So….. its about 1976-77, my friend Earl wanted me to go jug fishing with him in the maze of Texaco Canals inside the huge swamp of Lac Des Allemands. We had a secret honey hole where we mopped up on big catfish, using jugs tied to tree limbs with a clothes pin…. Fish took the bait…limb bent… hook was set….. fish took off…clothes pin unsnapped….we chased the jug. You talk about fun! ~
Well country girl Debbie wanted in and Earl and I were elated to show her a whole new way to catch fish . We loaded up the 16’ boat with our 3 dozen jug lines, an ice chest of our secret catfish bait (beef melt and cut mullet) and started off for Bayou Gauche to launch the boat. The one thing we didn’t tell Debbie was that these fish were best caught right before a cold front…you know….wind, rain, lightning…more wind, more rain…you get the picture. We watched the weather report that afternoon and figured we had until may 3-4 AM in the morning before the front reached us. There was no Doppler anything back then, just plain old radar and a good guess by the weatherman on Channel 4. ~
We had pulled these trips off numerous times and always got the fish without the bad weather. The trick is….all fish gorge themselves on food as soon as the barometric pressure starts dropping….like when a storm or cold front is on its way. Beef melt adds a blood trail and a mullet produces a fish oil trail in the water….big cats can sense it hundreds of yards away. ~
Once launched and under way down Bayou des Allemands we made directly for the main Texaco canal, which was called, “The Texaco Canal”. Once inside the swamp we veered left then right and then ….well we ran to our hot spot about 2 miles in the swamp. The first run of jugs got us 24 fish out of 36 jugs. Nothing really big, all 3-5 lbers. We baited up again, set the clothes pins and anchored the boat in the middle of some no name bayou….we all fell asleep using the life jackets for pillows. Debbie woke me up first when the wind started blowing a bit and some light drizzle was starting. We decided to run the jugs and then call it a night. Well, we had 8 or10 , 10 lb. fish…… and greed quickly set in. Lets bait up one more time, Earl and I agreed, give it 30 minutes… run the jugs and head for the boat dock. Hmmmm?...... sounds familiar? ~
About the time we had the last jug baited and pinned in the trees, was about the time the first KAAA-RAAAACK! of lightning hit. Then the wind, then the first hard rain shower, then more lightning. Surprise to me and Earl, my country girl was getting a huge thrill from all of this. Storm coming.. . rain. . . lightning. . . . wind….big fish….No my Debbie you ain’t fishing in the coulee with Rex Hebert….this is a touch bit more serious. ~
We knew we had missed the call on the cold front…it was already here. It was an hour ride back to Bayou Gauche and we had to cross some of the lake which was going to be rough. So…. We decided to wait out the bad weather in a drilling barge securely piled down ( huge pilings’ hammered all around it and then monster cables and chain securing the barge to that) in a canal a few hundred yards up. ~
The barge was there, generator was off, no lights were on and no one home….the crew must have gone back to Des Allemands or Gauche for the evening…who knows. The steel door was shut but not locked. As that ice cold rain came down, we went in. On the inside were gages and large pipes. There were hissing noises and every now and then a little buzzer would go off….all very interesting. The building was about 40’ long x 30’ wide. The pipes and hardware actually had the place warm and cozy as the temp dropped outside in the now very strong wind. ~
Always the cook, Debbie pulled out some sandwich’s and cookies and we all ate there on the metal floor with a single spotlight, and intense rain, hail and lightning outside. What a night for a pick-nick? Fishing at the coulee was never this exciting she said. ~
It was around 3:00 AM, the cold front was still hammering everything and the three of decided to go to sleep. Debbie and I snuggled up under two great big (warm) pipes and Earl found a discreet corner near the control panels. Soon we were all asleep. ~
