Monday, October 7, 2013


I have two different cameras set up on our hunting lease. One is on the South side of the property and one is on the North side. If the pictures that I have been getting for the past month or so tell any kind of story, then I will be hunting on the South side. This camera has produced nothing but bucks for me to look at. In fact, I can just about name them by now. They come to this feeder every night and there is usually more than one there at a time. They range in size from this 11 point all the way down to a small spike, with every size in between. There is even one buck that is messed up on one side. He may have to go. The 11 is on my hit list. I hope to catch him chasing a doe in early November when the rut is in full swing. Since I have no daytime pictures of him, that may be my only hope. Enjoy the shots!

Hello Dad!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Rocking September!

My son has had a pretty good month. In my last entry, I wrote about my little man killing his first dove. I actually didn't get to see it as I was falling over my blind, but he shot and the bird fell and he picked it up, so I know it happened. As we sat in a VERY hot dove field this past Saturday, my little dove slayer struck again, and this time I had a front row seat. He gets it honest! He is following a family tradition that goes back several generations. He loves bird hunting. You can tell by the picture above that he is focused in on only one thing. Wackin' and stackin'! While some of his other buddies are in the field chasing bugs or digging in the dirt with complaints of the heat, this boy is constantly looking for a chance to fire his gun and make his Daddy and Papa proud. He is patiently waiting for the day that I will allow him more than one shell at a time in his youth model pump.

I was trying to give him some shots at closer birds, but they were still a little far out of his effective range. I downed one and went out for the retrieve. As I made my way back to the blind, a super floater was headed towards the blind and Reid already had him spotted. The bird sailed right over our set-up and Reid stood, shouldered his gun, aimed, fired, and followed through as the bird fell in a cloud of grey feathers! A very clean kill that was witnessed by everyone sitting in our general area. He chest was poked out with pride as he retrieved his kill to the sounds of hooping and hollering from his fellow hunting partners! It was a good day!
I took the opportunity to try and teach him a life lesson. I could tell that he was really enjoying himself, so I told him that as long as he did well in school and as long as he did what was right, then I would always take him hunting! I hope it sinks in!

My little man is also enjoying a good early soccer season. His team is currently 3-1 and he has scored a goal in all three victories.

I just hope that the next few months will continue to be as good as this one!  Rock on Son!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Tis the Season!

This past Saturday was the opening day of dove season and hopefully the re-opening of this blog. It has been a busy summer, but I have not really had many blog-worthy moments to share with all of you. Now that hunting season is here, I hope that I will have some stories from the field to encourage some page views in this dying publication. The first hunting story of this young season comes to you from a very proud Daddy!

My son Reid is shown above holding his very first dove kill. He shot this bird while it was flying with his youth model Remington 870 pump shotgun. I had been giving him one shell at a time so that he could try and shoot a bird off of the ground. The birds were coming pretty fast and I would not let him shoot. I didn't want him to get frustrated, so I was waiting on a super floater to better his chances. A bird flew over and I raised to shoot. I missed with the first shot and the bird circled hard right. I turned to fire my second shot and missed again. I kept turning and I felt my chair tip out from under me. As I was taking the blind and myself to the ground while trying to keep my shotgun pointing in a safe direction, I heard Reid's gun go off. I looked around in a slight panic to make sure he was alright as I heard him say "I got 'em!!" He put his gun down and ran to where the bird had fallen, picked him up and did a little victory dance! He was so proud of his first kill and so was I.

We went on to kill the limit and called it a very good day!!  What a great way start to what I hope is going to be a very good hunting season!

Tis the season fellow hunters!  Good luck!!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Why This Baseball Player Really Likes Soccer!

Growing up in South Georgia, if you were an athlete you played three sports.  Football, baseball and basketball.  Sometimes you ventured out into track, wrestling, tennis or golf, but for the most part you stuck with one of these three.  If you did happen to come across a soccer ball, you found three bases to use and a mean game of kickball just might break out!  Soccer just wasn't our thing.  For me, my first and only true love was my baseball glove and bat, but I will tell you today that I am really glad that my son loves soccer along with being an All-star baseball player.

Reid just finished his 4th year of soccer camp with Challenger Sports.  It is a week long camp that teaches soccer skills and teamwork.  The camp is taught by instructors from across the pond who really know how the game is played.  We have had coaches from England, Scotland, Whales, and Spain to name a few.  They will spend their summer in the United States going from camp to camp making kids from 4 to 16 years old better soccer players.  I think it is great for the game and the kids love it!

