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Thread: Memories, tears, irony and random, personal thoughts.

  1. #1
    pUMpHEAD SYSOp Thumper's Avatar
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    Memories, tears, irony and random, personal thoughts.

    Yesterday was pretty rough on me and it appears today is no different as I'm literally typing this with tears in my eyes. This thing with Larke has really hit me hard. He'd many times call just to chat as he was on his tractor working the farm, or in his truck driving to or from the farm. I ALWAYS enjoyed his calls (of course, I called him also) and we'd trade barbs, just talk about life in general, discuss politics or how P-hole could never catch a fish as big as his.

    Back in 1995, I discovered a hunting site called All Outdoors. I was just a lurker and never posted anything, mostly because I was simply uncomfortable with the concept (the internet thing was still new to me at that time). Somewhere along the line, some dufe who went by the name of Larke Plyler posted that he was looking for a Coleman Catalytic heater. They had been discontinued by Coleman due to safety issues (people would use them in enclosed areas and suffer CO2 poisoning - duh). He'd had others and really liked them. He wanted another one for his deer stand so he could take his kids with him and they could keep warm by the heater while he hunted. I happened to have one in my garage that had only been used a couple of times, looked like new and was even in it's original box. I told him he was welcomed to it if he wanted it. (it was obviously before my eBay days!)

    That was my first post ever on ANY internet forum and nobody had a clue who I was. Larke and I chatted for a bit and I found out he and the family were coming to Florida to spend a long weekend at their beach house. I offered to drive over and give him the heater. Now remember, these were the days when ANYONE who posted stuff on the internet were automatically deemed axe murderers, but he invited me to bring an overnight bag and come stay at the beach house with he and the family! WTF? I knew I was ok, but was HE an axe murderer? He gave me directions, let me know when they'd be arriving and I planned on meeting up with them. I'll admit, I actually hid my overnight bag just in case I didn't feel comfortable with the situation and would have an excuse to have to return home. So, I packed a bag, hid it behind the seat in my truck, dusted off the heater, threw it on the passenger floorboard and headed for St. Augustine. I had no clue who this dufe was, but I was about to find out. All I knew was that he was coming down from NC with his wife, daughter and son.

    I arrived at the beach house and knocked on the door. Cheryl answered the door and my first thought was, WOW! This Larke dude has a smokin' HOT daughter! She graciously invited me in and that's when I saw two LITTLE rugrats in the living room, watching cartoons on tv. Bummer, I then realized the "hot daughter" was Larke's wife! Larke and I sat at the dinette table and started chatting. After no more than 10-mins. later, I felt I'd known him for YEARS instead of mere minutes. That's how Larke was. There's NO way you could ever meet him without feeling comfortable and taking an immediate liking to the guy. I eventually gave him his heater and he told me to grab my bag and he'd set me up in the guest room (I don't think I'd ever told him I'd actually hidden my bag, just in case). We talked practically all night and finally turned in. The next morning we walked about a block to a small restaurant for breakfast, I remember "little" David was too small to make the walk and Cheryl had to carry him most of the way. Meredith did pretty well on her own. Now mind you, these days, David is bigger than ME and he and Meredith have both given Cheryl and Larke grandkids!

    We soon hooked up with Gator and went on a dozen or so gator hunts together. I've been to the beach house a few times over the years and I believe the last time was to spend the extended July 4th weekend with he and the family. I met up with him in NC when Lynn and I took Lynn's mom up one Fall to see the leaves changing color in the mountains. I arranged for us to meet up with Larke for breakfast and Lynn's mom commented afterwards about how extremely nice and welcoming he was. That's just the impression ANYONE would get after meeting him. When I was driving my truck, I shut down for a break in Matthews and Larke drove over to pick me up. Even though he was the Police Chief at the time and had work to do, he still took the time out of his day to make me feel welcomed. We spent the morning at the office where I met everybody he worked with, we went to breakfast with a couple of his officers and a Detective (I think), then spent the rest of the day just goofing off. He was that kind of a person ... he ALWAYS made time for you.

