Posted 09-07-2003 at 07:26:36
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....and let Jill go on an all night hog hunt last night. This is a first. Jake's been on all nighters and even though she has asked before I never let her, but last night she really put the pressure on.
"Mooom! Pleeeease?!" Her voice went up three octaves. "John and Wendy are finding a babysitter for the kids and EVERYBODY is going! Daniel, Dusty, Paul, Edward, Gina...." The list went on and on. "There's gonna be three trucks and six dogs and about a dozen people! Please!? Please?! I promise I'll call you every two hours and let you know that everything is okay!"
"Everybody won't be there. Your brother won't be there. I'd rather he was there if you go, so he can watch out for you."
"Paul will watch out for me, and I'll watch out for myself. I'll stay with one of the trucks, I promise!"
Turns out it was an uneventful night. Except for two things. One was the massive hog they spotted that got away. The way Jill tells it, it came out of one corner of the orange grove and bounded through the rows, only giving them a long enough glimpse to be able to tell that it was a huge black boar with a big white spot on the side that according to Jill, resembled a target. She said it was like something out of the movie the Headless Horseman. It came galloping out of the fog and darkness like an apparition, and by the time they realized what they were seeing it disappeared under the fence into the adjoining property and was gone. John, the ring leader, was fit to be tied.
"Do I have to do EVERYTHING myself?!"
By the time Edward was on his feet and fumbling with the catch on the dog box to release the dogs, the hog was gone.
"Ya'll have to pay attention now, or we're wastin' our time!"
Two a.m. found them clustered around the vehicles, a cool breeze blowing, the dogs waiting silently in their bozes, the hunters scattered about in various stages of relaxed repose, waiting. It was then that the dogs scrambled to their feet, Duchess growling low in the back of her throat. Two other dogs began to whine softly.
"What is it?" Someone whispered.
"Not a hog." John whispered back. "They got scent of something but it's not a hog."
"How can you tell?" Asked Jill.
"I can tell." He said simply. By then Duchess' growl was continous, a low constant rumble. Jill said the sound of the dog was enough to raise goosebumps all over her. Everyone got still and listened.
Suddenly a voice came out of the darkness.
"Hey John....how's it goin'?" An unidentifiable voice attached to a shadow, coming out of nowhere with no warning.
Duchess went wild and John had to yell at her and bang on her box with his fist to calm her down.
"Who is that?" John called into the darkness.
"It's me Jamie....and Josh."
It was Jake's best freind Jamie and his little brother.
"Good gravy boy! How the he11 did you find us?! Your place is two or three miles from here. You come here on foot?"
"Yeah....I heard the dogs and we just followed the sound. Where's Jake at?"
"He's gone deer hunting in South Carolina." Jill supplied.
"Oh, well, ya'll mind if we tag along?"
"I don't mind," John said, "but I don't know about that boy there." He indicated Josh. "He's no bigger than a popcorn fart. I reckon he'll have to stay in the truck with the women."
"Not unless you got something to tie him down with. He won't stay in no truck. He's tougher than he looks." Josh never spoke, just stood by while his brother took up the slack on his behalf.
By four a.m. they had given up the chase and were headed for home. Everyone piled into the trucks, Jamie and Josh seated at the back. John had planned to exit out of the grove using the road closest to Jamie's house so they wouldn't have to walk so far. He pulled up to the highway and stopped to allow them time to jump off. When no one moved he hollered out the window.
"Jamie, you boys gonna get off?"
"They've been gone, John, they slipped off a long time ago. Jamie said he wanted to check his hog traps."
They had gone the same way they had come. Silently, swiflty, with no warning.
John shook his head, spit a stream of tobacco juice out the window and chuckled.
"Boy reminds me of myself not too many years ago."
Jill said that was a high compliment and she figures that Jamie will always be welcome on future hunting trips.
I know that I am not of the same caliber of Jamie and John and the others, in fact being the big chicken that I am I would probably be more trouble than I'm worth, but the next time they go on an all nighter....I'm goin'.