So why does this baseball nut of a father love the fact that my kid plays soccer?  Because here in the South, the game is still pure for these kids.  Us as parents for the most part are uneducated about the game of soccer, therefore we don't feel the need to constantly try and "coach" from the sidelines.  Kids are encouraged to just go out and have fun playing the game.  We are excited when our child kicks the ball no matter what little effect it may have in the outcome of the game.  We encourage the "team" to play as a team.  The defense is just as important as the offense.  It is a game in constant motion where if a mistake is made, there is very little time to dwell on it.  A tie games is considered a great contest!

No take a look at little league baseball.  Every parent thinks they know how to play baseball.  Never mind the fact that they have never stepped foot on the diamond.  They have been watching the Braves for years, therefore they know all there is to know.  They have also never spent any time with their son playing catch in the yard, but they expect the coach to recognize the natural ability flowing out of their child's pores and ask why he isn't starting at shortstop!  Parents are constantly putting pressure on their kids to do better, hit it further, make the catch, run faster, do it the way I taught you (even though it is wrong), don't listen to the umpire, he is an idiot, and on and on and on.

My son has been playing soccer for 5 years.  I coached him for the first 4.  I know enough about the game to try and teach kids to have fun, get in open space for good passes and good shots, play hard defense, etc, but I really don't consider myself to know how to coach soccer.  I have also coached baseball for 6 years.  I know the game of baseball.  I know how to coach kids to play this game the right way.  I think I am a good coach.  I can tell you that my fondest coaching memories come from the soccer field.  I have never had a conflict with a soccer parent.  I have never had a soccer parent complain to me about where their child was playing or why I chose that strategy.  Again, parents for the most part don't know any more about the game than I do.  It is still pure!

Soccer kids are great kids!  You don't have to be the biggest kid.  You don't have to be the fastest kid.  You don't have to be the most gifted athlete to play the game.  In fact, I know a kid that struggles pretty bad at baseball, but he is a good runner that has a lot of hustle, so he makes for a pretty good soccer defender!  Any kid has an opportunity to contribute to their soccer team. I think that's awesome!

So play on Son!  Even though your father was and still is a baseball nut, I have to admit that I really enjoy watching you play soccer and it might just be my new favorite sport!

Here's to a great week!  Can't wait until next year! 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

So, What Have I Been Up Too??

Baseball, baseball, baseball!!!  It really is a way of life.  Pictured above is the 2013 9-10 year old Fitzgerald All-Star baseball team.  We have had a busy month!  Reid (middle front)was the starting pitcher and played some games at second base.  We competed in 3 different tournaments and several practice games with neighboring counties.  We practiced everyday we were not playing.  It was a lot of baseball for a great group of kids and I hope that they have learned something!

Our season ended last week and that has allowed our family to try and get back to a normal life.  No longer am I running home early to get to the ball park.  No longer will I be living off of sunflower seeds and Gatorade.  No longer will we have to wash a uniform every other night!  It will be a much needed break!  It is back to fresh cooked vegetables and lean meat on the grill!  It is back to evening walks to provide exercise and weight loss due to ball park hot dogs and french fries.  It is back to reading good books and watching the Braves.  It is back to actually spending some quality time with my wife and daughter!

So is the life of having active kids!  I wouldn't have it any other way!  In fact, it has been less than a week and I already kind of miss it.  Won't be long's almost time for......

Camp starts next week!  Bring it on!!

Have a great 4th everybody!!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

It's Been a Great Season!

The 2013 9-10 year old Giants finished the season as league runner-up.  After making our way through the season ending tournament in the winners bracket, we had to face the mighty Phillies in the championship game, and what a game it was!  After spectacular defensive play by both teams, the score was tied after 6 innings at 1-1 and everyone was treated to free baseball!  4 more innings to be exact!  The final score was 2-1 in favor of the Phillies in 10!

We fought hard in the second game but came up a little short in a 13-9 effort.  Our kids never gave up against a team that was clearly the best team in the league.  The Giants finished the season with a 10-5 record.  Our record against the Phillies???.........1-4.  They sort of had our number along with every one else.  They finished the season with a record of 13-2!  Congrats to the Phillies!

Reid had a very solid year, especially in the field!  He is shown here holding his "Golden Glove" trophy that he earned by having the best defensive stats on our team.  We decided early in the season that we wanted to honor some of the kids that excelled on the team and we kept stats on everything from fielding to base running.  We gave a trophy for best defense, best offensive numbers, Team MVP (which was a combination of the two), and a coaches award for the kid that showed the best attitude towards his coaches and his team.  This was a great team to coach because it was full of some really great kids!  In fact, at the recent school honors night, 8 out of our 12 boys were honored in some way, with 6 of them being recognized for having all A's for every quarter for this school term.  Makes us coaches proud!

