Maybe I’m a hound dog after all.
Hunting is a big thing where I live. Growing up, my grandfather, uncles, and the male cousins would go hunting in the fall. Mainly, I remember them hunting squirrel, rabbit, turkey, and deer. They would get up early and pull on their gear and spend hours at night cleaning their guns. It was like a secret club that I wasn’t allowed to be a part of and that did not sit well with me.
I begged Grandpa to take me hunting. He would make up excuses, but I kept begging. Finally, my day arrived and I felt like I had just cracked the secret code to the universe when he agreed to take me hunting. He explained since it was my first time hunting, we’d have to do things a different way and that made sense to me at the time.
The next day, he told me it was time for us to go hunting. He said he would carry the gun until we found something, all I had to do was point it out and he would shoot it. We didn’t put on camouflage or orange vests, but I didn’t care. I just wanted to go hunting with my grandpa without the boys.
We walked through the pasture field and started up the path on the side of the hill. I knew the path well and used it frequently. The path lead up the hill to our family cemetery, but about half-way another path branched off that lead up the hollow to my great-aunt’s house. From late fall through early spring, you could still see my house and the dirt road that ran between the two houses. The two house were roughly 100 yards apart.
As we walked along the path, Grandpa told me that since we didn’t have a hunting dog, I would have to bark if I saw a squirrel or a rabbit. I’m not sure Grandpa saw them, but I must have seen a squirrel or rabbit every ten steps so I would let out a “bark” to alert him to ready the gun. Each time, he would point the gun in the direction I indicated and say, “Musta got away.”
We finally came to the part of the path that started down the hill at my great-aunt’s house. We went down the hill and passed through the barbed-wire fence to get on the dirt road to go home. Our hunting trip was a bust.
My mom was leaving my great-aunt’s house and joined us for the walk home.
“Mom, Grandpa took me hunting! We almost got a squirrel and a rabbit, but they got away.”
“Who was making all that noise?” she asked.
“Me! I was the best hunting dog ever! Right, Grandpa?”
He couldn’t answer for laughing.
I still “ain’t never caught a rabbit.”