Remembering Wolf Bayou
of the river through the forest. The distance is over a mile. Just imagine timber so tall, stately and shady that all of the undergrowth was starved out by lack of sunshine!
John Choin was a quiet and gentlemanly man, and he wore a hat that I'd have given a farm in Texas for. It had a large flat brim and a round crown with no dents. He was an outgoing person, and I wish now that I would have talked to him more and made some notes on his remembrances.
Wolf Bayou itself was fished so heavily that there was a well-worn path all around it. Muddy Bayou flowed into it from the east, but a large tree had fallen across it about 75-100 feet from its juncture with Wolf Bayou, and the path followed right over on the tree trunk.
Many baptisms were held in the bayou. There were several picnic areas, and many came there to swim. There was no supervision over the bayou. That, and the depth of the water, contributed to a number of deaths by drowning.
Sometimes, there would be difficulty in finding the body of a victim, and then Tim Sample would be sent for, and he would find and bring the person to the surface. He was an expert swimmer, and I can remember people, with awe, tell how he could swim across the Mississippi River, touch the Tennessee riverbank, and turn around and swim back. Tragically, Tim himself became a victim of the river much later. He was liked by everyone, and all mourned his untimely death.
Sometimes people would camp there. No one cared who came or how long they stayed. Family picnics, swim parties (some nocturnal), boat riding and just plain socializing took place regularly. No gate, no charge, no curfew-just enjoy.
The woods between the bayou and the river had many pecan trees, some of them large. People could pick up all the pecans that they wanted. When I was a boy and just beginning to hunt, Papa would hunt along with me, and he knew where all of the large trees were. Those large trees were smorgasbords for squirrels.
He would take me to within sight of a large pecan tree, and he'd go a slightly bit different way. I'd slip up to the tree and get one or two squirrels from it, and he would reappear and we'd