    BTW, Cheryl is just like Larke, one of the nicest, sweetest people you'd ever want to know. I can't imagine the pain she's going through right now. I remember when Larke was with the Sheriff's Dept. (where his moniker "Captain" came from). The Sheriff was retiring and Larke decided to run for election to fill his spot. I even contributed to his campaign fund. Then all hell broke loose. Cheryl was diagnosed with cancer and things were NOT looking good for her. Larke immediately dropped out of the campaign and missed his chance to become Sheriff, but Cheryl was his ONLY priority at that point in time. He'd call and we'd talk for hours during that ordeal and he was devastated. He was sure he was going to lose her, but she ended up a survivor and he was the happiest man on earth! That's also when he became Police Chief of the little adjoining town and built the police department from the ground up as they had previously contracted with the Sheriff's Dept. for their police protection. So, missing the chance to run for Sheriff actually turned into a better opportunity for him!

    Last night I pulled the file to check the Good Hunting balance sheet to see if we had enough funds to send flowers. I found something in the back of the file that brought tears to my eyes. When Cheryl was going through her cancer scare, things were not looking good and there was a good chance she wasn't going to make it. I went out and bought a condolences card to send to the family when the time came. I still have that card ... and now, ironically, it appears I will be sending it to Cheryl instead. Life pretty much sucks right now and I will forever miss Larke's phone calls, as well as the ability to pick up the phone and call him.
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness" - Mark Twain

  2. #2
    Administrator BarryBobPosthole's Avatar
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    You’ve summed them both up pretty well, Jim. Anyone who has been lucky enough to go to their place knows the warm reception they give you is genuine, and Hammerhead is just like him. i don’t know that I ever met Meredith.
    Larke was just as giving with his time and focus. When I was in the horsepistol with cancer he calledjulie every day to check on her and in the process he managed to make HER feel better too. There are many, many examples of him being a mentor to younger folks on his FB wall. He called all the time and he was always genuinely interested in how you were doing.
    I miss him too, and I feel so bad for Cheryl and their family. When I became a grandpa I toldhim many times it was the bestjob in the universe and you could tell how much he was enjoying Waylon and he was excited as could be when Hammerand his wife announced their second was on the way.
    I have thought and thought about trying to go down there but between my co-morbid self and the covid being hot as fire down there I don’t think I’ll make it. Wewill find a way to get together and wake our friend in person when this corona stuffis over though.

    BkB
    Viva Renaldo!

  3. #3
    Grand High Exalted Taser-Master
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    I never knew Larke except what I picked up on here but I'm pretty sure he'd be pissed about us being all maudlin. I've felt like I've been kicked in the stomach ever since I found out. It's human nature to be sad but Cappy brought a lot of life to this board and after a proper period of respect, I'll continue to make jokes about him. He was a great guy who could take it as good as he could give it

    Life is for the living


    BTW, I think Helen logged in last night, at least a member named Helena something something was here after midnight. It wouldn't let me look at the profile

  4. #4
    Senior Member (too much time on their hands) DeputyDog's Avatar
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    I had the pleasure of meeting him once for a short time. It was when he and JB were meeting up to head out to Montana to hook up with Big Sky. JB left his truck at Hotshotís house and I went over and took the opportunity to meet the two of them.

    I didnít get to stay long because I had to go to a school function with my wife that evening. (I got in trouble with her because I stayed longer than I should have ). It was obvious that they were both really good guys.

    A couple of years later I was having a hard time at work with my boss at that time. I was a Detective at the time and had gotten caught up in the middle of a internal politics issue and had ended up resigning as a Detective and going back to road patrol on nights to get away from everyone. I was pretty disgruntled and one day made a comment on here to Larke about if he was hiring. I was just blowing off steam when I made the comment, but in short time I got an email from him.

    He didnít have any openings but asked for my resume and said if I was serious, he would spread it around in his area.

    He was willing to go out on a limb for me after a brief, less than an hour, face to face meeting and my posts here.


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  5. #5
    Administrator BarryBobPosthole's Avatar
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    I had some guns stolen several years ago out of my truck while it was parked at my house. The cop that came by to investigate was more interested if .i was filing an insurance claim than anything else. I showed him a scope from my rifle on ebay that very next morning and he said he didn’t know anything about the internet or ebay. So I followed up with a eetective in our little PD and he told me the officer who investigated thought I was lying about it to collect insurance. I never bothered to tell the fuckers that with my deductible I’d be lucky to break even. I was complaining to Larke about it and asked for his advise. He called he chief of police in my town and had a talk with her about it and the whole attitude about it changed. I don’t know what Larke told them but it made a difference.
    Still, even though
    i told them who had done it, they never followed up. I imagine they had bigger fish to fry than my little theft. But I always thought it was cool that Larke reached out to try to help.

