Here we go again, another year to face the trials and tribulations of life. The stock market is higher than anyone ever thought. Unemployment is at a 20 year low. Coal miners are going back to work after their jobs disappeared because of fruitless regulations. Illegal crossings are down 70 percent. Isis is all but destroyed and will never be what they were again. And can you believe it clerks at major stores are again saying Merry Christmas. Tax relief is now in, not just for corporations but everyone. This is just a few of the good things that are happening now. Americans are the most resilient people on earth and when you take the muzzles off they come back bigger and better. The potential of the Dukes mixture of people we are is unstoppable. We are after all the home of the free and the brave. I can’t wait to see what happens the next 3 years. It’s about time.
I had the pleasure last month to make a TV program for WTVP with Wayne Herndon retired district fisheries biologist for our IDNR. Wayne spent 46 years with the department and is considered one of the hardest working and dedicated employees they ever had. Introduced to the Illinois River by his father when he was a kid was all it took. After spending a stint in the US Army and in Vietnam in the infantry he came home and went to work in 1971. Wayne’s accomplishments in fisheries in central Illinois have benefited not only the sport fisherman but also the commercial alike. If you ever had great day of fishing here in Central Illinois you can thank Wayne and his crew for that they had a lot to do with it.
I’ve known Wayne for over 30 years and never met a more dedicated individual. He is the real McCoy. His contributions to the people of the state is unmeasurable. If you know him and many of you do, you will agree with that. A great human being and I feel blessed to know such a fine individual and call him a friend.
We aired a show on WTVP Channel 47 in Peoria on Saturday 30th of December at 5:30 pm with a small sample of Wayne’s work with the Department. If you missed it you can see at: www.YouTube.com, go there and put in asomagazine to see all our TV shows.
I have been fortunate to of spent a lot of time in England over the years and actually have shot more ducks there in a few days than I do here in season. My friend Carl Woods who lives near Chester is one fine water fowler. Carl now who is 69 and still hunts ducks as hard as he ever did. Over there you don’t use ATV’s very often at least in the marsh. They walk a lot to and from the shooting areas and that is where I learned what a walking stick is all about. Here in the good ole USA we all try to be tough guys and don’t use these great tools of the trade. A walking stick can be a broken stick you find in the woods or can be a hand whittled fancy crafted stick but both will serve you well. I can’t count how many guys I have seen go down in the drink picking up decoys or a dead duck in my life time and that includes me. You hit snags, rocks, stumps and holes you name it’s there. But a small inexpensive tool can save most of that misery.
If you went duck shooting over there without a walking stick they would think you were a novice. Over 20 years ago I was introduced to this wonder tool and it has kept me dry ever since. If you are a hiker or a sportsman they are a necessity. Carl brought me a stick with a duck head carved on the top which I hang in my gun room and it is the most practical thing you can use in the outdoors. Try it you’ll see what I mean real quickly. We think we know it all but believe me we don’t.
Now a Red Nose memory from a long time ago but not gotten. The old club is exactly that old. Started in Mapleton Illinois in 1929 by my Grandfather Harry ”Bud” Canterbury. The club was at that time at Rice Lake near Banner. Grandpa was a friend of Mr. Eugene Orendorf of Canton owner of the Orendorf Plow and Shear Company that became International Tractor.
Rice Lake was a couple of thousand acres and one of the finest duck hunting places in the state. I have a copy of the lease dated 1933. The annual lease was $600 per year which would be like $6,000 in today’s money. One of Grandpas friends was Bruce Raker an advertising specialist who sold Canterbury and Company at the Stockyards their pencils, pens, calendar’s etc. A fairly heavy drinker there was no telling what he might do under those conditions. One time he put grandpa on a rat house and told him he would pick him up before dark. Well Bruce got in a bar went home to Summum and woke up in the middle of the night and remembered he left Grandpa on that Musk Rat house.
My Great uncle Lee use to hang out with Bruce on occasions. One time Lee and Bruce went to Havana Illinois in Lee’s new 1937 Chevrolet. Havana was the Las Vegas of the Midwest at the time. Being wide open with gaming and the like.
Bruce’s uncle named Uncle Monkey Jim Raker owned a floating bar and casino in Havana. Being in good spirts Bruce and Lee went there to visit and gamble. Bruce lost some money at his Uncle’s bar and was pretty mad about it. He walked up to him said Uncle Monkey does your boat have holes in it. He said well no it doesn’t Bruce. At that time Bruce pulled a 45 auto and emptied it in the boat. And said well it does now. Uncle Lee terrified ran off the boat got into his new 37 Chevy and went back to Peoria by himself as fast as he could. This story told by my dad many years ago and still gets a laugh as it did then.
Havana is the place where Al Capone hunted ducks and relaxed at his cabin away from Chicago. I have seen Al’s clubhouse many times for it still stands today owned by a mortician from Chicago. I knew his old pusher Hap Lippert who said Al was a great guy except for his crew. Al shot crows, woodpeckers and any other bird and cooked them up according to Hap.
I’m headed to Florida for some winter fishing with my Cathy and the boys. Teddy and I will have at least one more winter and I feel blessed to have him a little while more. The love from a dog is unmeasurable I just wish I was half the man my dog thinks I am.
I hope all of you had a Merry Christmas and this New Year will be prosperous and happy for you and yours. As always there is a lot of heart break through the year and this New Year will be no different than any other. Just make every day count and remind those that love you that they are special to you. Spending time with friends and family is the best gift you can give. Time is one thing that is not for sale. This is not a dress rehearsal and there are no do overs. Happy New Year Friends and keep your worm wet. Keep warm and thanks for being a supporter of ASO all these years.