“Fishing at John R.’s” by Doug Fincher

March 30, 2020 - When Pam, Brandon and I moved back to East Texas in 1990, we rented a house south of Shelbyville that belonged to John R. Alford.

It was a big white house with a cherry tree in the front yard, cows in the back pasture, and a beautiful little pond down the hill at the back. We planted a small garden, and fed watermelon rinds and cucumbers to Beauty, my brother’s cow across the back fence. There were a lot of fun things to do — being back home near Center, my birth place again… and only a few miles from Mother and my brother, John.

Pam, Brandon and I loved to fish… not in the big lakes… but in a little two-acre stock pond behind John R.’s house. When we walked down to it the first time, we hesitated to even fish in it, but within an hour we had strung up a string of crappie (we used to call them “White Perch”) and a two pound bass. It became a habit for us to say, “let’s catch something for supper” and the fish always seemed to be biting. In the months we lived there, we caught an unbelievable number of fish before moving to Pastor The First Baptist Church of Shelbyville.

Years later we moved to Calvary Baptist in San Augustine and learned that beavers had ruined John R.’s dam leaving it useless to fish in. But even though they ruined John R.’s Pond, they couldn’t remove all the good memories that we had there. It was some of our best fishing --- and all it took was a rod, a reel, and a few white jigs to catch supper. It was so small that we could cast half-way across it and we were only a five minute walk from our back door.

We have fished many places over the years, but none of it compares to those great fishing days at John R.’s. I wish it looked like it did before the beaver invasion --- but time and progress always collects its dues…

… and it has at John R.’s Pond.