The next sound I remember was a Jumbo Jet trying to land on the drilling barge….NOT! It was a tornado cutting its way through the cypress swamp and it was right in back of us. Without warning, the back steel door was pulled out of the framework and disappeared into the howling wind. All of our ears popped at the same time and it hurt…but no one complained as now the front steel door was ripped away , taking off like a frickin’ steel plated flying carpet. I grabbed Debbie and then hugged one of the pipes…she grabbed me and hugged the other pipe…Earl was holding on to his own pipe….the rush of wind through that drilling shed was like being in a vacuum cleaner. Wow…how many people ever felt this. (Yes, I was still thinking of Hurricane Fern). The entire room lit up bluish- green light…... It was St. Elmo’s fire on the steel framework on the barge. As the tornado passed over head and moved away, Earl and I started laughing…Debbie wasn’t. She was mad…NOT scared… that we had gotten her in this mess. ‘No Greg!…this ain’t the coulee, but I wish I was BACK there instead of out here with you two gou-fan- thrill junkies!’~
She was tough as nails that night. I know 2 dozen, grown men that would have peed in their pants by now, but not Debbie. I only wish we had I-Phones back then….the look on her face when that tornado ripped those doors off and lit that place up with that eerie light can’t be described in words. I suppose my face shown the same to her. We were all scared for a moment ……..it was just that Earl and I showed it differenty….by laughing. * when we got back home, I wasn’t so sure she wouldn’t hold a grudge as some women are prone to do, so I checked under her pillow EVERY night for a week…Y.K.W.I.M. [You Know What I Mean] HA HA! ~
If you’re both willing, there are so many opportunities for husbands and wives to share the most extraordinarily exciting adventures. 40 years later and we still remember it like it was last night….that’s what a good marriage will get you….not $$$$, or a nice house or anything material….but good memories that can’t be bought, sold or stolen.
AUGUST 12, 2017
SURVIVAL TIPS from Old Guys . . . . . . by g.t.f.
I thought it might be fun to look at some things I’ve picked up along the way, concerning survival in precarious situations. Read along and enjoy....its all fun....nothing more.
I always tell my daughter to prop a chair against the door knob of any motel room she stays in on vacation. That dead bolt is solid, but those tiny screws that hold it in place are NOT.
A broom with a glass container of any kind dropped over the end of the handle, then placed almost standing straight up against a door, makes an excellent alarm. The slightest jostling of the door and the top heavy broomstick come falling down…the glass bottle, jar, drinking glass, vase, etc. shatters on the floor , waking you and startling the hell out of any intruder.
Gun shy? Did you know a spray bottled filled with house hold ammonia will stop an intruder almost dead in his tracks. 2/3 ammonia, 1/3 water. Turn the nozzle until you get as straight a spray as you can, 8-12’ feet. Aim for the face and chest….the ammonia will soak into his shirt and the vapor will either cause him to pass out or start gasping for breath. * your own Super Soaker water pistol is even better.
Did you know a handful of dry Kool Aid tossed into someone face will produce as near as possible acute asthmatic symptoms ? The micro-fine particles in Kool Aid and some other powered drink mixes will cause a serious choking sensation IF blown or thrown into someone’s face. * Close your eyes and hold your breath if you have to use this method*.
So you work in a huge building and you’re there after dark. You’re alone and security patrols are far and in-between. Get you a good sized mug, fill it with water and boil it in the microwave. Carry it with you from floor to floor and especially on the elevator ( that is if you don’t have your mini-water gun loaded with ammonia in your purse).
Rule No. 1 at my house: Never leave home without your shank. I don’t mean a Rambo butcher knife or a Caballero Switch Blade…. I’m saying a 4” long , Thumb Assist ( pocket knife). IF attacked and you have time to get it out of your purse or pocket, hold the knife with the blade facing TOWARDS YOU….BACKWARDS.. . . NOT pointing towards the attacker. When he gets close enough or when he grabs you, DON’T fight to get away…use your free arm and pull yourself toward him…close, real close, hug him as tight as you can with free arm and use your shank to stick him in the head, the back of his neck, his ears, eyes or shoulders….he’ll let go and you RUN!