Reid is also shown holding a sports devotional book titled "Have Fun, Try Hard, and Play Fair".  We wanted to give the kids something that they could use to help them become better young men.  A trophy will eventually loose it's shine, but lessons about how to live a Christian life will last a lifetime!  The book has 365 daily devotions related to sports and how that relates to living your everyday life for God.  Several of the boys got emotional after the game and I have had several parents call me and say that they couldn't believe a group of coaches would care that much for their kid.  I'll be the first to admit that I did not want to coach a team this year, but this team was worth it in every way!

To Coach Hal and Coach Stan-  I'll coach with you guys anytime!  It's been a great ride!  We were lucky to get such a great group!!

The season has not ended for Reid just yet!  It's on to All-Stars to see how our kids stack up against the best in the State!  Reid has made his first All-Star team and I am one proud father and Coach!  Let's go get 'em Son!!  Your Daddy is very proud of you and your hard work!!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Middle of Ball Season 5K!

We have been playing a lot of baseball lately.  In fact, for the past 10 weeks, all we have done is play baseball.  We did however take a Saturday morning off and participated in The Fitzgerald Rotary Club's annual Colony City Chase 5K.

I'll keep it brief-  Reid won first place for his age group (11 and under) in just his second 5K.  He shaved 4 minutes off of his first 5K time.  My friends that ran in the race told me afterwards that Reid could have had a faster time, but that he stopped to wait on some of his friends during the race.  He told me he didn't want them to have to run by themselves.  We had a good talk about how noble it was to want to help a friend, but I did remind him that this was a RACE! :)

I look forward to the next challenge as he really seems to have fun running in these races.  Run Reid Run!!

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Birthday Trip to Remember!

A very special little lady celebrated her 7th Birthday this past weekend!  Little Miss Mia is more than a little crazy about her American Girl Dolls, so we decided to give her the ultimate gift.  We took her to the American Girl Store in Atlanta on Saturday.  We gave her a gift card to spend and her Cheri gave her some money as well.  She also took her money that she has earned over the past year doing chores and picking up pecans.  She came home with no money left what-so-ever, but plenty of goodies and a new doll for her collection.  She will tell you that the day was a success!

Two dolls made the trip with us.  McKenna and Mia (the doll's name) both had scheduled appointments to have their ears pierced and their hair done.  My Mia watched them while they were at the spa.  She had the biggest smile on her face as they took each doll and placed them in a beauty shop chair and gave them the full spa treatment.  Let me just say that the appointment book was rather large and booked!  Depending on what treatment the doll was receiving that day, the bill could run from as low as $15 to as high as $50.  Based on what I saw on Saturday, we all need to go buy stock in this place!

We finished our shopping and stopped to have a picture made with Saige in her hot air balloon.  Saige is this year's "Girl of the Year" and also the newest member of Mia's collection.  Saige is a cowgirl who likes horses, but she also likes to do art.  Sounds a lot like my Mia and a certain first cousin of mine!  I'm sure she will feel right at home in Mia's room!

Happy Birthday Baby Girl!  As always, you are MY American Girl of the year!!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Brave Eagles Sings "The Hump Day Song"

I'm a very lucky person in the fact that I live in a small town with some great friends.  I wrote a little blog a few years ago about The Hump Day Gang that you may want to use to refresh your memory.  Hump Day here in Fitzgerald, GA means seeing the boys, having a few cocktails, and cooking some fine southern meals.  It is a time for all of us "men" to get together and solve the world's problems as we see them.  I am a regular attender and I would like to take this time to thank my lovely wife for allowing me to be a part of this group every Wednesday night!

My good friend, fellow Hump Day-er and guitar player, Hal Wiley and I were sitting around his pool watching the kids swim the other day when we came up with the idea to write a Hump Day song.  It needed to be witty, but also describe what Hump Day is all about.  He picked the tune and I got busy on the words.  We sang it for the gang two weeks ago and did an encore performance this past Wednesday that somehow made its way to video.

