I return to my period of growth. Now, some of my new readers will have no idea what I’m talking about; those in the over 70 group could do it if they thought about it a bit.
We’re going to start this story for everyone at Gunter. This is for you new Gunterites and those of us who remember those old days. I don’t know how long ago it started, but on Saturday Gunter had drawings downtown, sometimes we had turtle races too. I even entered a turtle or two.
They were all painted with numbers; if I recall they were a big draw. The first turtle to emerge from the big circle received a special gift from the owner. I had moved to Gunter in first grade and always looked forward to going downtown on a Saturday. I think I’m right about most of that. If I’m not mistaken, you can talk to me at Gunter’s football games this year.
The reason this event was so popular was that merchants offered special items for that day to attract people. They had a large rolling cage on the sidewalk. Now a question for any of you older Gunterites reading this: did people put in money for the design or did the merchants?
When all the names were thrown around and it was time to draw, an innocent child, nine times out of ten it was a girl, was chosen to draw one. They would reach out and pull one out. I don’t know what the other towns did on Saturday but there was money given for the names on the papers.
Lots of things from all the stores were laid out on the sidewalk, it was also a time when adult friends gathered to talk.
Not to be outdone, between Gunter and Van Alstyne was a good sized grocery store owned by Bill Barrett. It was in the middle of nowhere and its only competition was the Baptist Church down the street. My uncle Clifton was the pastor and he often traded religion for food. He and his wife, my Aunt Normale, and my two or three cousins were usually invited to someone’s house for a Sunday fried chicken dinner after church.
Someday I’ll tell you how to get the most out of a preacher and spanking me. Return to Bill Barrett’s store; it was the only one in Grayson County on the 121 between Gunter and Van Alstyne. It was also close to Collin County and people who lived south of Bill’s Store in Weston and the near and far vicinity usually came to shop on Saturdays.
At one time, there were two bridges over East Fork Creek which greatly reduced the travel time to his store. Sadly today all that remains of Elmont are a few houses, a fine Mexican restaurant near where Barrett’s Grocery once stood, and the church my Uncle Clifton tried to drown me in – at least it was. was what I thought.
I think he could have seen from afar. He could probably see that I would need a lot of help in the future and that’s why I had two dips in the big tub where everyone seemed to have one. Now Mr Barrett’s store also had a gimmick on certain Saturdays to attract even more people. These events were all different, but my fondest memory of one of them was when he offered food baskets to anyone who could catch a guinea fowl.
When the time came, a man came out at the top of the store with a cage full of them. I bragged about how many I could catch, my Grandpa and Grandma Webb were smiling I’m sure. I stood on the outskirts of the crowd ready to fetch me a bird.
I didn’t know they could fly better than run. Some of them were probably in Oklahoma before they landed. That’s how it grew in the country. Today, I would go back and relive those moments if I could.
Now for the fishing – talking to one of the guides he said live bait was harder to get now than it had been. If you can find him and keep him alive, you’ll catch stripers. Lure fishing is another way of fishing. If you just wander around, you’ll likely find scattered shoals of stripers and sandbass.
Big slabs and deep swim baits and big Heddon Spooks or Pin Poppers on top will get bitten. Looking for Striper Top aquatic baits, head over to LureNet.com and then head over to Creek Chub Baits to see all of their lures. Trolling is another lazy way to catch stripers and sandbass.
If you get out early enough and walk down around the dam boat ramp, many boats will follow the stripers up the cliff towards Grandpappy. Come in and join them – they probably won’t say anything; don’t rush at them.
Now the basses are another story, they are a bit harder to find. Me and some very good fishing friends are all having trouble finding them. Tuesday I went out and covered a lot of super nice bass water. I only caught three and missed 1 more. Two were sturdy little three-pound mouths.
I let the sun chase me from the lake around 10 a.m. Sunfish are also slow. I can catch a few at the fish market, but not like I should. If I fished them, I would look for deep water with brush. I use a 1/16 oz. Blakemore Road Runner with Bobby Garland plastic lure.
It has a super slow fall. If you don’t get a bite on the way down, gently lift it off the bottom and swim it around; if there is no bite this way, slowly raise it upwards. Also try changing the colors of the baits.