Posted 03-21-2004 at 05:26:45
[Reply] [No Email]
It was less than an hour before dark when Jake started pestering to go back to the woods. Fred and I had been working on those palmettos all afternoon and I saw a clear cut case of a boy that knows he's fixin' to be nominated to feed the animals and was seeking an escape route. But I let him go.
"You know he's just tryin' to get out of..." Fred yelled over the rumble of the tractor.
I nodded and shrugged. Turkey season only lasts so long and Jake has invested every spare dime he's gotten his hands on the last few weeks to buying turkey calls, shotgun shells and so forth.
Fred smiled, and we accepted the fact that we would be feeding together, all alone, but neither of us cared. We had just started collecting the feed buckets when Jake came striding up, all out of breath.
"I got one!" He announced.
"Oh horse manure." Fred said. His standard reaction. I don't know why he does that, but it never fails, he never misses an opportunity to tease. "You couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with a brick from five paces." And then because he could tell in Jake's eyes that he was telling the truth...
"What'd you get?"
I just shook my head at the ritual.
"I got a Jake."
"Beard?" Fred asked, not looking up.
"Four inches or so."
"Where's it at?"
"Back in the woods...I'm gonna put my gun away first..."
"Well hurry up, it's getting dark and I don't want you wandering around back there tripping over snakes."
The beard turned out to be almost exactly four inches, not enough for them to really get excited about, but as Jake meticulously cleaned the bird on the tailgate of my truck I grinned at the picture he and Fred presented. Both of them hunkered over the bird, checking the contents of the stomach to see where the flock had been grazing, what they'd been eating, always seeking the intimate knowledge of the turkey's habits to try and gain that edge for next year.
"Poor old thing, he was just trying to eat." Fred said, when Jake described finding thee turkey with his head down in a clover patch.
"Yeah well, so are we." I supplied. Another ritual, and we all laughed.
"You're gonna cook it for me tomorrow, right?" Jake asked.
I ran my hand over the turkey's breast, trying to make it look like I was deciding if it passed muster, even though we both knew that it was on the menu for Sunday supper.
"Well, it's kinda scrawny, but I guess we can stretch it." I smiled at him and he blushed. I guess I'm as bad as Fred when it comes to teasing.