The Sabine River by Doug Finch

February 24, 2020 - During the 40’s, the high light of the year for the Fincher boys was to fish on “The Old River.” Since we didn’t own a car, we depended on “Jink,” one of my Mother’s brothers, to take us fishing in his dump truck. After passing the Doug Fitt’s Farm near the river at the intersection of the Sabine and Teneha Creek near Huxley, Texas. Since Toledo Bend did not exist at that time, the Sabine River presented one of the most pastoral sites of any body of water in East Texas. Nothing could match the beauty of the willows that hung softly along the banks. If it was not for the occasional sighting of water moccasins and the presence of friendly mosquitos, the beauty of The Sabine River would almost rival The Garden of Eden.

One day Uncle Jink drove us all to fish at the Sabine River where a few seine drags in the shallow water got us plenty of bait… The frisky red-tailed minnows were too beautiful to use for fish bait. The fun we had seining them that day made us almost forget that we came to the river to catch fish… and not just minnows.

Mother made chicken salad sandwiches and baked a Coconut Cake for our lunches. My grandfather (Paw-Paw), three of my uncles and two of my brothers and I lined up along the banks of the River and began caching crappie (we called them White Perch) between the Button Willows. I found a school of crappie and when my Uncle Mickey saw me catching one after the other, he eased down close to me and began taking over my fishing spot. About that time, Paw Paw hollered, “Y’all come eat.. it’s dinner time!” We all raced up hill, ate our sandwich, drank our Kool-Aid and were given a slice of Mother’s cake. One little piece of cake was left, but since Mother told us not to eat the last biscuit or piece of cake, we reluctantly left it untouched and returned to our fishing. Suddenly Paw Paw came grinning downhill with his jaws full of food. “Did you eat the last piece of cake?,” I exploded. “Sure did,” he laughed. “Ain't no use feeding it to the birds!”

That all happened over 70 years ago, but I remember it well. Most of the group crossed The Jordan years ago… and I miss them all. It seems that most people were poor in the 40’s (including our family of ten children)… but they were exceedingly good days.

They were some of the happiest days of my life.