In case I’ve failed to mention, we live in the middle of close to nowhere. (Or so it seems.) I call it home, others call it the sticks, to some a slice of heaven, and then there’s a select population who refer to the locals as “South of the River Trash”. Nice.
A friend of mine once said after traveling from the “big city” on a first time visit: Drive until you think you are lost. Then go five more miles.
It’s true. We are a “fur piece” out here in the rolling hills of East Tennessee. And the shenanigans are wild – as wild as the couple of people in Roane County I can name who still make and consume some of the (self-proclaimed) best moonshine this side of the Mississippi. Cure anything from the common cold to tuberculosis.
I’ll take their word for it.
And last night didn’t disappoint in the “shenanigans” category – only fitting because it was one of the two times all year that I am the acting “master” of the house. Figures.
About nine o’clock I was snuggled on the couch, pooch at my feet, boy in his bed, watching a movie. I hear the sounds and see the lights of either an older model pick-up with chest congestion or some sort of ATV coming down the main road. No big deal – locals drive down to the end of the road, stop a minute, and go about their merry way all the time.
And then I see them pull into camp and head the opposite direction of our house – out toward the more primitive side of the property. I figure it must be some of the guys who are coming out for the weekend to work on our building projects – don’t really know why they are going that way, but that’s for them to know and me to well, not know.
Snuggle back down, call off the dog, watching the movie.
Annnnd they’re coming back. Lights blaring through my front window. Mother Bear instincts kick in and I go over and shut the light off so I can get a better view of our “guests”. At this point I see them park their vehicle next to the XTerra (and I actually locked the car last night – which I never do…) and shut the engine off and grab their headlamps.
Apparently my turning the light off was not a clear enough sign that I wasn’t buying what they were selling because now two rather burly looking gentlemen are strutting onto to my front porch, setting off the motion light. I can now see that they are burlier than I first thought – mountain men, if you will – decked out in Lord-knows what kind of gear to do Lord-knows what to some poor unsuspecting creature.
I pray I am not that creature. Seriously.
I walk over to the door (this is the part in the scary movie where you are yelling at the screen telling the dimwitted actor to move away from the door), Grits at my side looking like she’s going to lick them to death, and proceed to offer a good ol’ “what for” look. And the dialogue proceeds like this:
Burly Mountain Man: Ma’am we’re out ‘coon huntin’ with our dawgs tonight and we’ve tracked ’em back on your property down by the lake and need to go fetch ’em.
Me: What do you mean?
BMM: Our dawgs are back by the lake and we just need to go get em. See, we got ’em on GPS (pulls out a pretty legit looking piece of hardware that has a blinking spot – I assume indicating their ‘coon hounds) and need to go get ’em. We just didn’t wanna wander onto your property without telling somebody first. (i.e. They don’t want to be shot…)
Me: Um. Okay. That’s fine… (What was I supposed to say – “No, Burly Mountain Man, you and your Sasquatch friend may not go find your hounds…”)
BMM: We don’t mean to scare ya ma’am. We’re just gettin’ our dawgs and then we’ll be gone.
Me: Okay. Thanks for letting me know.
They saunter off down to their vehicle, load up, and head off into the darkness to find their huntin’ hounds – which means they likely have guns.
I called Bri. Then Chris. Then Eddie.
Reinforcements in place – check.
Now I wait.
Ten minutes. Twenty minutes. Thirty.
How long does it take to find a daggum dog that you have a locator on?
Forty-five minutes. An hour…
Finally, I hear the sweet mucousy roar of their engine, see the lights, and watch them pull on out of camp. Phewww.
But don’t you worry about little ol’ me – I passed on their story, description, and sketch onto the local authorities in case of any other reported roustabouting: