Scaredy Cat

Have you ever known anyone who was scared of everything? Our soon to be fourteen year old is. He is even scared of his own shadow. Now he just loves to watch scary movies and anything about ghost hunting but can’t even take the trash out after dark. My husband, Randy, can’t help but try to scare what little wits he has left out of him.

One night, Randy sent him into the backyard to do something and of course, it was after dark. As soon as Daniel cleared the back porch, Randy flipped the porch light off. I thought Daniel was going to tear the door off the hinges as he wrenched it open to get back in. He skidded across the kitchen floor and slammed into the stove, laughing hysterically.

Another night, he wanted to go ghost hunting in the fields behind the house. Of course Randy told him there were ghosts back there. So he grabs the flashlight and his sister, Alyson, and heads out to get on the four-wheeler. Randy hadn’t put any gas in the ATV, so he hoped they would get out in the back field and run out. No such luck. They didn’t even go past the garden when Daniel thought he heard something and came racing back to the house. But he still swears he’s going back one night.

Then there was the time that it was almost dark and Daniel was bragging that he would walk through the barn. Randy had told him a night or two before that he had seen something in there and didn’t know what it was. Randy told him that he would give him a dollar if he would stay in the barn for fifteen seconds. So, Daniel set off. I was dutifully timing him as he went into the barn. It wasn’t long before he came out the front of the barn, squealing like a girl.

Daniel likes to go help his dad log. One time we were logging behind our house. When we log, sometimes it gets muddy. I mean quicksand muddy. You step in that stuff and sink faster than you can blink an eye. Daniel was helping out and stepped right in this mud. Before he could try to get out, he was stuck in there up to his waist. Randy tried to pull him out with no luck. So he gets on the dozer and tries to angle the blade so Daniel can grab it. Daniel thinks that Randy is going to push him out so he starts screaming. Randy is laughing so hard that he can’t explain to Daniel what he is going to do. So Randy turns the dozer around and comes back to the house. He was coming back to get the four-wheeler and a tow rope to pull him out with but Daniel thought he was leaving him there. And seeing as it was starting to get dark, Daniel starts freaking out. Before Randy can get the rope and get back up there, Daniel comes screaming into the yard, no pants, no boots and covered in mud. We laughed until we hurt. And we finally fished his clothes and shoes out of the goop.

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                                                           My Scaredy Cat- Daniel 

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Hope goes hunting

It’s one thing for the people of this area to be out in public around here, I mean people look over it. But, every now and then, some escape. Like the one time when four of the local men decided they were going to Florida. They took the coon dogs so they could go hunting for raccoons and one of them had always wanted to see the ocean, so road trip it was.

They made it to Florida rather uneventfully and got ready to hunt the first night. Now, when asked if they knew someone down there to hunt on (which translates to do you know someone who will let you hunt on their property down there) they replied that they didn’t, just stopped beside the road and let them dogs out. So, I guess this is what they had done that first night. So they were following the dogs and the area they were in just continued to get swampier. They were finally traversing through a large creek (this was how they described it), when one of the guys shined his light off to the other side of the bank. “Look at the size of them bullfrogs they got down here.” The man said as his light reflected off a large pair of eyes. “You dumbass, them ain’t bullfrogs, them’s crocodiles!” That successfully ended the night’s hunt. The guys went back to the truck, which had a camper top on it. The group would never had thought of renting a room for the night, so they crawled in the back of the truck and went to sleep. They were awakened the next morning by noises outside the truck. They emerged into the bright sunlight to find a couple of men working on the road. One of the guys walked over to the road workers (who happened to be African Americans) and asked, “You fellers know where we can find any coons at around here?” One of the road workers responded, “What?” Another of the men, afraid that the road workers had been offended, rushed over the the first speaker, “Now, don’t you go calling these here niggers, coons.”

None of them thought they’d make it out alive. Finally after not having much luck in the strange state, they decided to find the ocean, so they could begin the journey back home. The men found the ocean, got out of the truck and walked down to the water’s edge and stood, staring out into the expanse of water. The man who had always wanted to see the ocean cleared his throat and looked to his companions, “I always thought it would be bigger. Let’s go home.” And with that, the crew loaded up and came back to Hope. I don’t think they ventured that far from home again. And it’s a good thing too.

