Quotations and Literature Forum

It is currently Thu Jul 31, 2014 8:45 pm

All times are UTC - 7 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 13 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: The Jolly Mistletoe Hunt
PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2002 12:29 pm 
Offline
QuoteMaster
QuoteMaster

Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2002 3:01 pm
Posts: 806
Location: Jackson, Tennessee
It is mistletoe season. Some folks buy mistletoe but I really enjoy shooting my own. In the year of 1991 I wrote a short story that I titled as The Jolly Mistletoe Hunt. It was inspired by the long hours that I spent hunting deer in a remote region of Tennessee. Since 1992 I have written at least three different versions of The Jolly Mistletoe Hunt. The latest version was based on a journal that I kept during the Christmas Season of 1975 following my first quarter of college. During the month of December I will tell my story in parts by posting progressive scenes from week to week.

It is cold as February here in Tennessee and the skies have turned to gray. I am fixing to kindle a fire of seasoned hickory. I do hope you will sit a spell to share my fire and sip the brandy. :wink:

http://www.candlegrove.com/mistletoe.html


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2002 1:15 pm 
Offline
QuoteMaster
QuoteMaster

Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2002 3:01 pm
Posts: 806
Location: Jackson, Tennessee
The last leaves of November belonged to the oaks but December would soon claim them. The glory of autumn has vanished and now the leafless trees appear saddened. The blue skies have become a twilight gray. A flight of low flying mallards tells me that winter will be an early arrival. Soon there will be snow but first there will be rain. There is a deer bedded somewhere in the safety of the cedars. This buck will not move until it becomes too dark for my eyes to spot his silent movement. After dusk he will slip into this field to feed on soybeans that fell from the blade during the recent harvest. A gunshot resounds in the distance. A patient hunter has taken his best shot at a deer that is perhaps one mile from where I now stand. The single shot tells me that he has taken his trophy. Two does emerge from the broom sage. I raise my rifle to sight the largest doe. She feeds eagerly on the beans but is unaware of my presence. It is the last evening of the first gun season and the last evening of November. I lower my gun because does are not legal game. Tonight I will oil my rifle then hang it on the wall until the second gun season. Tomorrow I will begin work with a construction crew as a general labor. Instead of wielding a Winchester I will be manning a gasoline dirt tamper. Since I am broke and since it is more than one month until my second quarter of college, I will work because I need the money. The prospect of filling my buck tag now seems less than hopeful. In reality the days are getting shorter but my days will seem much longer. The air is cold. The ground is damp. My soul is empty. I cannot recall the last time that I felt this low so this must be the first time.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2002 2:47 pm 
Offline
QuoteMaster
QuoteMaster

Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2002 3:01 pm
Posts: 806
Location: Jackson, Tennessee
It is 6:55 a.m. and the skilled craftsmen muster in crews. A different colored hard hat identifies each crew. The rod busters wear light green. They seem to show enthusiasm and I enjoy watching them work. The brick masons wear gray—the color of mortar. Their muscles are visible even through the heavy shirts they wear. The electricians wear blue and they work with mindful intensity. The red hats belong to the carpenters. Some of them show skill but others appear to be clumsy. The backhoe operators wear yellow. The engineers and the formans wear the white hats. Those of us who are unskilled labors wear dark green hats and we have spades in our hands. We keep an eye out for the men in the white hats. Today we are shoveling crushed limestone. We are busy most of the time but we have to act busy when there is a lapse in work. Acting busy makes the time pass slow. The backhoe man dumps us a fresh load. We shovel the rock into level layers. Our work alternates between indoors and outdoors but it is cold indoors as well.

It is 9:45 a.m. and our morning break arrives. Some of my co-workers eat oranges. Others eat apples or candy bars. I have nothing to snack on so I watch the men eat. Some men are drinking hot coffee from steel thermos bottles. About half the crew light up smokes after they have their snacks. The backhoe operator is telling a vulgar joke. The sound of laughter dissolves the atmosphere of hardship. These minutes pass so quickly and we know our break has ended when the man in white walks up.

