Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mother, Shotguns, and Pink Underwear (Part 2, the Duck Hunt)

Winter time and duck hunting required different trickery. If we had to wade the river to cross to a better duck hunting area or retrieve a downed duck from the river our best hope was the water did not come up to HANES depth. But occasionally it did and was always cold.

Note from Mrs. HH: I couldn’t find a picture of the actual perpetrators for this story. But I did find Dad and Uncles with shotguns, so at least it is related…right?

I remember one time the ducks were wintering on some small potholes across the river in massive numbers. That particular Sunday evening hunt involved my best friend and another close neighbor kid. Both were great friends but the one closest to me had the same first name as mine. I will call him BR. His family distinguished between the two of us by calling me by my first and middle name all in one breath. You know, like you hear in the movies today when they want to stereotype some southern guy as a redneck hick. To this day, BR’s entire family thinks my first name has two words in it. We were constant companions. The other guy was a close neighbor and good friend but not always involved in our hunting escapades. He did not always get our sick sense of humor. I will call him M.

We could see the ducks landing in massive numbers just across the river. Since we were told to NOT wade the river because it was too cold, too deep, running too fast, or too whatever, we had to forget about the great hunt or revert back to our normal devious mode. Our 13 year old minds operated by the, “if we don’t get caught, then we didn’t do it,” rule. One of the semi-geniuses in the group decided the simple solution was to strip, carry all our clothes, shoes, and guns over our heads and wade to the other side. After dressing we would continue the hunt, and repeat the process on the return trip with our duck harvest. No wet clothes, no evidence, hence we didn’t cross the river. One of the great mysteries in life is why no one in a group of 13 year old boys will ever speak out and say, “This is a really stupid idea.” All of this depended upon none of our parents asking us directly if we got into the river. We were devious and a bit wild but none had the nerve to directly lie to our parents or to our friends’ parents. That made the whole illicit adventure depend upon all our clothes being dry and an innocent enough look that no questions were asked. This is what I thought, “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” really meant.

As we started across looking like a nude version of some old “Ramar of the Jungle” episode (look it up---always wading jungle rivers with gear on top of their heads) our plan spiraled out of control. First the river was a lot deeper and a lot colder than we thought. HANES deep water in the middle of December is not pleasant. The resulting high pitched screams scared all the ducks away. BR found the shallowest crossing and was already on the other side getting dressed. I was next and M was last. M stepped into a small hole and almost lost the bundle balanced on his head. He recovered his balance and then noticed his all important clean underwear floating down the river. As they were crossing right in front of BR, M started yelling, “GET ‘EM, GET EM!” In one quick movement BR raised his 12 gauge shotgun and BLAM! Clean underwear blasted into oblivion. “GOT ‘EM!” he yelled back.

M was lucky his Mother was not a counter. My Mother knew exactly how many pairs of underwear should be in each weekly wash. But he still had to endure Sunday evening services setting on a hard pew for over an hour in new starched Levis, sans underwear. Seems the church ladies always found a way to make us pay.

Dedicated to Grandma H ‘the counter of the wash’

--Guest blog, written by Mr. H.
(thanks Dad!)


Doris (Reed) Ray said...

Great Story, "Billy Dean"....

dad said...

Just for the record. The picture of the little brothers is with BB guns. As crazy as we all were we did not give them real guns until a bit later. Still probably too early but at least they were a bit older. That picture reminds me of when they first started to hunt and some college buddies wanted to take the "cute little guys" with us. They were not cute--they were destructive little demons, as he found out. But I did love them and they provided me with a wealth of stories.

Perhaps another post someday about teaching them to hunt. They were demons but I was stuck with them so I did try to train them.

Carlene Hill said...

Has M had a chance to respond? Funny story.

carlene hill said...

I can confirm about the counting of the pairs of underwear. As in, "BD, where's the rest of your shorts." I suspect the "Mother of M" did too. They competed on wash day to each be the first to have laundry on the line - so actually when you think about how far away they could see each other's wash hanging on the line, across a creek and several fields, they may have counted each other's sons' underwear.

Hanes Clothing said...

Very heart touching story,

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