Now before you watch this, I need to add a few disclaimers!  This group in no way disrespects the women in our lives.  This song is made to be funny and pick on the fact that every once in a while one of our wives may fuss about their husband being at Hump Day, or they may plan an event on a Wednesday night causing a member to be unable to attend the weekly Hump Day gathering.  Of course all of us make fun of the buddy whose is catching a little devil from his woman at home, and we even set up a little prize for the wife who so dares inter fear with a Hump Day activity.  It's called "The Pink Shirt"

Again, it's all in fun and the girls get a big kick out of it!  No harm done as the attitudes are generally all good!  The Pink Shirt is mentioned in the song several times.  I didn't want you to be lost!

Other things in the song that may need a little clearing up:

Kyle- He is a gourmet cook.  The kid cooks stuff that is simply awesome, even if we don't know what it is!
Davis-  He eats!  A lot!  Never cooks!
Bon-co- A dice game that the girls get together and play.  For some reason they try and meet on Wednesday nights once a month.
Clay Day-  A popular saying in this group as Clay seems to hunt, fish and play more than the rest of us.
"Playing her cards right"- As in after several cocktails someone says "If my wife plays her cards right, she might get lucky when I get home".  (Never seems to work out for some reason)
Quiet sign-  Bill has a sign from a golf tournament that says "QUIET".  He brings it out when the conversation gets a little too noisy for the neighborhood.
Hump Day Lite-  Some boys that live to the South of us have started their own Hump Day tradition.  We call them "Hump Day Lite"

So enjoy the song for what it is!  FUN!  The video is not very clear because it was dark, but the audio is not bad!


Happy Hump Day to all the boys!!

Monday, April 29, 2013

RA Camp 2013- One State Champion and Two Soggy Bottoms

You see this picture?  This is a picture of a State Champion knot tying master!  Reid is the fastest Royal Ambassador bowline knot tier for the year 2013, an honor that he has worked hard on for the past three years.  He has finished second on two consecutive tries, but this year he brought home the gold!  What is even more remarkable is that he was able to accomplish this just hours after his father totally humiliated him in front of all of his friends and fellow campers.  Let's back up a bit.

The annual First Baptist RA camping trip to Camp Kaleo is always an exciting trip for all the boys.  We have been working on camping skills for weeks and we were prepared to meet all the challenges that would be given to us in all of the competitions.  We were not prepared however for heavy rains and 40 degree temps that the weatherman was calling for on Friday night.  We made the wise decision to leave the tents at home and stay inside one of the cabins offered for large groups.  Friday night was a wet one, but Saturday promised to be clear and cold.

We woke up Saturday morning to temps in the low 40's. The boys were ready to begin the competitions, so we headed out to the competition grounds.  The boys can compete in team knot tying, chariot races, BB gun shooting, archery, first aid, map and compass, wild wood runs, fire building, and a canoe race.  We started with the wild wood run and made our way over to the canoe racing area shortly after.  We have done well in this event in the past, bringing home three state titles thanks to my good friend Dr. Cook.  Reid and I finished 2nd in this event last year, so I only had one thing on my mind!  I wanted the crown!

The race is a timed event in which you paddle the canoe out to a buoy, make a turn around it and head back to shore.  As I watched my buddy Dr. Cook set a blistering pace just two spots in front of me, I knew that Reid and I would have to be fast.  I thought his turn was a little sloppy so I set my goal in making a tight turn and pushing extra hard back to shore to lower our time.  We would never quite get that far.  Reid and I settled into the boat and I gave him instructions to just worry about paddling on the right side.  I would handle the rest.  We kicked off and I gave a mighty two strokes on the left side rocketing the boat forward with enormous thrust!  As I switched to the right side to straighten our line of direction while maintaining our quick pace, I over guessed my own strength and enthusiasm and accidentally slid to the right side of the boat.  This was not good.  My next stroke was my own swimming motion towards my son to make sure that he was safe as we were both now taking a swim in 40 degree weather.

Reid was in a little panic, but I assured him that he was not going to drown because he was wearing a life jacket.  I calmly told him to swim to shore and that I would be right behind him.  I tried to gather the boat but quickly realized that the heavy coat, cargo pants and hunting jacket were starting to weigh me down to the point that this was not going to be an easy swim.  I ditched the boat and headed for dry land.  I reached the shore soon after Reid was being pulled from the water by the others in our group.

In case you are wondering, the water was warmer than the outside air. Being in the water was not bad at all.  Getting out was a B----!  Reid was not happy and he let me know it.  I got him calmed down and we made our way back to the cabins where I was able to put him in a hot shower.  After we were warmed up and had changed into dry clothes, I sat him down and had a life lesson kind of talk.  I told him that sometimes bad things happen, but that it was very important to remain calm in those kind of situations and to think clearly about how best to go about fixing the situation that you are in.  He seemed to understand, but I don't think I will get him back into a canoe anytime soon.