It is 4:00 p.m. and the whistle blows. I get in line to punch the clock then walk across a muddy lot to the gravel lot where my car is parked. My first day of work has ended but I am too broke to go anywhere but home. The drive home takes less than 15 minutes. I listen to WHBQ AM. There is rock and roll to keep me company. About half way home I pass by Roberson’s Grocery on Highway 77. The lights are on inside the store. Customers are playing checkers or chewing on baloney. It has been said that if it weren’t for baloney then half of Carroll County would have starved to death. This highway takes me by the land where I killed my first deer. I relive the happy memory of killing my first buck just over one year ago.

When I arrive home I see the bright colors of electric Christmas tree lights through our picture window. My mother and sisters have put the tree up this very day. They are happy to see me. There are salmon patties frying in the kitchen and I am reminded how hungry that I am. I sit down to admire the beauty of the Christmas tree. There are red lights, blue lights, green lights, white lights and yellow lights. Those lights remind me of the different colored hardhats that I see at work.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2002 9:55 am 
Offline
QuoteMaster
QuoteMaster

Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2002 3:01 pm
Posts: 806
Location: Jackson, Tennessee
It is Saturday evening. My steady girl friend and I are sitting in the Pizza Inn in Jackson, Tennessee. We are drinking Coca Cola from glasses and I tell her about my week of working for Daniel Construction Company in Huntingdon, Tennessee. (Her name is not Alice but I always refer to her as Alice in my notes.) I worked all day cutting and hauling wood for Jess Haskell. He paid me $20.00 so I now have money for pizza and a movie. Alice tells me that she has been working at a Dairy Bar all week. My friend Rufus arrives to join us at our table. Rufus tells me about shooting a deer during the first week of gun season. It is an interesting story. Rufus said that he drove his Honda Trail Bike along a field road and parked it. He said he got off his Honda then walked about 100 yards along the edge of a crop field then turned around to look back. He said a buck was walking directly to his Honda as if it were curious to see it. He raised his 30-06 and shot the buck. It was a 3-pointer but a trophy none the less. I am happy but jealous so I ask Rufus to tell the story again. It sounds a bit far fetched but then he is a bit far fetched as well. Our Pizza arrives and Rufus orders a second pizza for the three of us to share. He is Senior at Atwood High School. We have been friends for almost one year. The Pizza is “heap good eating” and I slow down as not to make a pig of myself.

I have not seen Rufus since October. We packed our backpacks and bows then hiked two miles to Rocky Bluff to camp and hunt deer. Rufus wants me to go with him to Land Between the Lakes to hunt deer during the late bow season. I really want to go but it is something that will have to wait. The second gun season opens next Saturday and I plan to hunt. Rufus and I talk about nothing but deer hunting as we are waiting on the second pizza to arrive. I don’t know what Alice is thinking but she is not saying much. It is nice to be sitting with my two closest friends and sharing a pizza.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2002 10:27 am 
Offline
QuoteMaster
QuoteMaster

Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2002 3:01 pm
Posts: 806
Location: Jackson, Tennessee
Today we are tamping fill dirt and I get to man a gasoline dirt tamper. The gasoline exhaust fumes give me a headache but I do not complain. I am thankful to be working but the hours pass slowly. We take breaks from tamping just long enough to fill the units with gasoline. I am wearing earplugs but the noise is pounding my skull. Soon it will be lunchtime. I think about how easy that my life is in college. I get to sleep until 7:00 a.m. and eat a good breakfast in the cafeteria. After classes I get to play volleyball or ping pong and I can study at my leisure. Working on construction makes everything at college seem like a luxury. I miss the leisure of throwing darts in my dorm room. I miss shooting my bow and arrows at target faces on bails of straw. The 50-minute sessions of classroom lectures are fun by comparison to operating a gasoline dirt tamper. I miss going to K & N Root Beer in Martin, Tennessee, to have a pizza burger and a large frosted mug of root beer. Being a freshman in college is like being a kid all over again. Working is much like being a slave. My work pays me $3.25 per hour and that is much higher than minimum wage. I am starting to have fantasies about sitting in Church on Sundays. One of my co-workers says that he wishes he were back in High School. He says that he would do nothing but just sit in class and take it easy.

