The Hunt

Startled by the sound of Pooh bear screaming, "Wake up," he rolled over and slapped at his alarm clock, which looked like a big jar of honey. The blurry red numbers on the clock told him that it was already 4:30 in the morning and time to get up. He was sleeping so well, wrapped up in two blankets, that it was hard for him to muster the energy to get up. But once he had his long johns and camo on, he was more than excited for the early morning

"Even with two pairs of thermal long johns on, his teeth still chattered."
that he had planned with his dad. Out of the house and headed to the deer stand, they had to use flashlights to see where to go, because of the darkness and fog along the river. They sat with their rifles, anxiously waiting for a big buck to walk out in the clearing. Dressed in Mosey Oak camouflage, they blended into the woods. Only their neon orange vests were visible to each other. He was glad that his mom told them to bundle up before they left home. Even with two pairs of thermal long johns on, his teeth still chattered.

His mind wandered as he patiently sat there. He was scared that he would mess everything up by being too noisy and scare away all of the deer. He kept trying keep his eyes wide open and on the look-out, but they slowly closed as he dreamt about his trophy buck. With 30 points on its antlers and hooves the size of mason jars, his vision of the buck was a little larger than life. He began to snap out of it as everything around them came to life. The dew slowly settled on the long needles of the towering pine trees. Birds and squirrels tapped and hunted in the brush. And then, suddenly, his dad punched him in the shoulder softly to tell him to raise up his gun. The time had come. As if still in his dream, a big, 12-point buck stood right in front of him.

He slowly focused the scope on his rifle, over the deer's shoulder. The buck, unaware, nibbled on rye grass. A loud thunder raked through the woods as the bullet sped towards the deer. The big buck fell. His dad grabbed him up and gave him a big hug.

He had done it.


Last summer, we had a party that went down in local history. It was the peak of watermelon season and hot as hell. Roughly 100 degrees outside, even in the middle of the night, with humidity at around 150 percent, everyone was sweating. Everyone back home was excited for the local Watermelon Festival in Mize, Mississippi, despite the heat. The festival ran for two days straight. Full of activities like watermelon races, watermelon eating contests, and a contest in which people guessed the weight of a watermelon, the festival had something for everyone. They even had over twenty different types of watermelons at the festival, and you could try every single one. Everyone at the festival had a good time until a giant thunderstorm flooded the festival grounds. But that didn't end the party early for us. We just gathered up some friends and moved the party to our house.

Once we got home, we cut corks out of the stems of several watermelons, poured a mixture of white rum, vodka, and peach schnapps into each of them, re-corked them with the stems, and placed them in the freezer. While the drunken melons chilled in the freezer, Mom made a Watermelon Boat for us to nibble on. She cut a big juicy melon carefully into the shape of a basket with a handle, gutted the rind with a melon-ball utensil, and refilled the empty rind with small balls of watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries and grapes. A couple of hours later, she had gathered a whole spread of food and laid it all out on a table on our back porch.

By the time it got dark, the rain stopped and the night was salvaged. We had ourselves a throw-down. Everyone decided to jump into the pool and party. We had

"Once they were off-duty, they got just as drunk as the rest of us..."
stereotypical southern tunes, like "Sweet Home Alabama," blasting in the background. And we had plenty of food and booze to have a good time. More and more people showed up to the party, and before we knew it, over a hundred people were drinking by the pool and eating tons of Crimson Sweet and Jubilee watermelons. We got so loud that our neighbor, who lived a quarter of a mile away, called the sheriff's office to come break up the party. She said that she couldn't sleep because of the noise. When the sheriff's deputies came in to break up the party, they decided to stay for a little while, because their shift ended in thirty minutes anyway. Once they were off-duty, they got just as drunk as the rest of us and continued to party with us till 4 o'clock in the morning.


Growing up in the country was so much fun, but often lonely. I lived out in the middle of nowhere in South Mississippi. During summer breaks from school, I would spend as much time as possible outside, playing in the fields and woods, all by myself. With the closest neighbor a quarter of a mile away and nearing 80 years old, and being an only child, I did not have any friends to play with.

The family house was in the middle of 40 acres of land that was covered with hills, plains, bogs, forest, and

"...clumps of red clay, from our pond, made for impressive explosions..."
fishing ponds. Behind our house, a large pine forest went on forever and was the perfect place for imagining a battle of the civil war happening. My imagination occasionally went wild as I pretended that the forest was a hide-out for Confederate soldiers. When standing on top of the big hill, at the edge of the forest, I had a bird's-eye view of the surrounding area. This vantage point was a great look-out point to make sure that Union soldiers did not invade the family plot of land. Fallen limbs from the towering pine trees made ideal shotguns to tote around. And clumps of red clay, from our pond, made for impressive explosions when thrown at Union troops. Luckily, since the Union soldiers didn't really exist because the Civil War happened over a century ago, no one ever clobbered me with red clay or pretend bullets. Only I had those ammunitions and ability to see the pretend soldiers. The fun often lasted for hours, usually until it was too dark to see. Eventually Mom would call for me to come eat supper. She kept me well fed so that I could keep on protecting the property. She always played along. Once inside our house, my fantasy world would end but I continued to brag for hours about my adventures with the troops.

Dinner Time

Thank God, it is Sunday. After last week's stress of final exams, Mom agreed to cook a big family "dinner" on Sunday. At home, we tend to call lunch "dinner" and dinner "supper." It gets a little confusing, but one thing is for sure; everyone is anxious for "dinner" when Mom cooks. She put a roast on to cook in the crock-pot on Saturday to have for dinner after church. The whole house smelled of pork roast with potatoes, carrots, and brown gravy as we grabbed our Bibles and headed to the car. When we got back from hearing the preacher ramble on and on about fire and brimstone, she whipped up a pawn of corn bread to go with fresh black-eyed peas, and sliced a fresh tomato and iceberg lettuce to go with her homemade mayo salad dressing. To top it all off she pulled a giant banana pudding out of the fridge that defies what bananas should be able to do.

Soon after getting home from church, everyone arrived. Aunt Patty, Cousin Houston, Uncle Ben, and Mamaw and Papaw all gathered in the kitchen with Mom and Dad. Everyone grabbed a plate and dug in. Finally everyone sat down to eat after fixing their plates. The house went from being super loud, with chatter and fussing, to total silence. Everyone stuffed their faces and didn't peeping a word. You could hear a pin drop, it was so quiet. Occasionally Dad would grunt as he ate. He really enjoyed the meal and made some of the strangest sounds while chewing. He sounded like an old hog slopping up food from the trough as he snorted and grunted. Mom and Aunt Patty, completely silent, took their time and ate each part of the meal very systematically. They both ate all of their potatoes before moving on to the carrots and then the roast. You could definitely tell that they are sisters. The rest of us all mixed things together as we ate. A little bit of salad, then a little bit of roast, then the vegetables all mixed together with gravy smothered on top. As usual, Ben piled his plate so high with food that you couldn't

"He sounded like an old hog slopping up food from the trough as he snorted and grunted."
even see his face when sitting at the table. Mom had to yell at him and tell him to save some food for the rest of us. You would think that he had not eaten for days, but that was not the case. He has always eaten like that. Only seven years older than me, Ben tries his best to piss me off. And it works. So we usually don't get along too well.

Once everyone finished their plates, Mom served the banana pudding in little glass bowls. She even served an extra bowl of pudding to our cocker spaniel Lady-Belle. Lady had sat very patiently at the base of the table, looking for scraps to fall off of all of our plates. So Mom decided to reward her with a bowl of her favorite dessert all of her own.