Your belt is a deadly weapon….IF you have a decent sized buckle. Wrap the leather around your hand until you only have 10” of belt before the buckle….swing away.
Everyone dreads the “guy in the backseat” when you get into a car late at night. It happens. Back seat or someone jumps in the front seat. Don’t panic. Strap on your seat belt and make a huge “U” turn directly into a lamp post, parked car, abutment, tree or shopping basket…30 mph will set off the air bags. NEVER let yourself leave a parking garage or shopping mall with a car jacker… you will wind up dead in a ditch…. Always crash around people….feign unconsciousness and watch the creep run like hell out of the car.
Ahhh, the old “chase into the woods” scene on horror movies…..everybody runs and runs and runs until they get lost or fall down. What you want to do is imitate the rabbit…… Run into the woods….. Fool ‘em….. Scream and yell as you run into the woods…..then, and as soon as you can, make a wide “U” turn right back to the road. Lay down as close as you can to the road and cover with leaves, branches or just be still. Most kidnappers are professional hoodlums…. NOT Apache trackers….they will assume you are heading into the deep woods…… make a “U” turn and stay put…let them get past you and then head back for the road or the car. * If you can’t take the car or truck, pull off a valve cap and using a stick or anything handy, depress his tire valve. He can’t chase you down in a vehicle with a flat…at least now you are on even terms.
If you are still in the vehicle and can incapacitate your kidnapper for at least a few seconds…. Pull out the keys as you exit the vehicle and run. When you get a short distance, throw the keys anywhere that looks hard to find.
Thrown in the trunk….grab a hold of his wiring on the tail lights and yank! No tail lights or brake lights will attract some one. Also, look in the cubby hole where the spare “do-nut” is kept. Find that tire tool that jacks the car up…..stick it through the tail light opening and keep pushing until you break the plastic…wiggle it around and around outside….someone is gonna’ see that for sure.
Then there’s the ol’ school Run Down on a Bike. Crazy guy is trying to run you down while you are riding your bike. Hollywood always shows the dumb @$$ bike guy trying to out run the mad driver. NOT! As soon as you can, turn around and ride right at him…..dive off the road onto a sidewalk or trail or even the median…you can turn around quickly….he has a 2000 lb. vehicle to navigate with.
Lets say you have a gun and are being run down by a vehicle….I’d pop two shots into the grill to make sure his radiator was now leaking….insuring he won’t be going far later, then aim at the driver and be sure to jump out of the way if you hit him and he loses control of the vehicle.
Road Rage….. can’t say much until the situation happens but remember this…..the rear of your car does not have much to do with mobility. The front has the engine. Use your REAR, ( Reverse) to crash your way out or to sucker a Road Rager into getting behind you and then slamming your brakes, causing HIM to rear end you….pull ahead a few yards, put it in “Reverse” and back-slam into his grill as hard as you can…hopefully you’ll see water and steam…..calling 911 is optional. Legality is questionable.
Somebody is shooting at you while parked…..a small .22 rifle or pistol can cut through BOTH sides of your car and hit you. * the only cars that offer “bullet proof” doors are the Hollywood ones… HA HA! A car door is absolutely useless unless its armor plated inside. The two places you can find some protection is behind a tire and behind the engine in the front….NO hiding behind the trunk either… its useless.
When in traffic in any major city, be on the look out. A typical car jacking involves two vehicles. One in front and one pulls up in the back of you, S L O W L Y and gently taps your bumper. “Oh my God, the nice old gentleman says as he gets out”, meanwhile his passenger runs around to your door, jumps in, the old guy gets back in his car….you’re stunned for 1-2-3 seconds and EVERBODY drives away while you are standing alone in the street..4-5-6- ….. Bring your keys when you get out. If they get rowdy, toss your keys as far as you can…they ain’t murders…they’re “Boosters”…..they only want your car. They’ll find another target.
Hurricane preparedness is a big thing along the Gulf or Mexico and East Coast. Here’s my list.
