February 2013 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 3
o you know of anyone around here who was sofamous that he wound up in the pages of theSears-Roebuck Catalog?Just think, the Sears-Roebuck Catalog!This man we're going to talk about had a unique productto sell. This is really something. This man was so wellliked, you couldn't even get a ringside seat close enoughto hear him talk at his favorite watering hole during busi-ness hours, well, coffee table, anyhow.Let's take a flashback of perhaps half-a-century; herewe go again on one more story about famous Palo PintoCounty folks:There is a watchmaker of fine Bulovas and Hamiltonsliving right here in Mineral Wells whom most of youknow. He has a tiny shop at 214 North Oak Ave. [If you'rea fast walker, why, you'll go right by the shop, not know-ing...]He and his wife, Ellen, and daughter, Mary Ellen, liveat 1110 S.W. 7th Ave. with two small grandchildren.You could be walking up North Oak Avenue past histiny shop to perhaps glance through his plate glass win-dow, to observe the watchmaker bent over his little work table, cleaning and repairing fine old watches with a sharpeye and steady hand.But if you would only pause as you are passing by, per-haps you'll see several men standing around in the crowd-ed little shop, and if you could hear the conversation,well, more than likely it wouldn't be about the fine move-ment of a Bulova, but rather the slinking movement of asly bobcat.If you haven't guessed by now, the watchmaker isEdward E. Ford, the man whose product wound up in theSears-Roebuck Catalog.Ed lost one of his legs in 1947 and is a bit slow in get-ting around. This put a damper on his hunting and fishinguntil he went out fox calling with a bunch of local friendsone night.In reminiscing about that first night, Ed Ford laughedand said "there was something tugging his pant leg; look-ing down at his feet he noticed a gray fox knapping hiswooden leg."It was about 66 years ago (1946) when he went out withNorman and Halley Jones, Jimmy Bateman and DaveDodson; he thought they were crazy "trying to call upfoxes with a silly racket they made by blowing into apiece of plastic about the size of a half-smokedcigar."The bug bit Ed. As time went by, he experi-mented with every known type of commercialcall and even tried making his own calls outof cow horn, plastics, different woods andmetals, even a toy doll that cried "waaaa."Finally Ed perfected a call that got results,and this is where Sears-Roebuck came in.After many mistakes the finished productwas ready for market. The body or shell isof a black plastic material about threeinches in length and one-half inch indiameter with a stainless steel reed, all of it weighing less than 1 ounce.It comes in an attractive clear plasticcontainer with instructions on how touse. Each call is hand-tuned and comesin three tones: fine, medium andcourse. Ed named his call "OldFaithful" and it retails for $2.50 [Thiswas the price in the 1960s so don't getexcited.]Ed is an old master at calling andhere's how he does it: he cups hishands around the call and blowshigh notes deeply from the pit of hisstomach to imitate a wailing cot-tontail or maybe a deeper toning asthe jackrabbit.I cannot imitate Ed's wail andhave not heard anyone else whocould get the same tone, even thesame technique; he has a style of hisown, proving it time and again on red foxes andgrays, coyotes, coons, ringtails, bobcats, hawks and owls,one mountain lion, even a snake. Ed laughed, glad thereptile wasn't a diamondback.Let's just say that Ed has positioned himself behind abrush pile in a mesquite flat; this small flat lies well off the beaten path with mountains and rugged country allround – a likely looking spot for a bobcat.The sun is dropping low and the stillness begins to coolas shadows crawl. Everything is quiet, so quiet a nearbycooing mourning dove sounds strangely heavy.
Outdoors Along the Brazos
Outdoors Along the Brazos
By Don Price
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