We made our way back to the competition fields to face the music.  His friends were actually very good to him and didn't make fun of the situation at all.  They were generally concerned for him.  My friends on the other hand, let me have it.  I now have a new nick-name... Trey Beauche, The Water Boy.

Reid rebounded well as he helped his knot tying team place second in the team tying event and placing first in the individual event.  He hasn't talked much about our little swim and he seems to almost have forgotten about it.  His Dad however has been reminded about it on a daily basis!

Got to love my friends!!

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Braves Have Been Here Before!

The Atlanta Braves are off to their best start in two decades.  Their weekend sweep of ESPN's favorite team, The Washington Nationals, has the baseball world turning their eyes towards Atlanta to see just how good this team can really be.  They play solid defense, they have excellent starting pitching, their bull-pen has not allowed an inherited runner to cross the plate in the first twelve games, and they hit the ball pretty well too.  After the first 12 games they lead the majors in home runs and run differential.  The scary thing is, I think they can be better.  Now I'm not sure if the pitching quality can keep up this pace, but the batting order can do some improving.  BJ Upton and Jason Heyward are hitting a combined .260 and Dan Uggla is still hitting less than .200.  Freddie Freeman has been on the DL and Brian McCann has yet to play a game.  These Braves have the potential to be lethal!

So who has been carrying the offensive load?  Justin Upton has returned to MVP form clubbing 7 homers in his first 12 games to lead the majors.  Chris Johnson has been rock solid playing 1st and 3rd base.  Our bench players are proving to be the best in baseball, and our current starting catcher has turned into the early season story for all of baseball.

Evan Gattis is a 26 year old rookie catcher that walked away from the game for four years in search for the meaning of life.  I'm not joking.  You can read the amazing story here.  What has he done so far this season?  He has played in 9 games, clubbed 4 homers, is hitting .333, has played good defense, has called 3 shut outs, and has the best nick-name on the team, El Oso Blanco, The White Bear!  Not too shabby for an ex janitor.

Watching Gattis play this year reminds me of another long shot catcher that found success with the Braves in the early 90's.  Greg Olson, who is shown in one of the most famous Braves photographs above, caught fire in 1990 after an off season of driving a Budweiser beer truck.  All he did was play great baseball  for the Braves and helped them go to the 1991 World Series.  The famous picture is from the pennant clinching victory on a game pitched by future Hall of Famer, John Smoltz.  Olson was injured in 1992 and released in 1993 to make way for the Braves future catcher Javy Lopez, but his contribution the the Braves organization will always be remembered.

Beer man?  Janitor??  What's the difference?  Let's play some ball!!  The problem the Braves are facing is what exactly to do with Gattis once Brian McCann comes back from shoulder surgery.  McCann is a six time All-star and 5 time Silver Slugger.  His is being paid $12 million this year.  Those guys do not sit the bench.  McCann is also in the last year of his contract and there was talk that the final days of his playing career may be better served in the AL as a DH (he is not know for his defensive skills).  Would the Braves listen to trade offers on McCann?  They may be willing to take that chance if Gattis continues to rake over the next couple of weeks.  We probably will not resign McCann anyway after this year due to his age and asking price, so the Braves officials have some pondering to do.

In the mean time I guess it is a good problem to have.  Too many bats are seldom seen as a bad thing and stories like Gattis bring good will to your ball club.  It has been a good ride so far in this young season and I plan on enjoying it for as long as it will last.  I feel fairly confident that the Braves cannot continue this pace.  I mean records of 149-13 just don't happen, but here's hoping for a great year and a chance to get back to the World Series!  I'll be watching my new favorite player...

Go Braves!!!!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Off to a Good Start!

The 2013 Turkey season began with forecast of bad weather for South Georgia.  A series of storms were set to hit our state beginning on Friday and lasting through Sunday morning.  As the rains fell on Friday afternoon, my hopes of an opening day Thunder Chicken were slowly turning into some serious doubts.  Daddy and I spoke on the phone Friday night, and after watching the weather decided that we may just get a break for Saturday morning, so we made plans to hit the woods.

The morning was cold, cloudy and windy but no rain was falling as I made my first cup of coffee.  My hopes were being renewed as I gathered up my gear and loaded it into the truck.  We hashed out our plan of attack on the drive to the property and put that plan to order shortly before daylight.  We parked the golf cart in a central location and decided to allow the woods to wake up on it's own.  As the woods came to life a loan crow sounded off followed by an angry gobble fairly close to our location.  Getting to this gobbler was going to be a problem due to the access routes to where he was roosted.  We made an attempt to get a bit closer and set up on the road leading into his location.  As we started to softly call to the bird, the bottom came to life with the sounds of the real thing.  We didn't have to do anymore calling because we had several hens calling for us.  We knew we were doomed.

