Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Fishing Gypies

Two weeks ago, I attended a lake outing on Tims Ford Lake. Tims Ford Lake is a beautiful lake located in Middle Tennessee. The lake was built from 1966-1970. At that time, it was only a couple of years old and there wasn't much development around the lake. It almost seemed a little desolate. I've added this map of Tims Ford Lake that I did in honor of my childhood trips to the lake. I removed all the labels (towns, creeks, rivers etc..) in order to focus only on the lake.
I remember as a boy, camping on the lake during a hot summer weekend with my father, mother, uncle, aunt and cousins. My father and uncle were very close and had been fishing together for years. This was our normal fishing family and we fished many lakes and rivers together. We arrived in our 1972 White Ford Pickup that had an "Open Road" slide-in camper mounted on the back. We pulled a boat trailer with a Sears 14 feet aluminum Jon Boat. My uncle had the same rigs, but different brands. Going down the road we looked like a band of gypsies, so someone coined the name, "Fishing Gypsies." 

Our camp site backed up to a slough, as they called it, which was really a hollow (small valley) that the lake has filled. We noticed that a lot of turtles surfaced in the water. My uncle thought that a lot of turtles were a bad sign because he felt they ate the fish. Interestingly, we named the slough, turtle creek due to the numerous snappers. 
After setting up camp and putting in the boats, it was fishing time. Since we were kids we spent the rest of the day on the banks fishing. 
Supper time was special. Each of the four adults had a chore that had been honed over the years while in the "Fishing Gypsy" family. My dad and uncle were in-charge of grilling steak and/or frying fish. The ladies were in-charge of the sides, potatoes/beans/greens. We even had a special side called "River Tators", basically fried potatoes with caramelized onions. When it all came to gather, it was a delicious feast that you did not want to miss. I can still taste it today.
Yes, we had entertainment! My dad always brought an AM/FM Transistor Radio, Friday night was general music, Saturday night was Grand Ole Opry, and Sunday was the NASCAR race. Well with it being Friday night, the radio was playing general music and a new song came on the radio station. It was by Chuck Berry and the song was "My Ding-A-Ling." I'm not sure if anyone remembers that song, but it was a number one song with very cute lyrics that some thought a little dirty. This song came out in July 1972, which has allowed me to date the year and month we camped at Tims Ford Lake. 
We had such fun listening to that song because it connected to our camp site. Here's the portion of the lyrics that made everyone belly laugh. "Once I was swimming across turtle creek, man them turtles snapping at my feet, sure was hard swimming across that creek with both hands on my ding-a-ling." Even being twelve years old, as I looked across that creek behind our camp with those turtles surfacing, I understand why you have both hands on your ding-a-ling while swimming across.     
  We didn't catch many fish, just a few catfish. My dad and uncle thought that the lake was too young, however this was a perfect "Fishing Gypsy Family" for a twelve year old kid, ding-a-ling! 

Since I'm very artistic and creative, I began to paint lakes, rivers and bays in order to bring back those golden memories like the one above.

I call them LEO Lakes Treasured Maps and have painted over 200 from 36 states using USGS maps as guides. I feel like FORREST GUMP who started to run and run and run. I paint, and paint and paint rivers, lakes and bays. I have a goal to paint 1001. Who knows, LEO Lakes may be coming to a store near you.

They make a truly unique and special gift for the lake house owner, lake lover and fisherman. Makes a Great Christmas Present!

Here's what makes them so Special!

I hide a few fish and even a tiny mermaid in the waters of my lakes. Yep, but they're very shy and don't want to be found.Folks just love'm especially the kids. You might even think they move around overtime.

You will find no road names, county, or state lines on my maps. I have found that folks enjoy traveling the roads with their eyes, while trying to get their bearing. I call this the "Leo Lakes gaze."

I call my maps Treasured Maps because every treasure has a Ruby and so do my maps, each have a Red Ruby Meridian.

I add a vintage plane flying over my maps to signify an adventure to your treasured lake, river, or bay.

You will find wildlife in all my maps. These signify the natural beauty of your treasured lake, river or bay. I use wildlife that is common to the subject lake, such as Canadian Geese, Great Blue Heron, Bald Eagles and others.

You can add a star or symbol with a few words to mark that special place, it may be the location of the lake house, the spot where you caught that trophy fish or some grand view. This will make a very special gift for the lake lover. 

Did you know that you can always tell if its morning or evening on a Leo Lakes map? Just look at the shadows cast by the wildlife, is the shadow on the east or west? If it's on the west, then it’s morning time. Oh yeah, I have had folks tell me that they change through the day, but don't believe them.

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