It is noon and I go to my car to sit in solitude and eat my lunch. There is a black metal lunchbox on the front seat. I turn on the radio then open the box. There are two egg salad sandwiches on white bread. I also have a can of Coca-Cola, one apple and a Mars Bar. My Dad had fixed me the egg sandwiches with the leftover scrambled eggs that he cooked me for breakfast. He and I were the only ones stirring at 6:00 a.m. this morning. My hunger causes me to eat too fast. I must work on being a disciplined eater. My legs are stiff and my head is throbbing. Olivia Newton John is singing on the radio. She is a gorgeous wonder and she can sing like an Angel. Her voice carries me to places that are much happier than where I am right now.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2002 2:53 pm 
Offline
QuoteMaster
QuoteMaster

Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2002 3:01 pm
Posts: 806
Location: Jackson, Tennessee
It is quitting time on Friday. My net pay for the previous week amounts to $110.05. Work is beginning to seem like a worthwhile investment of time. I have no bills, no car payment or no debts. One of the rod busters lost his entire paycheck to a gambling debt. It bothers me to think about it. One of my co-workers drinks beer every night. On Monday he will be broke. I drive to the bank to cash my check. There is a line of cars in front of me but I don’t mind the wait. Tomorrow the second deer season will open and I will invest the whole day into hunting. Alice is working so I will drive by to visit her and order a shrimp basket for my supper. After supper I aim to visit Jimmy Clyde. Jimmy is happily married and works as a maintenance electrician for ITT. His wife Caroline works at H.I.S. and she makes blue jeans for a living. I have not seen Jimmy since the opening day of dove season and he has invited me to visit.

Jimmy’s House is ornamented with exterior Christmas lights. All the lights are bright red and the place looks a bit gaudy to me. His Christmas tree is visible through the picture window. I knock on the door and Jimmy Clyde greets me. He is happy to see me. We sit on the couch and talk a spell. I give him my version of college life. He goes into the kitchen and comes back with two cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. We pop the tops and then drink the tops off the beer. This is only the third can of beer that I have ever tasted. It smells better than it tastes but I do not complain. I tell Jimmy about my construction job and then he tells me about the deer he recently shot. He shows me the eight-point rack from his buck. Jimmy said he was just walking along a logging road and spotted the buck in the woods. He said it was looking right at him when he aimed and fired. The buck dropped dead and that was all there was to it. It sounds awful easy to me, too easy. Caroline walks into the room and we give her our undivided attention. She is wearing a see-through night blouse. Mercy! I can’t believe what I am seeing but I am certainly enjoying what I am looking at. 8O


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2002 7:18 am 
Offline
QuoteMaster
QuoteMaster

Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2002 3:01 pm
Posts: 806
Location: Jackson, Tennessee
The sky is dark and I am sitting on a board that is nailed to the sawed off top of a live cedar tree about 12 feet off the ground. Soon it will be light enough to see. There is a path not more than 20 yards to my front where the buck will enter or leave this thicket. A sixteen gauge Steven’s double-barreled shotgun is lying on my lap. The shotgun is loaded with two rifled slugs. The man who owns this land prohibits the use of high-powered rifles for the safety of his cattle. The air is very cold and the ground is damp. Jimmy Clyde guided me to this stand but he is no longer here. You might say that this hunt is Jimmy’s Christmas present to me. At the moment there is nothing more that I want than to shoot a trophy buck deer. I kind of feel like a living Christmas tree ornament.

It is noon and I have sat patiently since before dawn. The buck has not arrived. Not even the birds are stirring. My bones are sore from the cold. I can see a rubbed sapling near the game path. Other than the buck, I have thought of nothing but Caroline and the chicken salad sandwich that is in my coat pocket. I hate to risk the movement but I must eat the sandwich. If the buck approaches while I am fetching the sandwich then my opportunity will be spoiled. As I attempt to pull the sandwich from my coat pocket it drops 12 feet to the ground.