The Gobbler actually flew down in the other direction and took the hens with him.  We packed up and tried driving around to hear another bird, but we were not successful.  We decided to call it a day and go home to wait out the storms that were coming our way.

I was all ready to take an afternoon nap when the sun decided to try and peak through the clouds.  Bad weather was still in the forecast but it looked like we may get a small window of sunshine.  With clouds in the distance we struck out to try and get an afternoon bird.  We set up on "Death Hill", a place we have had great success in calling birds in the afternoon, and started some soft calling.  It didn't take long for our first birds to appear.  Here he is.....

This is Judas!  Well not the actual chicken that Daddy and I have named Judas, but he looks just like this.  Judas is a Burmese Jungle Fowl and is a part of Fitzgerald's history.  I have written before about how these chickens were released in the wild in this area as a game bird, but found their way into town and have been thriving for the past 30 years roaming the downtown streets.  Well Judas has somehow made his way to our hunting club.  We started catching pictures of him on our game cameras this past summer.  He was hanging out with a group of gobblers.  We felt that Judas's days were numbered, as these birds have never done well in the woods, but he made it through the fall and through deer season.  I guess it helps to have a bunch of turkeys around you to warn you of any danger.  We named him Judas because Judas likes to crow.  A lot!  Little did he know that his crowing would betray his new roost mates and give away their location to us opportunistic hunters.

Back to the story.....  As we were calling, Judas crowed.  Then we heard a gobble.  Another crow.  Another gobble.  Judas came running in to our set up looking around for his friends.  We were laughing.  He hung around a bit and decided he didn't like something, so he wondered off out of sight.  We called again and this gobble was much closer.  I caught sight of his white head as he made his way up from the creek bottom to check out our decoys.  He only had to walk about 15 yards to give me a good shot.  This took a few minutes because he was very cautious in his approach.  This was a young gobbler and I'm sure he was making sure that the "Boss Tom" was not around.  He took a few more steps and I let the Browning bark.  First Turkey of 2013 was down for the count.

I think I heard Judas cry!

Tale of the tape- 10 inch beard, 18lbs, 3/4 inch spurs.  A two year old Gobbler

We are off to a good start!

Monday, March 18, 2013

It was time to Step it Up!

Reid likes to run!  He does not get this from his father!  I have never enjoyed running even though I understand the importance of running for athletes.  Running has always been a little boring for me.  I was more of the type to get my exercise from a pick up basketball game or a racket ball match, but Reid seems to enjoy it and it keeps him active.  He has entered several one mile races and has done quite well winning first place in two of them.  We started talking about a 5k this past fall and this weekend was our first opportunity.

This past weekend was Fitzgerald's annual Wild Chicken festival.  The festival kicks off with a 5k and a fun run on Saturday morning.  We signed Reid up for the 5k and sent him to the starting line with the assurance that we would be proud of him if he just managed to finish the race.  He did a little better than that.

With a field of an estimated 200 runners, Reid finished in 7th place for his age division which included 12 and under.  Reid is 9 and was running against boys that were 12 and others that had a lot more experience.  I was very proud of him for giving it such a great effort!  Someone told me that a kid his age is doing really well if he can run a 5k in about 30 minutes.  He finished in 30.13, and this included a short walking break as he told me his lungs were hurting.

I look forward to watching him in more races to come.  Now that he knows he can complete a 5k, he can work to get faster!  Run Reid Run, but you better watch out....I think your sister may be ready to give you a challenge next time!!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Pinewood Derby 2013- The Bulls-eye was on our backs!

The 2013 version of the First Baptist Church of Fitzgerald's RA/GA Pinewood Derby race took place last Wednesday night in front of a crowd of thousands.  Hometown racing legends, including 4 different "Car of the Year" winning race teams, flocked to the Ministries and Missions building to witness history.  Last years champion, Luckie Race Team, might as well have been wearing a Bulls-eye on their backs as every other race team had them squarely in their sights.  The early local odds had them as a two to one favorite to repeat their winning ways.

This years event featured a new twist, as the girls would be joining the act and having a race of their own.  This would allow two entries from the Luckie Race Team.  The RA event qualifier for this year was a Georgia Southern themed car named "Talon".

