Thursday, August 31, 2006

Young hunter – part 1

by Tom Gaylord

In the picture you will see the two things that were my most prized possessions as a boy. My BB gun, which I always had with me and my dog, Jipper, who was really more of a friend than a possession, now that I think about it. Jipper and I would play hard all day long, going far out into the fields near my house to explore and discover whatever we could find.

I can't say as I remember the shirt or short pants I was wearing that day, but the hat was mine and seldom off my head. People wore hats in those days. In fact, if you went outside without one, you were looked at as strange. Mine was a broad-brimmed felt job that kept the sun out of my eyes, because we didn't have sunglasses out in the country. The city people were still wearing the dark blue glasses that had been popular a decade before, but no self-respecting man of the Nineties would be caught dead in a pair. They called you a dude if you wore something strange like that, and dude was nothing to be called, I can assure you.

I can remember being one of the few boys in town who had a BB gun at that time. Some had their father's hand-me-down .22 single shot rifle, but they weren't allowed to shoot it in town like I was. And that is what made owning a BB gun so fine.

On summer mornings when the squawking blue jays would get in the tree outside my bedroom and raise a ruckus, I could take my revenge out the window, if I removed the screen first. I had taken to unlatching it the evening before and just wedging it in place so the next morning I could silently remove it to take a shot at those noisy birds. I think I must have gotten three or four before my mother found out what was going on and stopped me. She didn't like them any more than I did, but she was disconcerted to find dead birds on the ground outside the back door to her kitchen. So, I had to invent another way to ambush them.

I soon learned they loved meat. In fact, any small dead animals like moles, gophers, mice or rats would bring on the jays like a magnet. So I expanded my hunting skills to include those, as well. I could find all the mice and moles I wanted in the kitchen garden which was conveniently located next to the back of our house. I could see them moving the plants around, but if I moved to see where they were they would always be gone by the time I got into position.


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