27 April 2009

It was a cold wintry day when I decided to go deer hunting northwest of the town of Brantley , Alabama , a trip of only about 25 miles from my home in Opp. I did not leave the house until early afternoon. This was my first time to hunt on this particular plot of land. I parked my car not from the person’s house and began to walk slowly down the hill to a creek that flowed through the property. There were plenty of hardwood trees in the area where I was hunting which made the scenery very beautiful. There is something special about the leaves from the trees being on the floor of the forest during the winter months that causes a melancholy feeling to enter one’s mind but there is a certain beautiful about it also.

I was busy looking for deer tracks (they make wonderful soup in case you don’t kill a deer) when all of a sudden there was a strange sound I was hearing like something falling. All of a sudden I noticed that there was an overcast sky and I was surprised because I had not heard anything about rain being in the forecast. Then there it was – snow falling right in front of my eyes. I couldn’t believe it. But it began to fall hard and fast and I was enjoying every minute of it. I stood very still for a lengthy period of time looking for deer, then remembered a peanut field some distance from where I was and decided to walk in that direction to see if I could locate some deer. Before I got too close to the field, which was surrounded by woods, I got down on all fours and crawled quite a way to the edge of the field. What I saw in the snow was indeed a beautiful sight.

There were maybe a dozen wild turkeys feeding, and seemingly enjoying the white stuff that was falling. The turkeys looked so black in the snow. Several gobblers had beards that looked a foot long. Some of the turkeys were flapping their wings. I looked at them for awhile through my rifle scope and wished I could have taken a picture of something rarely seen in south Alabama ~ that being snow, with turkeys to boot.

I looked to my right and down at the other end of the field stood three or four deer but because of the snow I couldn’t make out whether there were any bucks in the small herd. I tried to slip down their way but they caught my movement and slipped away. I sat beside the field until late in the afternoon. The snow was beginning to accumulate on the fallen leaves and trees and I thought I had better leave and go home before it really made it hazardous to drive on the highway. I got back to my car and had to get the snow off the windshield so I could see to drive. I drove as fast as weather would permit back to Brantley and then headed south on U.S. 331 toward the great city of Opp.

Something strange began to occur. The snow stopped falling and the further I drove the less snow I saw, until I got to the point that there was no evidence whatsoever that snow had fallen anywhere in Crenshaw or Covington Counties . When I arrived home and told my beloved wife and children what I had seen and as to why I had gotten home early from deer hunting, there was look of amazement and unbelief in their eyes. I am still pondering the meaning of such expressions that my own family members were saying, like “He has only one oar in the water”; “He is one brick short of a load”; “His elevator doesn’t reach the top floor”; “His front porch light is out” and other such expressions. They even made an appointment for me with a dermatologist to see if my dandruff had gotten worse.

Epitaph On a Grave Marker: “Beneath this grassy mound now rest one Joseph Randolph Greer – who to another hunter looked exactly like a deer!”

Upon reading the previous epitaph, which I found in the Sunday morning comic strip Gasoline Alley, I thought about a friend of mine who worked as a detective in Covington County and lived in Opp. As I recall, his last name was Smith. This gentleman was not always a gentle giant. I suppose he must have weighed nearly 300 pounds. He related to me an incident that occurred while hunting deer in the Barber County management area. He said that he was standing on the side of a ridge and looking down in the deep hollow when all of a sudden a bullet came crashing into a tree next to him. He looked across the hollow and there stood a man with a rifle in his hands. Now, mind you, as required, my friend was wearing a blaze orange vest and it must have been an extra large size one to have fit over his humongous chest. My friend walked down the side of the hollow and then up the other side and he came face to face with the man holding the rifle. (Why the man did not run like blazes is a mystery to me!) Without a word, this giant took a 30-06 rifle from the shooter and wrapped it around a tree and then gave it back to the man and said, “Now you better leave” and leave he did!

Now my friend did not favor a whitetail deer in the least; maybe a buffalo but not a smaller deer. As to why a hunter (?) would mistake a human as a deer when the man was in clear view I cannot understand. I have often pondered what I would have done if I had seen this burly looking fellow who was perhaps foaming out his mouth coming toward me after I had shot at him. My friend, Superman would have appeared to be flying slowly when I passed him in warp speed.

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