CLOROX BLEACH ( ½ TEASPOON TO A GALLON OF RAIN WATER ) REASONABLY SAFE TO DRINK.
FILL THE BATH TUB…DRINKING WATER
SCREW CANDLES, GO WITH BATTERIES …NO FIRE.
HOPE YOU HAVE A GAS STOVE…..THE AUTO LIGHT DOESN’T WORK BUT A MATCH STILL DOES
BABY WIPES….THEY CAN CLEAN YOUR BIG @$$ TOO
LEAVE YOUR FRIG SHUT AS LONG AS POSSIBLE…PERIOD
WRAPPING ANYTHING IN COMMON NEWS PAPER PRESERVES THE COLD LONGER
IF YOU HAVE A GEN SET, SET IT UP BEFORE THE STORM….FIND A COVERED SPOT…..
REMEMBER TO CHANGE THE OIL IN THE GENERATOR EVERY 72-90 HOURS OF RUNNING
BATHROOMS AND CLOSETS ARE STILL THE STRONGEST PLACES TO BE IF YOU HEAR A JUMBO JET TRYING TO LAND ON YOUR ROOF OR IN YOUR YARD…. HA HA!
IF YOU HAVE AN ATTIC, BRING A ROPE, TWO FLASHLIGHTS AND A HATCHET YOU’LL WANT TO CHOP YOU WAY OUT.…NOT A MACHETE OR AXE….YOU CAN’T SWING SOMETHING THAT LONG IN A TIGHT ATTIC. TRAPPED…. * Everybody gets tied to the rope, first out and last out get the flashlights. During Hurricane Camille in Mississippi, a mother of 4 climbed out on the roof and asked the father to lift up each child to her, one at a time…..he lifted them up and tpushed them onto the roof…. Dad’s turn…he climbed out onto the roof and everybody was gone! Wind swept them off every time he put one at the hole… Mom included…… he never found a single child, just the mom…. A week later…two miles away in the receding flood water.
A METAL COFFEE CAN , ONE ROLL OF TOILET PAPER, TWO 16 oz. bottles of rubbing alcohol. Pour the alcohol over the toilet paper in the METAL CAN and let soak….count to 60…no cheating …light the toilet paper. You have a pretty blue flamed, Hobo Heater…it is hot enough to cook 4 hamburgers or one medium steak.
LOOTERS II. No gun? Break the tip off of your metal broom stick or mop. You’ll find a hollow piece of aluminum. Glue a tiny bead or sliver of cardboard on the very front of the stick about 1” back from the opening. Using a Marks-a-Lot, paint the first 8” of your “shot gun” black. Poke it out of a window or door at unwanted guests and say something “John Wayne”….”get moving or die” > “ I ain’t killed anybody since I left the Marine Corps, don’t push your luck” >…… “ Hey, Dumb @$$, wanna’ know what 12 gauge Buck shot feels like? “ . . . . you get the picture.
LOOTERS III. Good time to bring out your Ammonia Guns…if you ain’t got the real deal.
LOOTERS IV. Gen sets get stolen all the time during a black out after a storm….. chain yours to a fence or post…..
LOOTERS V. ……. fishing string tied from a fence post in your yard or driveway across the pavement or grass …. About 6” off the ground…… to a plastic bag filled with your recycled aluminum pop cans….sitting on the edge of a lawn chair…. Very Noisy when the string is caught up on a shoe and that bag of cans hits the pavement. * putting a few gravels or red beans inside each can is even noisier!