The GA racer was this beautiful little number (designed by little princess) by the name of "Flitter".

The crowds began to gather and all cars were put through a pre-race inspection.  Luckily we only had two cars that did not meet specifications.  We think they were members of the Methodist church trying to sneak their way into the race.  After a beautiful lip sinc performance of the National Anthem by Beyonce' (she was nervous), we were ready to race!

Both cars from Luckie racing started out well. The first video is Flitter blowing the doors off of her competitor.  The second is Talon getting the job done!

As the races progressed, it became apparent that the Luckie Race Team would have it's work cut out for them if they expected a repeat of last year's performance.  Another race team emerged on the scene and quickly raised eyebrows by defeating "Talon" in the second round race and placing the race favorite in the losers bracket.  At the same time, the same race team was dominating the GA races as well and placed "Flitter" in the losers bracket.  Both cars from Luckie Race Team fought their way back, but the precisioned engineered cars from the newcomer was too much to overtake.  The Luckie Race team finished with two second place finishes and one design trophy!  A great success in our book given the competition!

After the initial races, all the cars were grouped together for one final race to see who would race last year's Car of the Year, "The Under Armour" car from Luckie Racing!  The legend has been patiently waiting for 365 days to defend it's title.  It would come down to "Talon" and the newcomer after everything was all said and done.  Talon showed well running a very close race, but it was simply not to be.  The newcomer would get his shot at the title!  It did not look good for Luckie racing!  No "Car of the Year" has ever successfully defended his title....................until now!!!

The Under Armour added to its already powerful legacy by racing to victory in grand fashion!  He took his place back on his throne in the "Car of the Year" box and will patiently wait for next year's challenger!

It was a great night!!

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Snipe Hunting Crew

It was another beautiful weekend here in South Georgia, so the Snipe Hunting crew once again took to the low lands.  The birds were there waiting in abundance and we collected 13 before we decided to honor their white flag of surrender.  I have found the perfect wing shooting sport to get me through the time between dove season and turkey season!  Can't wait until next weekend!!

Gear used:

Water proof boots
Browning 20 over and under with light loaded 8 shot
Costa Sunglasses
Remington shooting shirt
Polaris Ranger
Josey the Wonder dog
Good friends
and one awesome son!!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Snipe Hunting and the Video Game Free Day!

This past Saturday in South Georgia was a pretty one.  The day started out cold and clear, but the forecast called for warmer weather later in the day with plenty of sunshine.  What is a hunter to do?  No dove season, no duck season, no quail to chase, and a month before turkey season....???, why go Snipe Hunting of course!!

The Common Wilson Snipe is a not so popular game bird that lives around wet areas or small ponds here in South Georgia.  I have written about my previous love affair with chasing these bird here.  On a day like this, I decided it was well past time to share this sport with some good friends and our boys!  Besides, if we had them outside doing a little hunting, they wouldn't be inside playing video games!

I called up my good friend Hal and laid out a plan.  Hal owns about 40 acres of old pasture land that has a good sized creek flowing through the middle of the property.  Just North of his land is a larger pasture that belongs to one of Hal's family members that also has a creek and several natural wet areas.  Prime time Snipe habitat!  We got permission to hunt this property and decided to make a go of it.  We called up our third partner in crime, Steven and he brought his son.  All of our boys are the same age and get along well together.  We met up for lunch with a promise to the boys that we would do some hunting and shooting and riding the Rangers, but no I-pods, DS's, tablets, etc. would be allowed.  They agreed and off we went to make some memories!

We drove down to the property and surveyed the lay of the land.  We decided to walk the first small ditch that we came to.  We walked it out with not one bird spotted, however as we circled back to catch one last wet area that fingered off of the ditch a single jumped and passed in front of us.  As we shot to bring down the single, a group of birds left their cover and took to the sky.  Here is what is fun about snipe hunting!  As you walk along, birds will flush like a quail moving very fast, but if you miss on that opportunity just be patient.  They do not want to go far.  Most of the time they will circle back overhead and present you with another shot or allow you to watch them land in another area not far away.  This was the case with this group.  We watched the birds fly in a big circle and land about 300 yards away along the big creek.

We decided to split up and approach them from each side and maybe get up a few more birds along the way.  Hal took a Ranger and the boys to the other end of the creek so he could cross (the boys really liked that part, they got to go mud boggin' in the Ranger).  Steven and I stayed on this side of the creek and started walking.  It did not take long to find the group of birds and when the smoke cleared we picked up six.