Now, most all of the men in Hope like to hunt. Women too. But the men will hunt almost anything and go anywhere to do it. Well, as a community, they would go yearly to Ohio and Wisconsin to hunt. The stories that they brought back were often much better than the meat that came with them.

When they would go to Ohio, they would take what campers or motor homes that were available to supplement the small older buildings that were already on the property. All of the guys from Hope would stay in their own little community up there. This was a great setup for amazing stories but maybe not so great for some of the guys.

One rainy day during deer season, Randy and a couple of the other guys had decided to not traipse through the woods in the cold downpour. The three of them were sitting around in an old garage on the property, hunched in front of wood stove, sharing stories, food and maybe a bit to drink. One of the men stood and informed the other two that he was going out to take care of business. The two remaining, my husband included, continued the conversation, until it was interrupted by a tremendous racket from the back of the garage. It sounded as if a bear was going to tear through the back of the building. They looked warily at each other. Randy shrugged, he wasn’t sure what was going on. In a few moments, the sounds ceased. Shortly, the other man made it back into the garage. He sat down and joined in the conversation, as if nothing had happened. Well, before long, the curiosity couldn’t be contained. Randy looked over at him and asked what the racket out back had been.

“Well big man. It’s like this. I had to shit you know and it’s been raining cats and dogs all day. Well that ground looked cold and wet. So I looked around and saw an old milk crate sitting out there. Well, I figured that would be much better to sit down on than the cold, wet ground. So I got that crate and sat down, the problem was that I didn’t notice the big crack in the top of that crate. Well, it gaped open and snagged my old sack. I had a bitch of a time getting it off there too.”

I’m not really sure if Randy laughed or not but I sure did when he came home and told the tale.

I’m not sure why but most of the tales they tell involve bodily fluids. I guess men are just fascinated by them. Another of the stories that they tell, involving bodily fluid is one of my favorites. This happened during a trip to Wisconsin. The guys were traveling in an older motor home that belonged to my husband. Well, the bathroom in it had quit working, so my hubby took the innards out of it. As they were cruising along, the guy riding shotgun got up from his seat and started to the back. “Where you going?” Randy asked. “Gotta go piss.” Was the reply. “Don’t use the bathroom, remember it doesn’t work.” “That’s okay, I’ll just piss in a cup and pour it down the sink.” “No you won’t. That don’t work either. And if you do, I’ll kick your ass.” So went the conversation. After a while, the man made his way back to his seat. “Well, what’d you do?” “I pissed in a cup.” “Did you leave it sitting back there?” “Nope, I opened the door and poured it out.” I always wondered what the people following them down the interstate thought of that rain shower.

Another time, the same man was riding shotgun but another of the buddy’s was driving. The driver was drinking from a large styrofoam cup of coffee, the other was chain smoking. So, there they were, smoking and drinking and heading down the road. Suddenly, the driver spit a mouthful of coffee out onto the dash. “What the hell?” He shouted. “I just drank a cigarette butt.” “Oh, I thought you was using that for an ashtray.” The dude riding shotgun had been flipping his ashes and butts into that cup the whole time they’d been up there.

So you see, sometimes it’s not a good thing to let these guys out of Hope. Like I said, we’re used to them here.

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Things my kids mispronounce

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Bob resguising as a cowboy!

I’ve always loved the way kids mispronounce words. It’s so funny the things they come up with. I almost hate it when they start school and the system drums it out of them. Well at least we can enjoy it until they do.

One of my favorites is the way Alyson says vegetable. She says vengtable. It is so cute. The other kids try to make fun of her but I always make them quit.

When Thomas was little, he never could say sissy, so he always called Alyson “Hissy.”  And Daniel would always ask, when he was small, if him and Daddy were going to town to get diesels. Whenever I fix a cake, Daniel asks if I’m going to put “icining” on it.  

Now when Bob was smaller, he channelled Arnold Schwarzenegger. He would run around saying, “I got a water bottle.” He sounded just like The Terminator. We had many good laughs over the phrase. Now, he has begun to add re- to every word. So for supper, we have retaters (potatoes). If he gets in his costume box, he is resguising (disguising). He even likes to eat renaners (bananas).

Will Henry always tickles me when he asks what. It’s so cute when he says “What’n.” He never can leave the “n” off of it.

