Sunday, June 17, 2012


Jack Renfro was my father.
Bruce was my fathers very best friend while I was growing up which was just fine with me because I liked Bruce maybe as much as my father did. Where my father was dry and always under control, Bruce was effusive and jolly. They never spoke curtly to each other and always had a good time together. When I was a boy, their entire relationship seemed to be centered around fishing and camping. This is the story of how their friendship began:

Bruce and Jack worked together for Hobbs Trailers. It was 1958, life was good and they were in their prime. Jack was a big time fisherman while Bruce was, well, I have no idea what Bruce was before fishing, except a really nice guy.
At some point as the friendship grew Jack took Bruce bass fishing. Jack was not a minnow and worm fisherman. No, Jack liked to use lures, wood carvings and plastic models with hooks attached, replicas of baitfish, frogs and worms, designed to fool a fish into striking the treacherous bait.

They went to Lake Benbrook. Before too long, Jack catches a fish which excites Bruce to no end.
“What did you catch him on? “ Bruce wants to know.
“A Jiitterbug” replies Jack.
“Nah, now Jack, don’t go puttin’ me on” Bruce says, thinking no way could a fishing lure be named after a 20's dance.
“Not a bit” says Jack and shows Bruce the lure with “Jitterbug” printed plainly on the lure.
“Well I’ll be” says Bruce ”I want one of those”
Jack ties the Jitterbug on for Bruce to use. Before too long Jack catches another fish. Bruce is curious.
“Whatcha catch ‘im on?”
“A Devils Horse.”
“Nah, now Jack, don’t put me on”
“Here it is written right on the lure, "Devils Horse!"” So now Bruce wants to use a Devils Horse.
Bruce is very intrigued about the names of these lures and wants to know more names so Jack begins to recite some lure names, like the classic ‘Hellbender”, “Water Dog” and "Boy Howdy", which Bruce sees in the tackle box as being for real.

My dad had crazy names for names for lures that did not actually exist. Names like “The Bottom Sratcher” “Doodlesocker” and “Gullywampus”. There was the "Rebel Yell" "Do-Diddler" and 'Who hit John" none of which were actual lures, just names my father dreamt up. He had a million or so screwball names for lures. and he recited all those to Bruce as well.

The next day at work Bruce comes in, hooked on fishing, and tells Jack that at lunch he wants to go down to Leonards Department store and buy a rod and reel, a tackle box and all those lures they had talked about the day before.
“Can you make me a list of those lures, Jack?”
“I’d be glad to, Bruce”

Bruce goes downtown at lunch and walks into the Sporting Goods Department. The salesman helps him find a rod, reel and Tackle box. Finally, Bruce says “I’ve got a list of lures here” and hands it to the salesman who studies the list for a moment, then looks up to Bruce and with a chuckle, hands the list back to him.

"Is there something wrong?" asks Bruce.
“No, no, nothing wrong really”, says the salesman “But you must have been talking to Jack Renfro!”

And that is the story of how my father and Bruce Myers got to be best friends! 
When I was growing up I must have heard this story a thousand times and never grew tired of hearing it. I'd give anything to be sitting on a camp stool by a fire, listening to the two of them go on into the night with their friendly banter.


Kristi said...

Still love this!

bulletholes said...

Yeah, it will always be one of my favorites Kristi!

goatman said...

I always liked the "Lazy Ike" for bass.

bulletholes said...

"Lazy Ike"...thiose were big up north, when we lived in michigan. you don't see them so much in Texas.