    BKB
    Viva Renaldo!

  6. #6
    pUMpHEAD SYSOp Thumper's Avatar
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    When I was in the hospital, he was "Information Central". He talked to Lynn quite often, but she was trying to work, then run back and forth to Tampa every day. He called my mom EVERY DAY for an update and would talk with her. After I was out of the hospital and had recovered, he continued calling my mom at least 2-3 times a week just to check on her. They got to be good friends and even though my mom never met him in person, she always said he was one of the nicest people she's ever known. It got to the point, she'd get worried and upset if a few days passed without hearing from him. He was just that kind of a guy.

    Deppity, my hunting buddy in Ohio had a son who was born just a few months before my son was born. I watched the kid grow up. He always wanted to go into law enforcement and any law enforcement courses he could take while in school, he took them. When he got out of school, he was looking for a place to start his career and I hooked him up with Larke, who became sort of a mentor to him. He got hired on as a patrol officer (in Ohio) and actually became the Police Chief later in his career. He and Larke continued to keep in touch through the years and are Facebook friends.
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness" - Mark Twain

  7. #7
    Senior Member (too much time on their hands) jb's Avatar
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    I met Larke over 20 years ago, not long after we stopped to meet and greet on our annual trip to FL. during spring break.
    We decided to meet in the parking lot of Winn Dixie in Matthews, he asked what we were driving and told us to look for an unmarked police car when we got there (ya, like I knew what his unmarked car looked like)
    We arrived on time and as we drove in he flipped on his lights to let us know who he was. After a quick introduction he said to follow him home. Kay was rather nervous about the situation, and got really concerned following him down some North Carolina country rounds, she was convinced we'd never be seen or heard of again.
    On the way he pulls into a elementary school to pick up David from the first grade, that settled Kay down a bit. We then drove out to the farm (before the house was built) and he showed me around while Kay entertained David. Later on we went to his house, introduced us to his parents (who we'd spend the night with) and settled down to a great first time visit.
    Side note, if you ever met his mother Janice, you would know the definition of a real Southern Lady !
    After that meeting it was pretty normal to stop by every spring and spend a night or two with Larke, Cheryl, Janice and Evan. on our way down.
    Had a chance to go to Rabbit Camp one spring, deer hunting a few times and turkey hunting a couple of times, (famous for falling asleep in the woods as a nice Tom walked by ) Last turkey hunt was with #3, and watched Larke call in a nice Tom from about a county away for Dougs first kill, then a few weeks later Doug received a nice package in the mail with the fan mounted and a nice brass plaque attached.
    We finally convinced Larke and his family to venture North one summer, spent about a week with us, I think it was his first time North of the Mason/Dickson line. He was really surprised with how nice 85 degrees felt with no humidity. Took him and the family for a boat ride on the bay, he was looking over the side and warned me about the huge rocks under the boat and told me to slow down, I smiled and showed him the depth finder reading 42', he was blown away. We then went to a friend cabins on the Manistee River for about a half hour tube float, as we walked though the woods and meadow he kept looking around and I asked him what he was looking for, he said "snakes", I laughed and said no copperheads, rattle snakes, or water moccasin and don't worry about alligators as the water is to cold.
    The other thing he couldn't get over was as we walked into the river he remarked he could see his feet in two feet of water.
    As far as going out of his way to help people, when #3 was laid off from the State Police, Larke called and asked if he could help, Doug mentioned if there was an opening in the NC DNR for game wardens, a few days later Larke called back and said he'd set up an interview and physical test for him and to come on down. We had a great trip, Doug past the interview and test with flying colors, but found out he had to go through their academy for the job. A year earlier he had just graduated from 6 months at the State Police Academy and didn't really look forward to going though another, but was very impressed on how quick Larke had set this up.
    About 5 years ago we arranged for Larkes mother come North for a visit, great time with a great Lady, I think just a year later she started to have health problems and couldn't travel anymore.
    Last big adventure with Larke was back in 05 when we put in application for Mule Deer in Montana, we didn't get drawn on the first round but Larke got drawn on the second round, I did not. He was going to cancel but convinced him that I'd love to go along just for the trip, seeing as I was just retired and had nothing else to do. Stopped a Bawana's house for a night and a day of bird hunting, the onto Troy's place in Sidney. Troy and Larke hit it off really quick and being old and needing a nap, I let them two go out and shoot some Prairie Dogs together.
    Most of you think Larke was fearless but I found out his one weakness, he hates heights. We took a side trip through the Roosevelt National Park just before you enter Montana, some of the roads are along some pretty steep and deep drop off's, I happen to come a little to close to one and found Larke sitting in my lap as I was driving, he did not like looking down that cliff.
    Well that's my story and I'm sticking to it, sure will miss that man, he was one in a million.
    PS:
    Larke was good friends with Randy Travis and a number of years ago Randy was giving a concert up here. I mentioned that to Larke and he said did you buy tickets yet, and I said no, so he calls Randy and had tickets waiting for us at the concert a long with a meeting with him after, Randy's road manager had us wait till all the other people had their change to meet him and then he would have more time with us.
    Really a nice guy and we spent time telling our stories about Larke and then Randy telling his, I don't think people really knew about all the connections Larke had with people and politicians.
    Last edited by jb; 08-01-2020 at 11:39 AM.
    The older I get, the better I was