Do your kids ever mispronounce things in a cute or funny way? What kind of things make you giggle? Let me know, I always enjoy a good giggle. 😀

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Vicious Serpent

Anyone who knows me knows that I am petrified of snakes. Doesn’t matter what kind, whether they are alive or dead or even if it’s a picture on the computer or one on television. I freak out! My husband says that I can run on my tippy toes on water if I see a snake. He gets many laughs from this.

Today, I was following him to the local gas station so he could put air in my tires. He pulls over at the ATV shop down the road from our house. Wondering what’s the matter, I pull in beside him. Now since he has a penchant for tearing things up, when he got out and began to play with his windshield wipers, I automatically thought he’d broken them. So I get out of my vehicle and walk over to see for myself. When I approach, I notice he’s grinning. This confuses me, since I think his truck is broken.

“What’s wrong?”

“I’ve got a hitchhiker.” He states and raises his wiper up for me to see. Wrapped around the wiper, clinging for dear life is a teeny tiny green snake. Well, I scream and take off through the parking lot yelling at him to get the thing off there and step on it. He removes it from the wiper and walks to my vehicle to show Bob. Bob squealed but then stopped to study the tiny thing. I am safely squatting down on the other side of the vehicle watching my husband. I really didn’t trust him. When Bob has looked his fill, Randy starts around the back of my vehicle while I high-tail it around the front. I stop when I realise that the owner of the shop had stepped into the parking lot wondering if we were ok. Didn’t I feel silly. Randy continued toward Johnny, holding up the offending reptile.
“What’s wrong?” Johnny asks.

Randy laughs, “Vicious serpent.”

Johnny then walks up to Randy to inspect it. He’s enamored with it. I don’t know why. He even went as far as asking Randy what he planned to do with it, to which I yelled, “Stomp it!”

But no, not these fellers. Johnny decides he wants it. So my hubby passes it into his hands as he’s telling him what had transpired. Well, I guess he wasn’t thinking too clearly because he just happened to tell Johnny that the little feller had probably fell off the tree in our yard that he parked under. Then I started thinking, not only does Randy park under that tree, I do too.

With that thought still in my mind, we start back down the road. It was only moments when I began to feel things crawling up my legs or up my neck. I could just imagine those little green heads poking their way out of my air conditioner vents or up through the defroster. I thought I’d roll my window down a bit and try to calm myself down since I was jerking the car all over the road as each of these imaginary critters slithered over me. Once the window was cracked, all I could think of was what if one was on the top of my vehicle and decided to slide through the open window. Then I became convinced that if I rolled the window up, I would catch one of those half in and half out of my window and I could just see if wriggling there by my head. Shivers raked my body and I broke out in a cold sweat.

By that time, we had reached the gas station. I pulled up to the air hose and calmly got out of my vehicle. When Randy came over to me, I looked at him and said,

“I don’t care if you pretend or what, while I am gone into that store to get us a drink, I want you to check my vehicle and make sure there aren’t any of those things on or in it. I don’t care as long as you reassure me that one won’t pop out on me as I drive down the road.”

He laughed heartily and promised he would. And when I came back out, he did. I watched as he diligently checked my car. He even went so far as to tell me that it probably hadn’t come from our house at all. Even though he thinks I’m nuts, he loves me anyway.

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This is not the snake that we saw but it is roughly the same size. No serpents were harmed in the making of this story, unfortunately.

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My Olympic Gold Medalists

I sometimes wonder what my kids will be when they grow up, as I am sure most people do. I have decided that my wonderful children will all be Olympic Gold Medalists, if they add a few new “sports” to the Olympics.

Bob, the five-year old, would win a gold every time if they had a competition for the most comical faces. He makes an awesome pirate face. Then he has his singing face, his serious face and his “Are you kidding me?” face. He’s got them all and they are hilarious.

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               Bad Bob

Now, Will Henry, our nine-year old, would blow away the competition if he could compete in talking. Everyone thinks he’s this shy little quiet fellow when they meet him, but no, he could talk the legs off a millipede. Once he gets started, he does not stop. He talks to me sometimes until my ears go numb.

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                     Super Will- with the ability to talk without taking a breath!

Daniel, our thirteen-year old, has the gift of foolishness. He can come up with the corniest sayings and the silliest songs. He would surely bring some gold home for us with his imitations and his crazy dance moves.

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                                                     Daniel- Crazy at it’s best!