LOOTERS VI. Nothing says “there is a bad guy inside your home” like the sound of crunching glass. Home alone, no lights, no protection…house damaged…doors gone or won’t close… break something with cheap glass, scatter the chunks and shards all over the area you are concerned about…crunch time means get ready for company…. Ammonia gun, pot of hot water, can of wasp spray ( 25’ range and nasty when it gets in your eyes)……
LOOTERS VII. Talk about dirty and illegal, but highly effective in a survival situation…..spike planks. Any board will do…. Hammer nails through and through, size doesn’t matter so long as they are not less than 1-1/2” or more than 2” above the wood and each nail is 2” apart from the other. Spread out in front the house, cover with news paper or trash paper…. Spike the paper down on the nails, no one is going to see that at night…. put in the grass, driveway, back yard…Once again ( Disclaimer) Illegal to booby trap your house…
Guns in a neighborhood or home survival scenario: SCATTER GUN EVERY TIME……. 20 gauge shotgun for people who are leery about kick back and 12 gauge for those that ain’t. Single shot crack barrel with or without a hammer for simplicity and positive firing, pump or automatic for those that want more firepower. Ammunition: No. 7 Skeet shot, HI or LOW power. ….to scare or ‘bloody up’ a not so threatening looter…make YOUR place unattractive and painful ///// No. 4 High Power….. 130 pellets in the shell and will spread wide enough to seriously hurt two guys who are scary…. Both can be hit with one shot at a distance of 25 steps, not kill right off, but seriously injure. . .. requiring immediate medical treatment. //// 00 Buckshot……kill shot at 5 paces to 25 paces…DOA almost every time .
Food Items: Pork and beans….period! You can live on un-cooked P&B for an indefinite time.
The rest of the precautions can be found in any survival texts or inside a phone book even….. you all know the drill….these are just a few I picked up from my time in the Old School.
* Disclaimer: I ain’t a security annalist by any means. These are ideas I’ve used myself or heard of being used in severe crisis’. It is highly illegal to booby trap anything. These tips would be used for a time if and when all law and order breaks down. Regardless, you can still be held liable for using any booby trap on your property. So read and enjoy....its all fun, that's all. I ain't promoting the use of anything.
Dad’s Little Helper. . . . by g.t.f.
So.. . . . it’s the late 1950’s, very early 60’s and I am old enough to follow my dad, Esler, around on his Saturday side jobs. Es ( as he was referred to locally) was a jack of all trades but mostly electrical work…… and I was the right size for crawling across attics , under houses and sqeeeeeezing into tight spots in those antique New Orleans homes. I loved every Saturday with Es. ~
One time we went to this really nice 3 story home on Esplanade street, not far from the French Quarter. The owner, a very well dressed older woman, wanted multiple 220V outlets run throughout the home. Window AC’s were becoming popular and everybody wanted one or in this case a dozen. The work was easy as the attic was quite large and roomy. I simply dropped the lines down the walls and Es pulled them into the each room through the outlet hole. Nothing unique about the work. . . . . but the residents of that house were VERY unique….. ALL WOMEN and really good looking women….. walking around in robes ,towels and various forms of dress or un-dress. I was about 11-12 and took close notice. Es said it was a boarding school…I was thinking he was covering something up? ~
Another job took us to St. Charles ave., the Garden District. I loved working in the Garden District ‘cause the houses were all roomy and spacey under the floor and in the attics….plenty of room to work in and crawl around. A second reason was that those folks were ‘Old Money’ and generally had servants who were constantly shoving beignets, cake, cookies and chocolate milk at me…..I guess they thought I was some poor undernourished waif from the back-streets. ~
This one house was very old. . . . older than most. Pre-Civil War I think. Anyway, the owner was a tiny little woman who smelled like garlic…I was hoping it wasn’t to ward off any resident vampires? Well, she mentioned that her attic had some “issues” and that Es and I were not to be concerned…nothing ‘up-there’ was going to hurt us. Well….. that put Es in combat mode as he slowly crept up the ladder into a huge , and I mean huge….. attic. It was spotlessly clean, no dust, no cob webs, no rat $h!t on the floor, not a piece of lint to be found…..spotless in every way. ~