  8. #8
    pUMpHEAD SYSOp Thumper's Avatar
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    I found through the years, there's hardly anyone on earth worth knowing, that Larke doesn't know already. He and Randy go WAAAAY back. Randy's been through some rough times, health wise and "others", but Larke was always there for him.

    As for heights ... many may know, he WOULD NOT SET FOOT IN AN AIRPLANE. If he needed to go somewhere, if he couldn't drive, as far as he was concerned, there was no need for him to be there! I'm surprised he could work up the courage to get into a tree stand. 'Course, that may be one reason his "tree stands" were more like condominiums.

    BUT ... if a copperheadedrattlemoccasin came slithering by, he'd just reach down and pick the sucker up!

    Larke was a real character and a true friend. I can't express here how much I miss him already.
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness" - Mark Twain

  9. #9
    Senior Member (too much time on their hands) Big Skyz's Avatar
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    One of the best and shortest hunts of my life. I often look at these pictures and they always bring a smile to my face. I've hunted with countless individuals. Most of them were good people, a few sour grapes, but overall good. Of all the people I've ever hunted with Larke is the only one that when walked up to his buck he was emotionally overcome. I knew that he knew he had something special there as the tears were rolling out of his eyes. I always appreciated the fact that he truly appreciated that deer and the effort I'd put in before the season to scout things out. I've hunted with others from this site and they were great company (I'd hunt with anyone of them again in a heartbeat), but there was just another level when I saw those tears of gratitude in Larke's eyes. It was an awesome experience!
    MuleDeerLarkeTroy.jpg
    MuleDeerLarkeA.jpg
    MuleDeerLarkeJerryB.jpg

  10. #10
    Administrator BarryBobPosthole's Avatar
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    Great memories.
    BKB
    Viva Renaldo!

  11. #11
    Senior Member (too much time on their hands) jb's Avatar
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    And to remember the first set-up for the shot Larke had to move because he sat down on a cactus, Troy, ya done good !!
    The older I get, the better I was

  12. #12
    Administrator Arty's Avatar
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    These are all some great stories! I enjoyed reading them.


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  13. #13
    Senior Member (too much time on their hands) Big Skyz's Avatar
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    I forgot about the cactus. 😆

  14. #14
    Senior Member (too much time on their hands) Buckrub's Avatar
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    Just now got to an internet connection. I'm in Shipshewana, IN. Just got back from trailer being worked on. My grandson called me about 30 minutes before I got here a few days ago and told me. He saw it on Facebook. I don't Facebook anymore.

    I have a lot of words but just can't spit 'em out now. My life has had too much sadness for most of this year. I loved the guy, like y'all did. I hit "saved places" on my truck GPS yesterday to get to the RV Repair Guy's place, and I saw "Larke Farm". Just lost it..........

    More when I can. If I can.
    WARNING - Due to the rising costs of ammunition, warning shots will no longer be given.

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"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body.
But rather, to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming...WOW, What a Ride!"

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