Sweet little Alyson, the eleven-year old, would have the competition all wrapped up in wheedling. She could sweet talk an eskimo right out of his coat. I’ve seen people with steely determination crumble when she turns those big brown eyes on them and begins her pitch.

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                                        Alyson, who could resist those eyes!

And last but not least, Thomas, our other nine-year old (almost ten), is a master of zoning out. He can sit in a room full of people talking and laughing and be a million miles away. Most times you have to yell his name at least five times to get his attention. I don’t know what goes on in that head of his, but let me tell you, it must be amazing.

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                                   Thomas, ready to get into the zone!

So see, I have a house full of potential gold medalists. If only I can figure out how to get these categories added on to the next Olympics.

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Coveralls, Jammies and Other Bits

My husband Randy had a good friend named Jeff. Now Jeff could have had a whole book himself, he was always into so much. Many of the stories in this book he was involved in. He had a penchant for getting the shitty side of things and usually causing major damage.

Like the one time, him and two other guys went to help a friend move. They borrowed a truck to make the move in. They get started down the road and Jeff decides he needs to blow his nose. Now Jeff always had a cold or something. So they root around in the truck and can’t find a thing for him to blow his nose on. Well Jeff doesn’t get deterred, he fishes under the seat until he comes up with an old pair of pajamas. He doesn’t pay much attention to the condition of said jammies, just puts them up to his face and proceeds to blow his nose. As his sinus passages clear, he begins to smell something. He takes the jammies away from his face and looks at them closely. “What the hell?” He exclaimed. “These here things are covered in shit.”

Completely disgusted, he rolls down his window and chucks them out. Almost immediately, a ruckus starts beneath the truck. The guy driving decides to pull over and check it out. He gives his signal and taps his brakes to slow down. The brake pedal hits the floor. He stomps and stomps the pedal with no response. Eventually, he gets the truck stopped and the three of them get out to see what has happened to the old truck. Well, when Jeff had chucked the jammies out the window, the wind caught them and pulled them underneath the truck where they became wrapped around the drive shaft. The drive shaft had whipped them around and around, causing them to tear every brake line off the truck.

Another time, Jeff had borrowed a buddy’s orange coveralls to go hunting in. Well, the day was going well in the woods, until Jeff decided that nature was calling. He found him a good spot and pulled those coveralls down. He merrily went about his business, finished up and went back to hunting. When he came out of the woods at dark, the guys all gathered in the old garage to compare stories. The fellers were piled around the old wood stove talking about their day. As they slowly thawed, you could hear sniffing. Some of the guys started complaining, “Hey, do you smell shit?” “What’s that smell?”

Before long, they had the smell pinpointed: Jeff. He didn’t understand what was going on but he got out of his coveralls and when he did, the source of the smell was discovered. When he’d been so careful that morning, taking his crap, he had accidentally shit in the hood of the coveralls. So, he had inadvertently worn the offending scent all day, obviously killing any chance he had of seeing a deer.

Another time, the shit literally stopped his hunt. He’d found him a great spot and settled down, about the time he got comfortable, he realized he had to go. He had always heard not to crap where you were going to hunt, so he went a ridge over, so as not to mess up his hunt. He found a nice big tree and looked all around, just to make sure there wasn’t anyone else in the area. Seeing nothing, he pulled down his drawers and commenced with his business. As the stench began to permeate the woods around him, his concentration was shattered by a bow hitting the ground beside of him. He stopped, mid push and looked up. There sat a woman, who was obviously livid and obviously the owner of the bow that disrupted his shit. Well, since he was puckered tight after all the commotion, he wiped his ass with as much dignity he could muster. Pulled up his drawers and apologized to the woman before high-tailing it back to his stand.

Another time, Jeff was helping a friend strip tobacco. As they finished up the day’s work, a woman who was helping told them all not to worry about lunch the next day, she would bring a pot of beans (pinto beans) to cook on the old wood stove. So, Jeff took her at her word. The next day, the pot of beans simmered on the old stove all morning. Lunchtime came and Jeff and the man he was helping lit into that pot of beans and ate until they about busted. The crew went back to work, about two hours later, Jeff said that his belly started working. He kept at the tobacco for as long as he could stand it. When the cramps became too much, he ran for the house. The guy that had helped him eat the beans took off about the same time. “Little son of a bitch run faster.” Jeff said of it all later. Well, the other guy made it to the bathroom first and was seated on the throne. Jeff couldn’t wait, so he dropped his drawers and stuck his rear over the bathtub. The explosion that followed, sent shit all the way to the ceiling. Relief flooded him, until he wiped his hind end and looked at the damage he’d caused. He went out and got in his vehicle, heading home before the guy’s wife came home and saw the mess. He didn’t show up to work any more that season. Later on, he found out that the woman who fixed the beans had doctored them up to give them the runs.

