Hunt ‘Em Up
Getting away to Alabama right at Christmas was always a little difficult, work schedules being what they were, and Daddy’s birthday is New Year’s Day anyway, so we generally started each new year with a Christmas celebration in Colbert County. The beauty of this arrangement was that it made Christmas last a whole lot longer. A holiday with an entire year of anticipation always ends not living up to the hype when it’s over in just a matter of hours; having it stretched out across a week or so really beats back the post Christmas blues.
As fun as the Christmas celebration was, I always looked forward to the rabbit hunting we would do while we were in town. We never really cared much if we killed anything; feeding a house full of my kin would take well more than the bag limit would allow. We were mostly out there to listen to the dogs run and catch up with cousins and uncles.
All these years later I swear I can smell the gas station ham biscuit we’d eat on the way to the woods. I can still hear the dogs’ paws scraping against the metal floor of their box as they wiggled in excitement. I can feel the cool air filling my lungs before the morning sun warmed up the day.
I haven’t been rabbit hunting in many years, but everytime my hound catches the scent of some critter in the yard his howling at the air takes me back. Every time I drive by a huge pile of fallen timber waiting to be burned I could swear I see my Uncle Jimmy standing on top of the pile and hear “Hunt em up!’ echoing across the years.
As Christmas fades and we turn the corner to a new year and the mad dash towards spring begins, I try to remember those days spent with family. It helps to slow down and appreciate a simple day spent doing a bunch of nothing that meant everything to me when I was a kid.