Lots of blessings


Tomorrow I leave for my LifeLine Youth and Family Services Fish with the Pros event on Lake Amistad. My goal is to leave early enough in the morning so I can get at least a half-day of prefishing in before the guests arrive. Everyone will be coming around suppertime, and it should be a lot of fun.

All of the guests are flying in from out of state, and I think it will be the first time that most of them have ever fished Lake Amistad. For most folks, the first time fishing south Texas lakes is an absolute blast for a lot of reasons. The fishing is the first-and-foremost reason. There are lots of big fish! Also, the ruggedness and beauty of the country are awesome. I really enjoy being able to introduce people to that for their first time. This past weekend ended up being more of a speaking weekend than I planned.

Let me explain what I mean. I spoke Thursday in Temple, Texas, then Friday in Lufkin, Texas, and Saturday was going to be a football and baseball day for me. But, I got a call at 5:45 that evening. It was Clay Dyer, who fishes despite enormous disabilities. He was born without any arms or legs. It's a great inspirational story. Well, he was scheduled to speak at a church in Dallas to a men's outreach wild game supper for about 500 people. But we had some severe weather and tornadoes all day on Saturday. So, when the phone rang on Saturday evening, Clay said, "Help!" He had been delayed to the point that he was going to miss the speaking engagement at 7:30. By 5:45 the men were gathered for supper, and it's a two-hour drive from where I live.

Jimmye Sue and I jumped straight in the car, switched on the radar detector and made it in an hour and 45 minutes. We got there right at 7:30. My preacher at home said there are three things you should be ready to do at a moment's notice: preach, pray and pass away. You might be asked to do any of them unexpectedly. Fortunately, I only had to do two of them on Saturday. It was really a great event. It's funny, sometimes we put our plans together, but the Lord changes them. He did that for me and for that church. I had a good sense that I really connected with those men. But the best part is that as I was finishing, Clay Dyer arrived and got to speak to those men. Afterward I got to have supper with him. Clay and I have become really good friends over the years. To see beyond his fishing and beyond his disability, and see the kind of person he is really inspires me.

On another note, deer season opens here in central Texas the weekend of November 7. We're going to be making out annual trip out to Coleman, Texas, and spend opening weekend there with Jimmye Sue's folks. There's a big hunter's banquet there in Coleman. One of the best things is that the men get together and play poker. It's a penny and nickel kind of game — not any serious gambling.

What I think is funny is that this has always been for the grown men, not the grandkids. Well, now that Little Alton is 18, he was assuming he'd be included in the game. But he asked his grandfather the other day, and he said, "No, you're not old enough." I think that in grandparents' eyes you never come of age.

I do have to plug the Rangers, who are in the World Series. They lost the first game, but I still have faith. I was talking to an outdoor writer today and he said something poignant. The World Series can take grown men and turn them into little boys. What he meant was that all the pressure can make guys fold, which was evident from all the mistakes made in that game.

Also, if anyone cares to look at the Big 12 South football standings, my nationally-ranked Baylor Bears are at the top of the heap! We play the Texas Longhorns in Austin, and I think we've got a decent shot at beating them this year. I know we've beaten them in my lifetime, but it's been so long ago that I can't remember exactly when it was. Who would have ever thought that we'd be in late October and still talking about the Baylor Bears and Texas Rangers? This is a good year for sports if you live in Central Texas.