Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Story Teller

I have had the pleasure of knowing some good story tellers. The following short story was told to me by a man I worked with for years. 'Clyde' was originally from West Virginia, and this is but one of the many stories he told. He was not what I'd call an 'educated' man, but his command of language and imagery bordered on the surreal. I hope my retelling does the story justice:

Yeah, the weather of late has been mighty hot for sure. Not as hot as a few years ago though. I had me two young bird dogs. Fine dogs they were, but pretty green. So I figured I'd best take 'em out and work 'em afore hunting season got here.

So I piled 'em into my truck, 'Ol' Blue'. Now Ol' Blue's pretty rusted up, but it gets me where I want to go. Them dogs sure liked to go for a ride. They'd get in the back of the truck and wait for hours for me to give 'em a ride, so it weren't no trouble getting them excited about it. I drove out to a spot I know that's full of birds. Pheasant mostly.

I took a gun along too. Not to shoot no birds out of season, mind you. I just wanted to get them young dogs used to hearing a gun go off. So we're walking along, and the birds start a sniffin' the ground. Pretty soon they went off into some tall grass just before some woods near the creek. Sure enough, them dog's noses steered them right. They scared up a pheasant pretty as you please. I popped off a couple of rounds, and 'bout scared hell out of both of 'em. Every time the dogs scared up a bird, I'd shoot. With every shot, them dogs flinched a little less. Man, I was sure they was going to be some fine bird dogs!

Now it was mighty hot that day, and them dogs tongues were hangin' out every which way, slobberin' and pantin' like an old steam engine. I was sweatin' like a race horse all lathered up myself, so I figured it was time to go home. Them dogs did good their first day out.

I started walkin' back to the truck, along the edge of a cornfield. All of a sudden, I heard what sounded like somebody shootin' a gun in the distance. Man, I thought some farmer took offense at me on his property, and I got a little nervous when the sound came closer. I looked around, couldn't see nobody. I looked into the cornfield, and saw white stuff shootin' up into the air. By golly, we was right near a field of popcorn! It was so damned hot, the corn started poppin' right off the cob!

Now my two young dogs started lookin' around, and when they seen all that white popcorn start coverin' the ground, they thought it was snow, and laid down and froze to death before I could get 'em back to the truck! Damn shame too. Them was some mighty fine dogs. 'Bout broke my heart.

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