Food was always the bane of his existence. He really loved it and would eat until he would literally blow up. This happened to him one time on a hunting trip to Ohio with the gang. The guys came in from a day in the woods to a buffet fit for a king. Two long tables laden with goodies. Jeff filled his plate: once, twice, three times. He continued to visit the food tables until he was sitting there picking small bites off and grunting as he brought them to his mouth. “That there’s some good food.” He said as they pushed him away from the table. Finally, they got him to the trailer and into bed. About three in the morning, he woke Randy up looking for a flashlight. Randy told him there was one in the drawer. Jeff got the flashlight and headed to the outhouse. The guys that were staying close to them had taken an old porta-potty and wrapped it in tarps (I’m not sure why maybe to keep the wind out) and placed it inside a pine thicket. Jeff had gotten close to the structure when the flashlight went out. Beneath the pines, no light could shine through and it was as dark as the inside of a cave. Jeff knew he was going in the general direction and continued on, going back was not an option at this point. The pains were hitting hard and fast. Just as he reached the structure, he became entangled in the ropes used to tie the tarps up, one catching him around the neck. Well, he began flailing around like an old hen caught up in something. As he flopped and flailed, he could feel the explosion building. He dropped his drawers, found the door and got it open a split second before the eruption. Finally, when the urgency passed, he untangled himself and went back to the trailer to get ready to hunt.

Randy, who had gotten ready and left the trailer right after Jeff had awakened him, walked back into camp around lunch time. He stopped to talk to another one of the guys there. “Yep, old Bob said he’d love to catch the feller that did it, he’d probably shoot him. He’s been cleaning all day.” “What are you talking about?” “Old Bob wants to catch the person that defouled the outhouse.”

Well, as soon as Randy heard that, he knew what Jeff had done. He got on into camp and everywhere he turned, the men were all talking about what had happened to the outhouse and making guesses as to who did it. Jeff never said a word. Finally, Bob got it cleaned up and everything went back to normal. About two days later they hit the road home, Jeff began chuckling to himself as he rode in the camper with Randy. “What is it Jeff?” Randy asked him. “I got him, I really got him.” Jeff replied, giggling more. “I never really liked that old son of a bitch anyway.” “Who are you talking about?” Asked Randy, beginning to suspect the answer. “Old Bob. Never did like him and now I got him back. I shit all over his toilet.” Jeff’s grin was bigger than the mess he’d left. “I got tangled in them there ropes, one had me around the neck. I had to shit powerful bad and couldn’t get loose. I finally got backed up to the door, so I just opened it up, pulled down my pants and let er rip. I didn’t care what I did at that point.” He grinned at Randy. “And then when I got done, there was only one little square of toilet paper. I knew that that little bit wouldn’t wipe this here ass. So I had to get my knife out and cut my underwear off to wipe my ass with.”

Poor old Jeff, he sure did have a problem with shit.

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So What, I know I didn’t raise any Einsteins.

I’m not sure, but maybe it’s the water in Hope. Or maybe it’s genetic but man, sometimes my kids are not right bright. I mean, downright dumb! But like I said, it’s probably in the water, I hope it will wear off.

One nice spring afternoon, I received a call from Stephanie. She was on her way to my house and had pulled over on the interstate. “My car is driving funny.” She informed me. I asked her what she meant and she told me that it was shaking all over the road. I asked if she had gotten out and checked to see if she had a flat tire. No, she told me. I waited while she got out to check.

Steph: “Yeah, it’s flat.”

Me: “Okay, well do you have a spare?”

Steph: “I don’t know. I did have but I used it last time I had a flat.”

Me: “Well, did you put it back in the car after you used it?”

Steph: “I don’t know. I just had new tires put on.”

Me: “Do you have a jack?”

Steph: “I don’t know.”

Me: “Well, can you get out and look? I can come and change it but I need to know what to bring.”

Steph: “I know I don’t have a jack, someone borrowed it and didn’t bring it back.”

