Monday, I decided I would mulch the leaves in my yard. All my trees are bare now and there were too many to rake. Susan is getting better every day so she said I could go fishing if I wanted to or mulch, after I had gotten down the Christmas decorations because our friend Julie was coming to help her decorate.

That left me free to mulch. I’d rather wrestle an alligator than put up decorations.

Before I got out the Deere and put on my mulching attachment, I had raked all the leaves out of my fences and flower beds. I started mulching and it went well. I got it all done but the last piece and on one of my rounds I saw something in the grass and leaves.

It was my Silver Jitterbug cell phone. Just as my front wheel passed it, I stepped on the brake-clutch, turned the wheel, clicked my blades off, and watched as my shredded phone was scattered along behind me by the time I stopped. Even the flip-top metal body was no match for a mulching Deere. I gathered up the pieces and went to show Susan and Julie and “splain” how it happened.

I had my gloves on and carried it in. When they stopped laughing, I put it down on a box that had held Christmas decorations. I was at the sink when they started screaming the box was on fire. I still had my gloves on. The Battery was smoking and flaming, and an acid-smelling cloud of smoke had filled the room.

Julie ran and started raising windows as I turned on the ceiling fan. Susan could only watch. I grabbed the battery and carried it to the sink. It had been so long since I retired, I forgot how to handle these new batteries. They don’t like water. Fire and hissing noises along with another cloud of steam and smoke rolled up in the kitchen.

I grabbed the battery and headed for the back door. The battery was still hot, smoking and sparking. I tossed it out on the cement patio and watched it die. I now know how all those bad accidents and fire caused by phone batteries happen we see in the news. Even if they don’t get run through a lawnmower, they can get hot.

Susan ordered me another phone since we had insurance on this one.

Tuesday, I hooked up and went fishing. Launching at our ramp I could see gulls working in the middle of the lake. I headed out there, got upwind and drifted into them. They moved on up toward Grand Pappy except for a few that stayed around me.

I picked up a rod with a 3/4 oz. jig Head and a Chartreuse 4- inch YUM Mud Minnow tied on. I made several long casts before I got a nice striper. More fishing in the same area I caught two more box fish. Even though the gulls had moved on some stripers had stayed. I chased them some more but it was the same story — I’d get there, make one or two casts and they would leave. I gave up and headed off to fish one of my winter bass holes.

As I passed the small cove across from the light house it looked like a snowbank of white gulls. I came in and cut my engine about halfway back and was under the gulls and they were all feeding. I started catching fish on every cast.

I swapped My YUM Mud Minnow I was using for a white 4 inch YUM Pulse on a 1/2 oz Jig head, it didn’t sink as deep and worked like a champ. I stayed there and the birds did too for about 20 minutes. I was having a blast. I could see another bunch working in a different place and started toward them.

My boat was slow to come on plane and held it’s nose up higher than usual, it felt sluggish. I jumped up, raised the lid to get to my batteries and they were almost underwater. As they are all sealed no lake water got in them. I have two valves inside that compartment that I use to drain my live wells.

The last time I had used my boat I had opened them when I got it loaded to drain the water out as a cold night was coming. This time I forgot to close them and water runs both ways. Backing up forces the water into the live wells and with no drain it stays. I closed them off and fished a while longer with my bilge pump removing all the water it could. I went, loaded and pulled out letting the water run out as I went home. I got two “Here’s your sign” this week so far.

Strike 3 — the first two were my fault. Now this Friday I had nothing to do with the weather but come hail, sleet, rain or snow, and it could do all four, I’ll be at the Gunter game. It’s close to my house for a change. Anyone reading this that wants to have good Italian food before the game, Devolli’s Restaurant and Homesteads Winery and Craft Beers Pub is only two blocks from the stadium on Main Street. Good food, wine tasting bar and live music.

Now for those coming to the Gunter-Holliday game, with heavy rain and cold windy weather forecast, don’t count on cheap rain gear to keep you dry or warm. One thing you can get is one of those yellow rainsuits like construction workers wear. They work well for keeping you dry, windproof and large enough you can put them over bulky clothes.

For the money they are a good buy. Being a fishing Guide for years I have some top-notch rain gear but you would gulp at the price you pay for it. I had some friends I worked tackle shows with who had raingear sponsors and got me a good deal on them. I still have two pair.

I aim to be warm and dry at the game along with a thermos of hot coffee. My forecast: Tigers and Eagles are going to play a heck of a game. Prediction Gunter by seven. Be there.