We continued working the wet areas of the property and at the end of the afternoon we had managed to pick up 10 Snipe, three muddy boys and no video games!  After the hunt we let the boys shoot their guns at a few skeet.  We then cleaned our kill, thawed out some steaks and deer sausage and had ourselves a little feast.  The steaks were great, the sausage was fine and the snipe tasted as good as any dove that you can prepare.  It was a truly awesome day and one that I hope will be a good memory for us and the boys!

 I'm ready to do it again!!

Drew, Cole and Reid- Master Snipe Hunters!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Saying Good-bye to Henry!

1987 Summer Mission Trip- Colt's Neck, NJ- Henry Tyson, front row far right

Packing up the dreams God planted
In the fertile soil of you
Can't believe the hopes He's granted
Means a chapter in your life is through

I said good-bye tonight to a very important person in my life.  It was a nice reception in which the City of Fitzgerald honored its recently retired City Administrator.  Henry Tyson faithfully served as a public servant for the past 17 years.  He was a leader among his community and Fitzgerald is a better place because of him.  However, this is not the reason that I hold Henry Tyson in a special place in my heart.  Before Henry became a public servant, he was my Youth pastor at First Baptist Church and helped shape me into the man that I am today.

But we'll keep you close as always
It won't even seem you've gone
'Cause our hearts in big and small ways
Will keep the love that keeps us strong

Henry, his wife and two daughters moved to Fitzgerald in 1981.  I was nine years old when Henry became youth leader and Minister of Music at First Baptist.  He was a young man at that time and brought tremendous energy to the position.  You could often spot Henry chasing squirrels across the FBC campus as he made his way from his office to the sanctuary to work on some new music.  His attitude and enthusiasm was contagious.  So was his love for the Lord and his willingness to minister to those in his new home town as well as to those all over the country.  He wanted you to be a part of our church and the things that we were doing and he wasn't afraid to let you know that.  On Tuesday nights he would load up a group of young people and go knocking on doors of folks who had been visiting the church.  I can tell you that people are shocked when you show up at their house unannounced with a bus load of teenagers, but it got the job done.  Our church grew with Henry Tyson there.

With the faith and love God's given
Springing from the hope we know
We will pray the joy you'll live in
Is the strength that now you show
 The youth of First Baptist Church loved Henry Tyson!  There was never a trip that Henry would not make with a bus load of teenagers, no matter the destination.  I have been all up and down the East Coast with Henry serving the Lord through missions, while also having the times of my life!  The annual Youth Mission trip was a two week affair.  We worked the first week and played the next.  Our work consisted of performing concerts and encouraging the start up of new churches.  Our play included trips to The Statue of Liberty, The Baseball Hall of Fame, The Liberty Bell, Washington, DC (including one 4th of July firework show at the Washington Monument), and Banner Elk North Carolina where I have been mountain climbing, hiking, rafting, caving, repelling, and snow skiing with the guys at Edge of the World Outfitters. I have so many great memories of my day's in Henry's youth group that I cannot begin to count them all.

But we'll keep you close as always
It won't even seem you've gone
'Cause our hearts in big and small ways
Will keep the love that keeps us strong

Henry gave me my voice.  I sang in church as a young child, but as most young teenage jocks tend to do, I ventured away from my singing.  Henry wouldn't allow it.  He was always there encouraging me to use the talents that God had given me.  He was constantly putting me in a position to challenge my vocal limits by giving me solos in the church's biggest productions.  I was just a kid, but Henry made me feel like one of the Three Tenors!  He would never let me doubt my voice.  Henry left our church as I was leaving for college to help start a church of his own, so he has not gotten to hear me sing and mature as a vocalist over the past several years.  Today I sing for the Lord and my church, but a part of me will always sing for Henry. I am so glad that he got to hear me sing just recently at a friend's funeral.  The last time I will sing before he leaves town.

And friends are friends forever
If the Lord's the Lord of them
And a friend will not say never
'Cause the welcome will not end

I said good-bye to Henry tonight.  His life has brought him full circle as he returns home to take care of the family farm and his aging parents in North Georgia.  I owe him so much and feel that I never had the opportunity to make him fully aware of how much he meant to me.  He was there with me the day my sister died and he preached her funeral.  I can still hear his voice as he was telling us that he imagined her conversation with Jesus was one of concern for us, but "could she go and try out her new wings?"  It was a fitting tribute to a magical little girl and just another gift that Henry gave to me and my family.  Something that I will never forget!

Though it's hard to let you go
In the Father's hands we know
That a lifetime's not too long to live as Friends!

God speed Henry!  I will miss you!