Sunday, April 02, 2006


Harold Gene Sullivan

Don’s article on bubble gun brought back memories. I'm sure that everyone remembers when bubble gum became available after WWII. That was a big deal to us kids. I had a special talent having to do with bubble gun, probably the only special talent I ever had. Anyway, I could blow bubbles inside bubbles. It was easy for me to blow one inside another, and occasionally I could get one inside another inside another. My RECORD was four bubbles, one inside the other. Now THAT was talent. I haven’t tried that in over 55 years, wonder if I still can?

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette recently ran a postcard picture of a large gar as part of its Arkansas Postcard Past Series. Don Thompson sent it to me. And, of course, it reminded me of a story.

One time, in the mid-1940s, when I went with my dad on his Pepsi route. we stopped at West Point. This was back when there was a lot of town still left: there were wooden sidewalks all around downtown. There was a house there that had a cannon ball buried in its siding from the Civil War. The story goes that West Point missed being the capital of Arkansas by just a few votes as it was a prominent town back in the mid-1800s. Anyway, there was a fishing dock where commercial fishing boats came in and sold their catch. Dad would often buy some buffalo or drum, since they were the cheapest. They both tasted good, but had lots of little bones that one had to pick out. As I kid, I thought that was too much trouble. Anyway, one day we stopped by the dock and someone had caught a very large gar, about the size of the one in the postcard picture. They had it hanging from a post and everyone was standing around looking at it and taking pictures. If I remember right, a picture of it was in the Citizen. As a young kid, the gar was much bigger than me.

Another time, my dad and I were in a boat fishing in Little Red, having rented a boat at the West Point dock. We were still within sight of the dock when my dad hooked a very large gar, nothing of the size of the one in the postcard, but it was probably 4 foot long, at least that was the size I remember. Anyway, he fought it for a long time and it got tired and dad almost had it to the boat. I had been using a plug, probably a red-head Lucky-13, as that was my favorite, and I had left it sitting in the water just a couple of feet from the boat while I was helping dad. Dad was just ready to grab the gar's tail when it gave a last gasp try and it flipped off his hook. But it flipped right only my plug and was foul hooked in the side. Then it took us a long, long time to finally land it because being foul hooked it had much more leverage. Of course Dad killed it and threw it back into the river. When we got back to the dock, we found out that there were several there who had watched the show. We never did, but I remember others who would go fishing specifically for large gar. They would make a special lure out of just lots of fishing line tied into a bundle, with lots of overhand knots tied in the lines. The gar would get the fish line with knots hung in their teeth.

We loved to use roaches as fish bait. This is one way we would get them: we would go down to the garbage area behind the Mayfair Hotel the night before we were going fishing and there were always lots of roaches there. We could pick up all we needed in just a few minutes. I remember the old ladies who ran the Mayfair, I don't remember their names, would see us out there with flashlights and would come out and shoo us off because they didn't want the guests to know about all the roaches there.

My dad and mom were very religious. As much as they loved fishing, they would never, never go on Sunday. Dad would usually work his route a half-day Saturday and we would go after he got home. I don't remember where that belief came from. but I'm sure it was based on some bible verse.

Thanks, Harold: those are just the sort of memories we need here. Those of you reading this, what’s YOUR story? -tlp-


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