The buck makes a silent approach and I raise my shotgun. The sight of his antlers is awesome. I have never seen a buck this big and my adreneline kicks in. He stops to sniff a low branch that is above the ground. My hands are shaking badly as I fix the front bead on his front quarter. I pull the trigger but the shotgun does not fire. I release the safety and the click alerts the buck. My shot is hasty. The buck bolts forward with his tail up. A second shot is fired but there is nothing but earth to absorb it.

My instincts tell me that I boogered the shot. My whole body is quivering and my bladder is aching. Minutes pass and I look at my watch. The time is ten past four. The sky is gray. The buck has probably run all the way into the next county by now. My peripheral vision detects movement to my left. To my surprise I see Jimmy Clyde. My expression gives him the bad news. His expression tells me that he already has things figured out. I climb down from the cedar tree and we start looking for a blood trail that does not exist


Last edited by Phantom_Delta on Thu Dec 19, 2002 9:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2002 9:01 am 
Offline
QuoteMaster
QuoteMaster

Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2002 3:01 pm
Posts: 806
Location: Jackson, Tennessee
The episode plays over in the theatre of my mind. Today is Sunday. The sun is shinning but I am too upset to eat scrambled eggs or buttered toast. There should be 150 pounds of venison hanging in the tool shed but the only things hanging are tools. There should be a 10-point buck at Trails End Taxidermy with my name on it but there is no such animal. Yesterday should have been the happiest day of my life. I have no one to blame but myself. Big brother is combing his hair. He does not hunt deer because he fears that a careless hunter might shoot him. Dad does not hunt. My Dad is a lawyer by profession. Mom supports my hunting but she also worries about me. She says that I try too hard and that I take hunting too seriously. It is almost time to go to Church and it will take two of the three cars to transport the entire family


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2002 8:07 am 
Offline
QuoteMaster
QuoteMaster

Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2002 3:01 pm
Posts: 806
Location: Jackson, Tennessee
December 21, 1975


It is 6:00 p.m. Alice is working and I will meet her at 8:00 p.m. when she gets off work. I have been walking the streets of Huntingdon for one hour. I am standing outside an old store building and the words of Silent Night draw me inside. This place looks like a Christian mission. The room is dark but warm and there is a soft glow of candlelight. Near the front of the room a Christmas tree is glowing with blue lights. There are rows of fold up chairs but there are no pews. My presence is noticed as I take a seat near the back, near the door. I am only one of six people who are seated. There is a pretty woman playing the piano. The preacher prays a humble prayer then reads from the Gospel of Matthew. He proceeds to speak but his words seem to have no meaning to me. After a spell he takes a seat. A young woman stands then walks to the pulpit. She has long black hair and her beauty is flawless. The piano plays and the young woman sings in a perfect voice, Oh Holy Night. It is a voice blessed by God. Her voice is so beautiful—celestial. Tears begin to roll from my eyes. I do not resist and more tears flow. The stones in my heart have turned to water. I am thankful that the room is dark. My soul is filled with joy and there is peace within my heart


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 23, 2002 7:31 am 
Offline
QuoteMaster
QuoteMaster

Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2002 3:01 pm
Posts: 806
Location: Jackson, Tennessee
The Man in the white hat has called a meeting. It is almost noon on Christmas Eve. The Man tells us that Daniel Construction Company will give us the rest of the day off with pay. As a Christmas bonus we also get a paid holiday for Christmas and also a paid holiday on Friday, December 26th, the day after Christmas. He also tells us that we must work on New Years Day. Hallelujah! Two and a half days off with pay! I have never had a paid holiday. The gift of time off with pay is very generous. I punch the clock and pick up my paycheck. :D

It is 12:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve. I have cashed my check and I am eating a jumbo cheeseburger at the Dairy Bar where Alice is working. She put extra onion rings in my basket. The food is really tasty. Tonight I am invited to have supper with Alice and her family at 7:00 p.m. She says fried oysters and fried shrimp are on the menu. Alice gets off at 6:00 p.m.

