine limbs since August was not the time for Christmas trees. The children would bring a small gift to send to a missionary in South America.  The gifts would arrive just in time for Christmas.

 

Above all, the most important part of Christmas was sharing God’s love with others. We got joy out of sharing the story of Jesus with our friends and loved ones.  We got special joy in selecting a gift that represents Christ’s love.

 

Let us remember that Jesus is the “Reason for the Season” and let us be sure to put Christ back into Christmas.

December 8, 2013

“THE UNMASKED MAN” BY: NEAL MURPHY

Filed under: Neal Murphy — Freddie Keel @ 6:32 am

 

One of my very favorite programs when I was just a kid was “The Lone Ranger”.  In the early 1950s I listened to the former Texas Ranger fight the evil men of the western frontier every week.  In 1952 my dad purchased a new Bendix television set from Tom Saunders and I was able to watch Clayton Moore riding his white stallion, Silver, yelling “Hi Yo Silver – Away” and gallop into the sunset.  He never shot to kill the evil doers, but only to disarm them as painlessly as possible. To add a bit of mystery to the program, the Lone Ranger always wore a black mask, and left a silver bullet at the scene of the solved crime.  Someone would invariably ask no one in particular the question, “Who was that masked man?”

lone_ranger

I remember the Lone Ranger’s side-kick, his faithful friend and fellow crime fighter, Tonto.  He played an American Indian who called the ranger “Ke-mo-sah-bee”, which means “trusted friend”.  Tonto did not wear a mask, and little is known of the actor who played this part for many years.  His stage name was Jay Silverheels.  He was born Harold J. Smith on May 26, 1912 in Ontario, Canada.  He was born on the Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation near Brantford, Ontario, one of eleven children.  His father, Major George Smith, was a Canadian Mohawk tribal chief and military officer.

tonto

Silverheels excelled in athletics and lacrosse before leaving home to travel around North America.  He lived in Buffalo, New York, and in 1938 placed second in the middleweight class of the Golden Gloves tournament.

While playing in Los Angeles on a touring box lacrosse team in 1937, he impressed the comedian Joe E. Brown with his athleticism.  Brown encouraged Silverheels to do a screen test, which led to an acting career.  He then began working in motion pictures as an extra and stunt man.  Beginning in late 1940, he played in several major films under the names Harold Smith and Harry Smith.

Silverheels achieved his greatest fame as the Long Ranger’s friend, Tonto. Being irreplaceable, he also appeared in the films, The Lone Ranger (1956) and The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold (1958).  Silverheels’ movie name Tonto means “wild one”.  He rode a horse named “Scout” along side the Lone Ranger.

When the Lone Ranger television series ended in 1955, Silverheels found himself firmly typecast as an American Indian.  In 1960 he portrayed an Indian fireman trying to extinguish a forest fire in an episode of the series Rescue 8.  Eventually, he had to go to work as a salesman to supplement his acting income.

In the ensuing years he had a few bit parts in low budget movies, usually playing an Indian.  Silverheels spoofed his Tonto character in later years.  He was and educated man, but his part required him to speak using only a few halting phrases which he disliked.

Silverheels raised, bred, and raced horses in his spare time. Once when asked about possibly running Tonto’s famous paint horse, Scout, in a race, Jay laughed off the idea –   “Heck, I can outrun Scout!”  Married in 1945, Silverheels was the father of three girls and one boy.  He died in 1980 from complications of a stroke at the age of 67 in Calabasas, California.  He was cremated at Chapel of the Pines Crematory and his ashes returned to the Six Nations Indian Reserve.

As the first true American Indian actor to gain such fame, Silverheels was inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City in 1993.  He was named to the Western New York Entertainment Hall of Fame, and his portrait hangs in Buffalo, New York’s Shea’s Buffalo Theatre.  He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  In 1997 Silverheels was inducted, under the name Harry “Tonto” Smith, into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of fame in the Veteran Player category in recognition of his lacrosse career during the 1930s.

As it turns out, the man without the mask achieved as much or more fame during his life than did the Lone Ranger himself.  Such is life.

December 4, 2013

On The Bright Side – Mary Howell-12/4/13

Filed under: Mary Howell — Freddie Keel @ 6:28 am

 

The arrival of December brings Christmas into focus.  Most of us are scurrying to do shopping for our loved ones and friends.  Parents are busy trying to help Santa Claus find the perfect gift for their children.

 

December was originally the tenth month and was named for “decem” which means “ten”.  It was later changed to the twelfth month of the year.

 

In the Northern Hemisphere, December marks the beginning of winter which brings rain, wind and snow.  December 21 is the shortest day and the longest night in the year and is known as Winter Solstice.

 

The gemstone for December is turquoise, the flower is the narcissus and the Christmas flower is the poinsettia.

 

Here are some funny superstitions for December:

 

Marry on December third

For all the grief you ever heard.

 

If you take a candle to church, don’t bring it home.

Blow it out and leave it there.

 

On Christmas Eve, all animals can speak.

However, it is bad luck to test this out.

 

A child born on Christmas day will have a special future.

 

Wearing new shoes on Christmas Day will bring bad luck.

 

If a girl raps on a hen house door on Christmas day and

A rooster crows, she will marry within the year.

 

These funny superstitions have been passed down from generation to generation.  Hopefully, they will make you smile.

 

Walt Disney and Clara Barton were born in December but the most significant person ever born was Jesus Christ. 

 

The most favorite Christmas carol was Silent Night which was first rendered on December 25, 1818 having been composed by Joseph Mohr and Franz Gruber.

 

Silent Night, Holy Night

All is calm, all is bright

Round yon virgin, mother and child

Holy infant so tender and mild.

Sleep in Heavenly peace

Sleep in Heavenly peace.

 

Silent Night, Holy Night

Son of God, Love’s pure light

Radiant beams from Thy holy face

With the dawn of redeeming grace

Jesus, Lord at thy birth

Jesus, Lord at thy birth.

 

May the days of December fill your heart with Christmas joy.

 

December 4, 2013

December 2, 2013

All Time Largest Typical Whitetail Deer – # 11

Filed under: Fishing & Hunting — Freddie Keel @ 6:42 am

11. Wayne Bills

As a rookie deer hunter, Wayne Bills had one of the best cases of beginner’s luck in recent memory. Bills, who hadn’t killed a deer before 1974, heard shots a few hills over and turned to see what the commotion was all about. Bills saw the buck headed his way in a hurry and took aim with his shotgun. Bills made the fateful shot, killing the No. 11 typical whitetail of all time, scoring 201 4/8 B&C from the state of Iowa. Interestingly enough, the buck had a broken brow tine but was still able to place high in the record book.

11_wayne_bills

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