Me: “That’s okay, I have a jack I can bring but I need to know if you have a spare tire.”

Steph: “I don’t know.”

Me: “Do you know where it is?”

Steph: “No, I don’t know. The last time I seen it was when I had the flat before.”

Me: “Do you know where in the car it is?”

Steph: “I don’t know. I told you I’ve not seen it since I had the flat.”

Me: “Do you know where in the car it would be, if it was in the car?”

Steph: “Yeah.”

Me: “Well, can you get out and look to see if it’s there?”

Steph: “I’m parked beside the road.”

Me: “That is usually where you are when you get a flat. I need you to look, so I can stop and get a spare if you need one.”

Steph: “I’ll call you back in a minute.”

 

Well, the next communication from Stephanie was a text telling me that some man had stopped to help her. I finally figured out it was the emergency roadside assistance our state provides. So, they got the tire changed and she continued on to my house. By the time she reached the house, Randy had made it home. We went out in the driveway, to check out the damage. We wanted to see if the tire could be repaired or just needed to be replaced. She opened the trunk to show us the offending piece of rubber. When my husband lifted it out of the car and set it down on the ground, Stephanie pointed to it and said, completely seriously, “See, it’s only flat on the bottom.” I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

This isn’t the only instance of not quite brightness. Randy convinced “Pole” (Stephanie’s nickname) and Daniel Boone (our thirteen year old) that he had purchased a toll bridge and he needed them to work it. He told them that one of them would stand on either side of the bridge to collect tolls. He would then split the tolls collected with them. They nodded but didn’t say much about it. A couple of months after that, we were sitting in the living room one night when the two of them asked when we would be opening the bridge so that they could start work.

He also had them convinced he needed them to count the crawdad holes in our front yard so he could buy some chemical to put in them to kill the crawdads. He told them that the chemical was very expensive and he needed to know exactly how many crawdads there were so we wouldn’t waste money by buying too much. Finally, his guffaws alerted them to the ruse. I don’t know how many they counted before that time. Of course there was the night that after watching wrestling with Randy, Pole looked at him very seriously. “You know that’s not real, don’t you?” She asked him. He was speechless.

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I am. . .

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I am from Eastern Kentucky. The place where stereotypes run wild. Yes, we have hills and hollers, might be called hillbillies but we are more than that. There are love and compassion here, fellowship and humor. We are more.

tobaccosetter

I am from places where tractors, four-wheel drive trucks and all terrain vehicles are more common than luxury cars. I am from the place where a fishing pole, shotgun or a knife are passed through families for sport or for providing for your family. The place where fields are plowed and hay is cut. Wild berries are picked and preserved or consumed right on the spot. Mud and blood sometimes go hand in hand and one is enjoyed as much as the other, badges of honor.

cave run 2

I am from the place where neighbors still care. A call when you’re sick, a hand when you need it. A place where evening visits end in the early morning hours. Bonfires and cookouts, trail rides or camping. Where food and drink are shared as freely as the laughter and insults. Where people turn into legend from the good or the funny that they do.

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I am from the country where our pride and our work ethic go hand in hand. Where we can play as hard as we work. And fight for what we believe in.

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A place where country churches are filled with song on Sunday morning and the service sometimes ends with baptism in the creek behind. Where we still have dinner on the ground and churches are not the only holy places.

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I am from frogs singing in the pond as the whip-o-will calls on a starry night around the fire. I’m from sweaty days that grow long in the fields under the baking sun and end with a dip in the creek. I’m from country festivals where the smell of frying country ham and pork chops vie with the exhaust fumes of vehicles searching for a place to park. I am from the sound of rifle fire in the cold morning air on the first day of deer season. A child’s first deer or fish, held with pride as they grin into the camera, knowing that this is what’s for dinner.

billys

I’m from backyard baseball games refereed by lightning bugs. I’m from fodder shocks in the front yard cut fresh from the garden. I’m from sledding down the hills with the kids and throwing snowballs until laughter makes you drop. I’m from swinging on the porch swing in the spring air with the scent of flowers blowing past you.

I am from Eastern Kentucky.

 

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Potty-training with Bob

     Bob, our five-year old, has been potty-trained for a while now. Thank goodness. So he’d thought he’d share a few of his potty-training tips with you today.

