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Uncle Earl Odon Clarks Louisiana December 29, 2010

Back when I grew up in the 1950s I had an Uncle Earl. Earl was not my actual uncle, but we all called him Uncle Earl, everyone did. My first memories of Earl were when he was in his 70s. My grandfather Roddy White purchased the Louisiana Central Lumber Company in Clarks Louisiana. Roddy sold each and every house in Clarks, and sold a lot of the lumber company to the Catholic Church who ran an orphanage. When I was a young boy I used to play hooky skip school and fish for bream in the old sawmill pond. I would lay down in the bottom of an old aluminum John boat, tie a fishing line to my big toe, and take naps until the fish pulled the string. The Nuns would bring the orphan kids on hikes around the millpond during lunch. Uncle Earl had worked on Roddy’s logging crew, retired, and lived in a 18 wheeler tuck trailer on the mill pond. Earl's home consisted of a bed, a pot bellied stove, a kitchen sink, and a bathroom. Earl said he once played baseball with Dizzy Dean.

Uncle Earl was a great story teller. He often told me stories about his younger baseball years with a traveling Texas baseball league with his great friend Dizzy Dean. One story that Earl told many times was about the Great Depression. Uncle Earl said he was traveling along a country road when he came to a lady's house. The conversation went something like this.

Lady- "Are you hungry?"

Earl- "Yes mam."

"Could you eat an egg?"

"Yes mam. and the hen that laid it."

One of Earls tasks involved baby sitting for me and my kid brother, Ricky. He would often take us fishing or squirrel hunting. One of my first memories of Uncle Earl involved duck hunting. We were living in Monroe at the time. I went fishing at the millpond and Earl said there had been some ducks flying into the back of the millpond. I asked if he had a gun. He loaned me an old 10 gauge twice barrel shotgun and the shells in the pan by the cast iron pot bellied stove were made of metal. I loaded up both barrels and walked past 14 cotton mouths to the back of the pond as the sun was going down. The wood ducks were flying into the pond. One landed on the water and I shot both barrels. The gun kicked me down on the ground. The duck was still swimming. It was a miracle the dead duck was swimming. I stood back up, pointed the gun barrel to the ground and all of the B-Bs ran down the barrel.

On another occasion, my best friend Bill Beasley and I skipped school to go camping and fishing on the millpond. Before we left Monroe, Bill's older brother Johnny had shot a squirrel in downtown Monroe in their front yard next door to Neville High School. When the neighbors reported the gunshot to the cops, the police showed up. They were wondering why Johnny shot the squirrel since it was downtown and squirrel season was closed. Johnny reported that the squirrel was acting funny, foaming at the mouth, and had rabies. Before the cops came, Bill and I had cleaned the squirrel, and took it with us to the millpond for supper. When we arrived at the millpond, Earl took the squirrel and put it in the ice box. Meanwhile the Monroe Police reported the rabies squirrel to the Caldwell Parish Sherriff Department. Floyd Slim Hodges, the high sheriff of Caldwell Parish showed up at Earls trailer asking for us or for the squirrel. Uncle Earl figured we were about to be busted for squirrel hunting out of season, so he led the sheriff on a wild goose chase until Earl could dispose of the evidence. Earl burned the squirrel in the old pot bellied stove. The sheriff was waiting for Bill and I when we got back to Uncle Earl's trailer. Slim said we would either have to produce the squirrel's head for medical evaluation for rabies or Bill and I would have to go to the doctor to get rabies shots in the belly. This is when we decided to rat on Johnny for shooting the squirrel for fun.

After years of living alone in the truck trailer, Earl told me one day that he had a daughter, and her name was Earl Dean. Earl had lost track of her when she was 5 years old. He found out she was living near Biloxi Mississippi. The next thing I knew Earl Dean and her husband moved to Hurricane Creek off of Old Bethel Church Road, near Clarks. We all went hunting several times. They were Jehovah Witnesses, and they were the only ones I had ever met. In the 70s Earl moved in with Earl Dean and her husband to Wewahitchka Florida. They built a round house out of a silo in a turn row in the middle of a west Florida cornfield. I was in the US Air Force when I heard that Earl was living in a nursing home back in Columbia Louisiana. Earl died there and ended up in a pauper’s unmarked grave on Columbia Hill. When momma found out, she went and purchased a tombstone. This was the story of my Uncle Earl.

There is also an Uncle Earl in Louisiana politics. Earl K. Long, the younger brother of Huey P Long. You can click the link for information about Earl Long. Lloyd Blount, Whitlow Enterprises, told me this story and I will share it with you. Julius Blount was a Louisiana State Representative and Uncle Earl Long was often at the Blount home in Walker Louisiana. Uncle Earl had a meeting to discuss things that needed to be done in the state. One guy asked if he could get his driveway paved. Governor Long said there are not any dead end roads in Louisiana that are paved. Long said if you can name one dead end road in the state that is paved, then I will pave your driveway. The guy thought about it and said Grand Isle. Highway 1 goes into Grand Isle and dead ends into the Gulf of Mexico. The next week the guy’s driveway was paved.

It ain't over until the fat cat sings

 

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