False alarm we thought . The attic even had a floor in it….no more acrobatics balancing from one joist to the other so as NOT to put your foot through the ceiling .Es cut and stripped the wire ends and I started running them across the floor. It was when I ran into or through “something”. Those attics were hot and I mean 100 °F plus hot….but when I came near this old seaman’s chest, I walked into an ice cold…NO!...Freezing cold wave. I backed up and it was hot again…went forward towards the old chest and I felt a wave of freezing air rush through me. Es came over and felt the same thing. He started laughing….well Boy, it was bound to happen soon or later….. us working in these old houses all the time…. Whatever it is or whoever it is, we ain’t gonna’ bother with it. Stay away from that old sea chest and we’ll finish up our work and get out of here. Nothing more than that was said. Wires run, 3 Point light switch for outside spot light installed, money paid. Then it was off to Toujaques Bar for an oyster Po’ Boy and a Barq’s root beer for me….Falstaff and Polish Sausages for Es. ~
Then there was that strange home in the Irish Channel around Annunciation st.. Under the house was all wired off like a cage of sorts….. one tiny gate in the back yard to get access to under the house….where we had to go look for a shorted out wire. The owners weren’t home but told us to get started and they would be back later that afternoon to pay us. Es went through the little gate first…crawling on hands and knees, we made it under the house. He started tracing that old paper wrapped Romex wire for a burned spot. I followed behind with a coil of new wire an some tools. We were around 30’ feet up under the flooring when he spotted a burn mark. Seems something big had been scratching on the underside of the floor and pulled the wire down. ~
As Es was working on the splice, I heard a dog growl….. a long slow mean growl….I turned to see WHAT was kept in that wire enclosed “under house”…..it was a pit bull, a black and white pit bull….it was snarling and drooling and slowly coming our way. I told Es and he turned the dog launched it self right at me. Es pulled his Klein linesman pliers out of his back pocket , shoved me aside , slid down on his back and as the dog climbed onto his chest….WHAP! Dog Down… out for the count.
Es loved animals, dogs especially, he looked it over and saw it was unconscious but bleeding from the massive head gash he had given it. He finished up his splicing, took out a handkerchief and using black electrical tape, bandaged the animal’s head…then we hauled @$$ out from under the house and waited in the alley for the homeowners to get back. The poor dog got up and was staggering around under the house. It came up to the wire mesh and was still growling…tough old thing. The owner came home soon and quickly asked if we had any trouble…he had forgotten to take the dog from under the house and pen it up in the small yard. Es just took the money and said all was fine. ~
Then there was the big restaurant that called Es to say their kitchen was completely out of electricity and needed to be up and running for the 12 noon crowd on Saturday. Oh yea, big time famous….huge kitchen, lots of chefs, lots of food….I was going to snack all morning. ~
Well Es made his cursory inspection and found what he always blamed for 90% of kitchen problems…..Roach and Rat $h!t. We found some behind the meat slices and mixers and all under the sinks. He pulled off a cover of a meat slicers …. finding a half dozen dead, burned roaches and one tiny mouse….they had been eating inside the housing of the commercial machines and shorted themselves out….blowing a fuse. We then went machine to machine cleaning out under the housing….mixers, blenders, slicers, meat (sausage grinders)…. Every single one had either dead roach parts or rat $h!t. . . some had both. ~
Es said that ‘s why he never eats out at any of the restaurants . . . especially those he’s worked in. He told me he saw a small mouse run out from under some boxes on the floor of another famous eatery… the startled rodent ran up the leg of a table … and in a panic , jumped up into a 22” Hobart –Dayton Industrial Dough Mixer. The chef, un-phased, turned the machine up another 200 rpms and told Es, it’s all good when its baked at 450°….I eat at Royal Castle anyway. ~
Working with my Paw was always an adventure…. So spend time with your dad while you can… ‘cause one day he won’t be there.
OK, you made it.
This is my business web site. You are welcome to see what Debbie and I do for a living now, if you want....Go ahead and browse....we have lots of really one-of-kind pictures.
This is where I will put the stories, once every 7-10 days.
You can comment by sending me an email . . . or just to drop me a line or ask a question.