Tip #1- Clothing is not necessary

     At least it wasn’t for Bob. When we first started potty-training, he decided that if he couldn’t wear the diaper, he wouldn’t wear anything. Now this wasn’t a huge problem unless someone pulled into our driveway. One day, our local Jehovah’s Witnesses paid us a visit. Before they could even open their car doors, the greeting party was upon them. Bob, stark-naked. He looked up at them, grabbed his thingy, pulled, crossed his eyes and grinned. I think he just about choked on the dust when they peeled out of our drive. I think we’ve been labeled as heathens based on that visit. I think everyone in Hope has seen his package by now.

Tip #2- Only go when you have to

     And wherever you happen to be. Bob always seemed to have the urge strike him as he stood on our front porch. He’d stand on the top step and water whatever or whoever went by. There were many summer days when one or more of the older kids would run in the house yelling that Bob had just peed on them. Then there was the one time we were travelling on the interstate when he informed us he had to go. We encouraged him to wait until we reached the rest area, less than a mile away. The family cheered him on as he restrained himself. We skidded into the rest area sideways, jumped out and retrieved him from the backseat. As soon as his feet hit the ground, he jerked it out and let it rip. Of course we were mortified, telling him he needed to wait until he got inside but other rest area occupants ended up on the ground trying to contain their guffaws.

And last but not least.

Tip #3- Everyone makes mistakes

     Just don’t cover them up, unless you can do it with a curtain. I have a beautiful wooden shelving unit. It has five shelves on the tall side and two on the smaller end. I had it positioned so that the smaller side was beneath our living room window. One day I began to smell something. I asked my hubby if the dog had happened to come in and leave us a present. He said that she hadn’t been in but I doubted him. So I searched and searched and finally I found the source of the scent. On my pretty shelf, covered up with my curtain was a wonderful pile, left by my darling Bob.

     Like I said before, thank goodness he’s potty-trained.

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Hunting in Hope

I guess most people would say there’s not much to do in Hope. I guess that’s why most of our stories revolve around hunting. In case you’re wondering, we do it not just for sport or to have something to do, we do it for food. Everyone around here eats venison. Needless to say, we would all love to kill a trophy buck but the only one that’s ever accomplished the task is Bob and no one’s ever seen his.

Remember Bob, he’s the four-year-old, well, he loves hunting as much as the rest of us. We have “hunting houses” built in various spots around the property. So one day, when he was three, I took him out to one of the houses and we sat down to wait. As we were waiting, I explained to him to watch the creek beside of us, “because one might come up out of it” and to watch the field in front of us, one might come out to feed.

Well, the little feller sat diligently all evening waiting for his big buck to appear. When it got dark, we headed home, still hadn’t seen a thing. We reached the house and my oldest daughter was there waiting on us. “What did you get Bob?” She asked. “Sixteen point.” He replied with a straight face. “He come up out of the creek and I put him down.” All of this was told with much waving of his hands, showing her how the deer came up out of the creek and how he went down. By this point, my daughter is getting really excited. I look at her like “Really? You’re talking to a three-year-old.” He continues to regale her with his tale. My husband walks in the front door. Bob runs up to him and commences with the telling of the tale. “You gotta take the four-wheeler and get my deer.” He implores. Now, my husband and my daughter are both wondering if he really did shoot a deer. Especially one of such epic proportions. I finally can’t stand it any longer and burst out laughing. It dawns on them that Bob has told them a “big ‘un” and they sit down to listen to him enhance the tale. So the story goes on for a little while and then Bob, who I think convinced himself that he really did kill such a deer, starts really aggravating Randy to go fetch it. About this time, one of the neighbors knocks on the door. He’d dropped by to show off the antlers from a deer that he’d killed that morning and taken to the packing house. As he walks through the door, Bob accosts him. Grabbing for the antlers, Bob is screaming, “He’s got my deer, he’s got my deer.” Unfortunately for the neighbor, Randy and I were too busy laughing at the sight of our three-year-old hanging from the antlers and kicking at him to bother about getting him off. Finally we caught our breath long enough to save the neighbor. Bob pouted for several days over that deer and the guy stealing his horns.

