Friday, September 01, 2006

Young hunter – part 2

Young hunter - part 1

by Tom Gaylord

Then I got the idea of sitting on top of the back porch roof, where there was a good view of the whole garden. I was looking down into the rows of plants and the small critters were now quite visible to me. I shot loads of them after discovering that, and once my mother learned what I was doing, she not only gave me her blessing, she encouraged me! In fact, she would often bring me a glass of lemonade or a sandwich while I sat out there and watched.

Once I shot a chipmunk outside our coal cellar and started an argument between my parents. My father thought it was a good idea because he said they were digging holes around the foundation of the house, which they were. But my mother said they were so cute they shouldn't be killed. They didn't argue in front of me, of course, but I could hear them when I went to bed, because my room was right above the kitchen where they talked. The outcome of that argument was what triggered my most famous stunt as a BB gunner.

My mother was against my shooting anything that she didn't consider a pest. I told her I figured that gave me an open license to blast my older sister, but she wasn't amused. She said that in the future I would have to clear all game with her.

For several days, I didn't hunt anything at all. The mice and moles were almost gone from the kitchen garden and there was nothing else I was allowed to hunt, so for what seemed like several weeks but was probably only a few days, I was reduced to shooting at clothespins and marbles. After a stint as a hunter of live game, these were poor substitutes. Then one day, everything changed.

My dog, Jipper, was stung by hornets while he was romping in the back yard. He came tearing around to the front of the house and finding no way inside, went off down the street at a fantastic clip. My mother and I both heard him, but he was moving so fast and howling so loud we were temporarily confused as to what to do. Then my mother heard the noise through the kitchen window. It was a loud humming coming from above the window, so she called me and we went up to my room together. There we saw it—a colony of hornets was building a nest on the tall pole that suspended our telephone wires outside the house.

Although our house was not yet electrified, my dad was one of the first people in town to have a telephone installed. It was on the wall in our parlor, and the wires came in from the street through the back yard. There were only 23 other families in town who had phones at that time, but businesses had them and dad wanted to stay in touch. The telephone exchange was only a block from our house, so the connection wasn't hard to make.


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