Right here with you through the years

September might be a sort of transition month, but a lot happens during its 30 days. For one thing autumn begins on the 22nd and that means winter is not far away.

But regardless of winter’s approach a lot of good has happened to me in September. Not the least is that Barbara Jean McCoy became my life’s companion on Sept. 7, 1956. That was the best thing that ever happened to me.

I’ve read many of the Louis L’Amour western novels and every time they feature a brave, hard working woman I think of my wife. In the novels she is often described as “A woman to ride the river with” and that is the kind of lady who has put up with me and my outdoor activities for so long.

Barb has truly ridden a couple rivers with me, including the Mohican, the Cumberland and the Tennessee in a kayak we built. The Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers surround a wonderful wilderness known as The Land between the Lakes, with Kentucky Lake to the west and Lake Barkley to the east.

It was tough paddling when we did this trip back in the 1970s as it was July and the heat and humidity took its toll on us. Our meals on this adventure consisted of Mountain House freeze dried cuisine cooked over a single burner backpacking stove. Our luxurious cabin was a tiny mountain tent pitched on the edge of the lake.

I won’t write about the water moccasin and copperhead snakes we encountered, or the frightening storm because you other ladies are probably already envious of Barb for having such a fun husband.

Lake Erie is not a river, but my special lady sailed all over that freshwater ocean with me despite her tendency to suffer from mal d’ mar. Yes, I have been blessed with a woman to ride the river with, and I have no doubt she could have crossed the plains in a covered wagon. A lady like Barb would have been loading her husband’s Winchester while he fought off an Apache attack.

We will never need to fight off an attack from Apaches, but I have no doubt in my soul that Barb would stand beside me until death. That, my friends, is a woman to ride the river of life with.


It’s hard to believe, but the first Outdoor Journal was published on Sept. 17, 2000. Since then a lot has happened with our outdoor heritage and I have tried to let everyone know that outdoor people do much for the community.

Kid’s Day is a perfect example. This special day is always held on National Hunting and Fishing Day, and this year Kid’s Day will be held on Sept. 22 and this will mark the 43rd year of the event.

This is a fun day for kids and the adults who accompany them. Everything is free and these youngsters ages 5-16 will have an opportunity to try canoeing, fishing, shooting, archery and other outdoor activities.

Registration will begin at 9:30 a.m. and continue throughout the day, but I recommend being there early as this event draws a lot of kids. I remember working the rifle range one year when we set a record attendance of 888 kids, plus adults.

We fed them all and I believe it took 200 pounds of hot dogs and 100 gallons of chili. Add in the multitude of chips and soft drinks and you have a really big picnic lunch.

For more information on Kid’s Day, call Tom Butch at (330) 301-0536.

Perhaps it is appropriate that the first Outdoor Journal column began around the same date as National Hunting and Fishing Day and Kid’s Day, because that is what it’s all about.

The first column was 18 years ago and that adds up to many weekly columns and a lot of words. When I first proposed an outdoor column neither the Morning Journal nor I had any idea if it would last, but 18 years is a pretty long time.

During a time when many newspapers stay away from sportsmen’s issues I find it encouraging that the Morning Journal has not only published this column for 18 years, but has covered many sportsmen’s events. Maybe those of us who love our outdoor heritage should let them know we appreciate what this newspaper has done for us.