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Random Thoughts from a Random Memory

By Edward Master

I do not drive a car anymore. I do not miss it. I did not feel comfy behind the wheel any longer. I sold my car when I had the opportunity. So what if I can't run out for the paper or coffee.

No more oil changes. No more car insurance. No more inspections.

However, I do feel bad (badly) about dependence on others for 'rides.' People have to 'pick me up.' And then, 'drop me off.'

It's a quandary and I may never have an answer. Yet, there may not be an answer. But here's a big 'thank you' to all who have given me rides or will in the future.

Hut one, hut two

I'm getting a little antsy for real football, for 'real' football. The Steelers have a slew of new faces and I'm anxious to see how they do.

The iron guys did well versus the Buffaloes last week. I thought the Bills would offer up much more competition than they did. JP junior looked like the real deal at cornerback. Austin continues to be a 'flash' on the field.

The Pirates have some new guys, too, but they're two years away. Pitching first. Get the pitching.

I do watch out for Pitt, Penn State, and local college football as I am a Clarion U (now Penn West) alum. It's been a while since CUP was a power in the PSAC West. What about those days when Tom Sherman from Union and Jim Kelly were Q-Bs at Penn State and Miami, respectively. Do you feel old yet?

. At a recent class of 1967 gathering, I asked a classmate who lives in Alum Rock about an old swimming hole on Turkey Run we called Mickey, if people were still taking a dip in the normally refreshing stream. She replied the stream was fished, but some of the large rocks had slid into that area of the creek and swimming was non-existant in this time. What a shame.

I also learned at our afternoon/evening gala that we had lost a few more classmates, some of whom I hadn't seen or heard from in years. Hey, time passes quickly. Sometimes too quickly.

Gone are Dennis Bennett, Teresa Gilbert, and Denny Fierst. Teresa was in the midwest somewhere, but Denny Fierst was just around the corner from the Plaza. I often saw Denny Fierst at the home of the world's worst (best) apple pie. He often brought a pie to our class-held summer picnics.

The 'Ole Swimmin' Hole

I first dipped in the waters of Turkey Run in an area called the Beery (my guess on spelling). This swimming hole fell between Turkey City and the bottom of the Bostaff Hill (route 58 to Callensburg and east). Mom would drive us down and pull off the rode (the drop-off is not there anymore). I actually learned to swim in Turkey City under what we called the 'car bridge.' It had a deep-enough hole on the west-end where we would jump from a bridge elevation. I learned to swim 'overhand' by watching the 'big kids' swim. Then I moved downstream to the Trestle--a hole under a railroad bridge. Eventually, a bulldozer was brought in and filled in both holes, probably to protect the small railroad bridge from any potential washout. Then came the move to Mickey.

Mickey and Little Mickey were nothing short of a summertime blast for us kids. Little Mickey actually had its own built-in waterfall slide--a small ramp carved out over time. Plus, plenty of flat rocks for lying in the sun. If you were adventurous, you could go to 'Big' Mickey, climb a pine tree, bend down the branches, and jump into the water.

Every once in awhile there would be a circle of ashes amidst rocks from a previous night-time gathering on a small sandy beach area. I remember one time being at Mickey at night or at least into the evening at a 'camp fire.' Over the summer, a couple of water snakes/copperheads would appear.

Once in a while Mike Claypoole would appear after climbing down the hill through the trees. He lived on the right-angle turn on the Bostaff.

I think the attraction of Mickey was indeed the location--tall, majestic pines sheltering cool water. I never ventured down stream to where Turkey Run spilled into the Clarion River; however, once I did make the trip from Alum Rock down a long narrow one-lane road (more like a path in places) by car. It was a good place to swim with big rocks to sun on, but a hellish trip to get in and out of.

The walk home from Mickey was much easier when you could hitch a ride. I copped a ride many a time with Raymond Dunkle, who I think worked at Quaker State in Emlenton. I heard Cecil Miller was also a common provider. Bob DeLoe offered up a few rides, too. Bob's rides were a sort of mini-adventure. His autos seemed to also provide an up-close view of the highway as a rider could see the road underneath through a hole in the floorboard.

Our next move was to St. Pete and the Grass Flats on the Clarion River, but that is a story of its own, and worth a story of its own.

Goin' Fishin'

I was never much of a fisherman (nor a hunter for that matter). I do recall that first time I was of the legal age to fish, though not old enough to require a license, I partook in 'opening day' fishing in April. There was a dusting of snow on the ground, meaning it was plenty cold. I chose Turkey Run at the base od Weeter Hill on the east side of the ball field. After a couple of hours of 'freezing' I returned home with an empty creel. My fishing career pretty much began and ended that same day.

There were plenty of first-days of fishing in which it was single-lane traffic through Turkey City as 'stocking trout' in Turkey Run was an annual occurrence. In my family, the Johnson side (my mother's direct kin) held the fishing honors.

My Grandpa Johnson owned a bamboo pole (real stock bamboo). As a kid, that pole seemed a mile long to me. I once went to the Stoneboro/Sandy Lake area with my

Uncle Ed (Johnson) to fish. How we ended up there is beyond me.

Once I did reel in a catfish from the Clarion River just south of the old 322 bridge. And once I caught a flounder in a bay near Atlantic City, New Jersey. That was it. I recall dresssing the flounder and eating it. Frying it in butter, it was really good. I've always had the craving for flounder.

I appreciate the attraction of fishing (reference the movie 'A River Runs Through It'). Quiet, solitude.

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