And They all Fall Down PLUS #3

| December 30, 2008

Hunting Raccoons Concludes and the Top Ten Music Countdown Continues for 2008

The number three release of 2008 is:
Aimee Mann – @#%&*! Smilers – Again and again. I just can’t get tired of this one. It speaks for itself.

And They all Fall Down – Final Chapter of “Coon Hunting”

By now we had probably 10 raccoon skins[ppw id=”133612528″ description=”Hunting Raccoons and More” price=”.10″]

in our belts, and this was shaping up to be a profitable night. We continued on, single file, down game trails, across dry creek beds, through fences and off into my unknown. Sometimes the lights would reach far into the trees, looking to see who was looking back, and other times they would be simple guides reaching only a few feet to show the trail or a spot through which we could scrape ourselves like so many little deer. When the lights scanned the trees, it was almost impossible to miss little beady eyes looking back through their masks, doing their best to hide, but to no avail.

At some point we spotted two sets of eyes in tall trees, probably cottonwoods, across a clearing. The clearing existed because someone had come in and cut down a number of trees, and I noticed the stumps just above the tall grass. I was bringing up the rear as usual, but once the eyes were spotted they started running across the clearing – keeping their lights mostly steady on the victims as they ran. About the time I noticed the felled trees were still lying in the tall grass, all the light beams came crashing to the grass. The raccoon tree went dark, and flashlights were on the ground with their carriers – beams pointing straight ahead into the grass at ground level. Everyone except back-of-the-pack me had tripped over trees at full speed, fully loaded. No rounds were exchanged, and once “you all rights?” went around the horn (much like a Waltons ending), we were back afoot and to the tree where we added to our booty.

It must have been four or five in the morning by the time we got back to the farm house, and have no doubt, I would never have been able to find my way back if I were alone. I was assured that my cut of the bounty would be mailed once the skins had been cashed in for reward. I slept plenty late and had some fresh stories to tell that have yet to use up their shelf life.

So, I pulled up to the little tin building just outside Gatesville the Saturday before Christmas this year, as family tradition would have it, arriving at the family reunion only in time to see whoever was left. The bulk of the clan had eaten and made for other parts long before my arrival. As I pulled up, it was easy to recognize JS standing outside with the grandkids weaving though around and away. He was always just so big and … just big. Things kind of turned out like the followup to “Last Picture Show” though, a blown knee ended any chance of playing for America’s team (in my mind) before it started, and now for some of the clan, raising grandkids as your own is a requisite. It’s all good though.

After some food, and a further winding down of the event, JS asked, “You remember that time we went coon hunting?” “Heck yes! I’ll never forget it!”, was my reply. Truth be told, maybe I did forget some of the details. I think maybe they got a bigger kick out of me than I ever got out of them – taking a city boy out in the woods and teaching him how to skin a coon.

Maybe next year I’ll get JS’s version of events that night outside Turnersville, in the country, in the cold and dark. One thing for sure, sooner or later I’m going to ask him where my part of the bounty was. I suspect beer was bought, and the story was told. On the way back home, I decided it was time to get the great winter coon hunting story down before it all slipped away.

I stopped to fish some below the dam at Lake Whitney before the cool front blew me off the water for a few days, and wondered just how much more I have forgotten of the past. The tide is going out, and only romantic potholes of memories remain with flat dry spaces in between.

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Category: Culture on the Skids, Life Observed, Music, OFF TOPIC, On The Road, Paid Reading Content, Writing

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I write. I photograph. I fish, and I live.

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