I am at Wal Mart in Huntingdon, Tennessee. I select a Polaroid Camera as a gift for Alice. It cost about $25.00. I also buy film and a box of Cordial Cherries. I buy an Etch-a-Sketch for my sister Jan. She is four years old. I buy a Mr. Potato Head for my sister Val. She is three years old. It is almost 2:00 p.m. and I think that I will spend the rest of the afternoon hunting. I have never been paid to hunt before and as far as I am concerned Santa Clause wears a white hardhat.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 24, 2002 4:22 pm 
Offline
QuoteMaster
QuoteMaster

Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2002 3:01 pm
Posts: 806
Location: Jackson, Tennessee
December 24th, 1975

The ground is covered with a light blanket of snow and I am surrounded by a sense of serenity. The blackbirds are flying low in the winter sky. It has become a ritual to shoot blackbirds everyday after work but I must save my loads for other game. As I follow a path into the woods I see cardinals fluttering in the bushes. I see green holly with red berries. Even the bluejays seem content. I see small sparrows with brown wings and speckled breast. A single quail flies straight up from the honeysuckle. The bird gets tangled in the upper vines and it would be an easy shot but I am in a generous mood. I watch the quail break free then fly off beyond my sight to safety. An invisible path leads me to an aged white oak. There is a gray squirrel running along the lower limb. I raise my shotgun and take a careful aim. The trigger is squeezed but I don't seem to feel the recoil or notice the sound of the gunshot. The cluster of mistletoe separates then falls lightly onto the wet snow. I walk to the base of the oak and pick up the two clusters and place them in my game bag. My hunt has ended but my season has just begun.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 25, 2002 8:48 am 
Offline
QuoteMaster
QuoteMaster

Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2002 3:01 pm
Posts: 806
Location: Jackson, Tennessee
December 25th, 1975

It is almost 7:00 p.m. and I am dressed in woodland cammo. There is an Uncle Henry hunting knife on my belt that Alice gave me for Christmas. I have a new sleeping bag that my parents gave me. It is packed with my possibles in a canvas rucksack. My unstrung bow is in my hand. The bow is equipped with sight pins, silencers, and a mount-on quiver that contains 4 cedar arrows that are armed with sharpened broadheads. Rufus is pulling into our driveway in his Ford 4 x 4 truck. We are going to Land Between the Lakes to hunt deer during the late bow season. I am so excited that I feel like jumping up and down like an organ grinder's monkey. The cab of his truck is so high off the ground that I almost need a step stool to get in. We are north bound on 79 to the Big L. for two days of camping and hunting. This hunting trip is a Christmas present from my best friend.

It is almost 8:30 p.m. and we enter the gates of the Big L. There are deer standing on the sides of the road. We see antlered bucks and does. The deer are a sight to behold. We drive six miles north on the Trace and then turn west on Tharpe road. The map indicates that we are in Jackson Hollow. We turn north on Brown Cemetery Road and park the truck at the end of the lane near the cemetery. We get into the back of the truck to take shelter under the camper top. Rufus has rigged a portable DC television to a 12-volt battery. We are eating venison sandwiches on white bread with mayo. The televison is playing and we are eating and having a good time. The cooler is packed with cokes, fruit and candy. Tomorrow we will rise and shine to hunt deer the Fred Bear way.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2002 6:36 am 
Offline
QuoteMaster
QuoteMaster

Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2002 3:01 pm
Posts: 806
Location: Jackson, Tennessee
December 26th, 1975

It is half past seven. We slept so well that we missed the dawn. Rufus is still sawing logs but I must get out before I pee pee in the tee pee. The sun is shinning and there is a heavy frost on the ground. I can't believe what I am seeing? How come we didn't see that last night when we pulled in here to camp? Who could have possibly left a deer hanging in a tree here? It is a six-point buck and it has been gutted and is hanging from a limb of a post oak tree. The carcass is quite stiff.

Rufus and I are loading the deer into the back of his truck. The engine is running and the frost on the windshield is starting to melt away. We are driving out of the Big L. to the town of Dover to eat a breakfast of ham and eggs. We are so excited that we are bouncing up and down on the seats. The breakfast will be my Christmas present to my best friend.

The End


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 13 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 7 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group