The next year, when deer season rolled around, he was ready to go again. I took him again during the weekend youth hunt. We went back to the same house and set up to wait. This time, we had better luck. Right before dark, four does entered the field. Bob raises up his head, points and yells, “There’s some deer Mom.” Maybe these were deaf deer because the outburst didn’t phase them. They continued to graze in the field in front of us. We watched for a few minutes and I asked him if he really wanted to shoot one of them. “Yes.” He was emphatic. So, I fix the rifle on the sandbag on the shelf in front of us. I sight in on the largest of the does. As I get things all settled, I tell him it’s time to pull the trigger. He leans over and looks through the scope and pulls the trigger. CLICK! He looks at the gun, then at the deer (who is still grazing), then at me and back at the gun, all as if to say, What just happened here. Unsure of what had happened, I didn’t want to try at different shell, so we got our gear together and headed back to the house. This time, Randy and our son Daniel were out in the driveway. The other kids were crowded around. Daniel had gotten a little buck. Stephanie was making pictures of the kids with the deer. Bob runs up to them and tells Randy that his gun clicked. “I was shooting a fourteen point and my gun went click, Dad.” Well, I guess even if your gun goes click, you still kill the deer and it grows antlers according to Bob. So everyone has a good laugh about Bob’s hunting experience, and I tell them that he really did try to shoot a doe. So, several mornings later while Bob was still asleep, one of Randy’s friends stopped by to show Randy the skull of a buck that he’d found dead by his tree stand in Ohio. It was a big ten-point. He’d put the head in acid to eat the flesh and hide off of it. He then painted the skull white. He left the head with Randy. Bob woke up and spotted the skull and antlers sitting there. “Dad, you went and got my deer. You cut it off.” He hugged Randy then ran for the skull. He carried that thing around for days, showing everyone “his” deer.

Bob is even so bad that I caught him “holding court” in WalMart one day. I had stopped in the health and beauty section for a few items and Randy informed me that he and Bob would be in the hunting supplies. As if I couldn’t have guessed. Well, as I approached, I knew immediately which aisle they were in, it was the most crowded one. Randy was talking to one man, looking at deer pictures from a trail cam on the man’s phone. But the main attraction in the aisle was Bob. He was surrounded. All the men were enthralled with his tale of killing the fourteen point buck. He told them he killed it up in the “holler” and he shot it with a shotgun. He was pointing to the shelves, showing them which items worked in the quest for a big buck. He really needs his own hunting show, well only if they don’t have to have an actual deer to show. I just wonder what he’ll kill next year.

Now, our son Daniel, really did kill a deer. Randy took him out and had him sitting in a blind. Right about dark, four or five deer came out, all smaller bucks. Randy was trying to tell him how to shoot it when BOOM. He’d fired. The deer dropped in place. Daniel turned to look at his Dad, “How many can I get?” he asked. “Just one,” replied Randy. “Well, the other kids got tags.” Daniel responded petulantly. Randy managed to get him to stop with the one.

I love to go hunting as much as the rest of the bunch. I’ve not killed a deer in years but I still love to go out and sit in the woods and just be. But sometimes it gets dangerous. One year, Randy and I went hunting. I sat down on the power line (the major huge ones that run through the woods). He went around the ridge to hunt. I sat there until a couple of hours after daylight. The only thing I’d seen had been a couple of squirrels playing around. Randy called my cellphone and asked if I’d seen the deer that he’d ran toward me. I told him that I hadn’t seen a thing. About that time, coming around an old logging road was a deer. I whispered to him that the deer was coming and hung up. I watched as it picked its way toward the clearing beneath where I sat. I readied my rifle, ready to take the shot if the deer got in the right position. He slowly made his way to the spot directly below me. As he reached the spot where I would have had a good shot, he turned and ran right at me. He came to within a yard of my lap as I sat there on the ground, too stunned to do anything more than look into it’s eyes. He stared at me for a couple of minutes, then turned and ran back the way he’d came. I was too stunned to even attempt a shot.

Randy will never let me forget the time that I was hunting with him and a miniature pony walked out into the field in front of me. Well, at least that’s what it looked like to me. When it stepped out of the woods, I looked twice at it. “I wonder who’s miniature pony got loose.” I thought to myself. But then as I continued to study it, I realized it didn’t look quite right for a pony. Well, maybe it’s a dog, I thought. By the time I figured out that it was a deer, and a buck at that, it was entering the brush on the other side of the field. Causing me to miss my chance to get a shot off. And the only deer I saw that year walked away. But at least I didn’t see pink elephants. 😉

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I knew Santa should have heeded Bob’s warning!!

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