by Mike Windham
It started with a couple of beers and a mixed drink or two. It was Saturday night and we were at the hunting camp, not too far from Roxie.
There were four of us, Robert Earl, Little Carl, Clyde and me. Now, you’ve got to understand one thing, I’m the college kid. I’ve been wearing glasses since junior high school, had a slide rule my freshman year and bought a calculator before the price dropped. The rest of them, well look at their names. They are “good ole boys” I’d known for years.
The evening hunt had ended on a sour note. We didn’t shoot a thing. We came back to the camp at dark and started cooking supper. While waiting for the grease to get hot, Robert Earl fixed himself a drink and said something about how he really needed to go see a man about a dog.
We each opened a beer and encouraged him to head that way! He said he was serious. We agreed!
Over near Natchez lived a man who raised pure bred Catahoula Cur dogs. Robert Earl wanted to go over there to see about buying one or two to train to find wounded deer.
Robert Earl told us how he knew the man had a litter of pups about ready to wean. He said, “Since we don’t have any deer to clean and we ain’t drank too much, tonight would be as good a time as any to drive over and take a look at those puppies.”
Robert Earl reloaded his glass and we pulled three more cans out of the cold watery slush in an Igloo cooler.
For those of you who don’t know about Catahoula Cur dogs, let me explain. In a sentence, there are people in South Mississippi who swear those curs are the best hunting dogs God gave humankind. They are special! That’s why God gave them two different colored eyes, usually one is white and one is blue.
They come from Louisiana, Catahoula Parish, I think. Maybe it was Texas. It wasn’t too far north, I can tell you that!
Plus they come in a variety of colors and markings, ranging from mottled white to almost jet black. But it’s those white and blue eyes, one on each side of the head that really makes a Catahoula cur dog stand out from the rest.
After another beer or two and a couple more mixed drinks, we decided to drive over towards Natchez and see that man about his dogs.
There were four of us, crowded into the front cab of a pickup truck. Yes, we all had a drink in our hand and we dared not spill a drip. Robert Earl was driving. Next to him was Little Carl, then me. Clyde was riding shotgun.
We hadn’t left the camp good when Robert Earl started telling Clyde that he can’t say anything good about the dogs we were headed to see. Clyde is a good ole boy’s “good ole boy.” But, sometimes Clyde would get about a six pack or more under his belt and forget about how his mouth operated before his brain censored what was said. Clyde talked a lot!
Dog owners are usually shrewd businessmen. If you brag about his dogs, then he ups the price. Little Carl agreed with Robert Earl and several times over the next half hour they both told Clyde not to say anything about the dogs or the price would skyrocket. I just nodded my head and kept my mouth shut. College kids know when they’re out of their league.
After two pit stops, we turned off the blacktop road and headed up a narrow gravel road. About a mile later, we came to a gate that was open. We drove through and then stopped. Clyde had to get out, close and lock the gate. You learn early that sometimes it’s best to sit in the middle.
Three hundred yards later, we came to an opening. Yes, he lived in a trailer, with a front porch and a yellow bug light shining brightly. We sort of spilled out of the truck. Immediately there were 7 to 9 puppies attacking our ankles and pants legs. Behind them stood a larger dog, she didn’t seem too interested in us. She just stretched out her hind legs and looked at us as strangers she’d rather not meet. Her nipples were distended, swollen and hanging below her stomach and she had one great white eye and an even larger blue eye.
The three of us just looked at each other and then looked at Clyde. He stood there grinning. We knew he didn’t know what he had just said!
Three hours and several beers later, about midnight actually, we finally left the man’s house and his dogs. Did we buy a dog? No. The dog Robert Earl really wanted had already been bought by a man from Dolorosa, a little place south of Natchez.
Clyde and Little Carl also decided none of the pups met their expectations. But, before the night was over, each man ordered a dog from the next litter the female was going to have. Both Clyde and Little Carl left a $100 deposit. They were still arguing about who would get first pick of the litter and who would get second pick as Robert Earl drove us back to the camp. Robert Earl decided he would wait and see how their two dogs turned out before he bought one.
Me? I sat in the middle and smiled!
Mike Windham is a successful business owner and part-time writer from Brookhaven, Mississippi. He's got a lot more college than any of his high school teachers imagined, finally settling for 3 degrees from 3 Mississippi universities. He loves Ole Miss and the Deep South, and he still has problems with Yankees and lawyers. He owns a 28 year old pickup truck that was a gift from his family, a 4 wheel drive hunting truck, 2 dogs, 4 pairs of bib overalls, 3 chain saws, 2 guns and a pocketknife.
Mike has been a motivational speaker and management/marketing consultant in the insurance industry since 1998. He teaches continuing education workshops nationwide. He has had more than 100 articles and essays published about business management and insurance related topics.
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