Destination: Daingerfield State Park and Dallas, Texas
Small town Texas
In the 1880's traveling through this part of the country one would have to be on the lookout for bandits and comanches. Another concern would be how much water is in your canteen. Your senses would be much sharper as you would look and listen for any movement of anyone that could be quietly stalking you. These days as a modern pioneer it's men in uniform looking to make extra revenue, tattletales, and people who just don't like the looks of you that you have to look out for. Also rather than having a long ride in a bumpy, wooden coach we now have a built for comfort coach with all modern conveniences.
Daingerfield was our first stop. I was happy to learn that in Texas if you are going to fish a private pond or a lake in a state part you don't need a fishing license. We were camped right on a lake full of weeds and lily pads around the edges which meant Bass, along with a few lost rigs. We took the dogs for a walk when a very big man that was staying in a cabin with his family asked us about Maya. He told us how they had a dog that was 160 pounds. He was getting ready to take his boys out night fishing. There weren't many people camped out since it was a sunday night, so we pretty much had a lot of peace and quiet.
A dark and stormy night
Lonnie, the large guy from the cabin showed up to fish the next day, and joined me in conversation. Lonnie was arrested for robbery with a knife when he was a teenager, and spent most of his early twenties in prison. He told us how he found God two years before he got out, enlightened us on some of the corruption in the prison system, and about his struggles to get by with his family now. He had a positive hopeful spirit and a desire to learn. At around midnight we called it quits, leaving the pier with the feeling that we made some sincere friends, even if you only know them for a few hours.
The mist over lake Dainger
One thing that gave me a chuckle about Lonnie was not that he was such a big dude with a hundred and sixty pound dog, but what seemed small to him. He caught a few seven pound catfish the night before, but to him those fish were small. Fishing with him earlier in the day a guy caught a ten inch crappie, to which Lonnie commented, "Looks like you got a good fish for cut bait. He claims that where he lives near Cooper Lake that they are pulling thirty pound catfish out of the water. But along with it all I could tell that Lonnie was a guy with a big heart. He was working two jobs in two different towns to support his family, and like a lot of people struggling to get by. From talking to him I could tell he was a person in search of truth, and looking to better himself in any way that he could.
The fishing was slow most of the week, but one sunny day I thought I would give it a shot. A guy in his mid twenties joined me. He gave me a brush hog, which is pretty much a rubber lizard. I caught two large bass on that brush hog, and put them on my stringer. Nearby there was a family group fishing with worms and bobbers, and the kids were having the time of their life pulling these little two inch bait fish out of the water. One of the father's seemed more exited than the kids, "Hurry up and yank it Tucker!" I remembered when I was young how exiting it was for me to catch bluegill on a stick with some line and a hook someone gave me, so I am not going to downplay any of the joy someone could get even from the smallest fish. I just don't think you need to pull a monster out of the water to enjoy fishing. Nonetheless, the kids saw my bass and marvelled. Later the guy's wife commented on the size of my fish when the sourpuss had to say, "Those are barely legal!" I had a laugh to myself, let him know they were well over the 14 inch limit. His response was, "what are they....15 or 16 inches?"
Maya enjoying her bass dinner.
Like I said, it is not the spirit of a true fisherman to try and wreck how anyone feels about their catch. My fishing buddy told me they were more than likely yuppies from Dallas, and two days in a state park cabin was a big outdoor adventure for them. I didn't let it wreck my joy, and I gave one of the fish to my friend that had given me the brush hog. If a person is in a place that they need to attempt to wreck someone's happiness because they accomplished something, then they are doing themselves the most disservice. We all have days we get skunked in life in one department or another, if sometimes not all, and we all have days that just feel like it was our day. That's just the way it goes. If we see a neighbor have his day, we just wish him the best and be grateful for what we have.
We dropped into the Dallas area for a day and found some good mexican food. I was still hungry so I headed into the smokehouse next door and got a pulled pork sandwich which was worth the four dollars. Today on the way out of Texas we stopped at a roadside place run by an older woman that had jerky, fried pies, fudge, brisket, smoked cheese, and antiques. We got a little of everything, and I have to say the brisket was as good as it smelled. Even Hana commented that it smelled good, and she doesn't eat much meat outside of fish once and a while. We are going to spend a week in Oaklahoma and then go back through Texas next week, so we will have more about the Texas experience later.