Living the Life – Growing Up in the Texas Outdoors

I guess you could say I am the quintessential Texas outdoors RIVER RAT, HILLBILLY, REDNECK and I am pretty ok with that.

I was raised in a time when bell bottoms and disco reigned supreme and I hated it. I felt about as out of place as a fish trying to climb a tree. I only found solace in the woods and on the Sabine River. I just about could not wait for my dads days off from his job so he would holler at me to get the rods or guns and jump in the old truck and head down that bumpy dirt road towards our lease.

I probably learned more on the river and in the woods than I ever did in any classroom I was in. In the woods every wisp of wind held a wealth of knowledge. Coming from Tenaha TX there wasn’t much at all for a kid to do. Our town boasted a population of about 1100 but I figure they had to count a few hundred dogs and chickens to reach that number. Weekends on the Sabine or in the bottoms along its muddy banks was just about as close to heaven as I have ever been. Chasing hogs and deer we

re fun but it really didn’t matter to me. I would chase just about anything that walked, crawled, swam or flew. I just couldn’t imagine any place on earth being as magical as that muddy river bottom and feeling that mud squish up between my toes as often as possible.

I am a grown man now in my mid 40’s and still spend as much time as I can on that river or in its woods. I was the luckiest kid in the world. Sunrise on that river and the smell of Willows sends me back and I can dang near remember every day spent with my dad on that water catching 50lb Blue’s and 80lb Flatheads. I was the luckiest kid in the universe.

I sit and watch kids today with there faces plugged in to every video game screen they can muster and I truly feel sorry for them. They will never know the things I know and never experience all that I did. they will never catch a 56lb Blue cat on a hand sized Pumpkin Seed Perch sitting on the couch or shoot a 162 inch Whitetail buck while shopping at the mall. Now there is nothing wrong with playing games, heck I do it myself but if y’all are not unplugging your kids from the gaming console and plugging them in to hunting and fishing for big and small game then you are doing a disservice to them and their overall quality of life as far as I am concerned.


Story by Jeff Stewart

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