If I’m ever caught embellishing, blame it on my roots.
Raised amongst pines, pastures and ponds three miles outside of the small east Texas town of Mt. Vernon (pop: 1,200 at the time), my dad spun countless tales as gospel.
Guy Sloan loved to fish and hunt on others’ property with his bird dog, Bubba — a local star.
I learned how well trained Bubba was one afternoon when Guy and Paul Carr, steel-mill co-workers, returned home with a quail and catfish—but no poles.
They had spotted a covey of quail about 100 yards away over a neighbor’s pond — behind a barbed-wire fence with a “No Trespassing” sign. Both simultaneously fired their 12-guages.
Thanks to an apparently world-record tailwind, the birdshot brought a quail down. Not wanting to trespass — while the neighbor’s pickup was around — they instructed Bubba to retrieve the bird.
He sprinted away, high-jumped the fence and dove into the pond.
Two minutes later, Bubba surfaced with a large catfish in his mouth. In the catfish’s mouth was the quail.
That night, as we dined on catfish and quail, Guy and Paul’s dispute about who fired the miraculous shot was settled when we found two different brands of birdshot in our mouths.
Growing up, the hunters’ sons — Wendel Sloan and Don Carr — never suffered from iron deficiency.