BOB KORNEGAY: A prophesy in a mountains
November 29, 2015 - fall Denim
He smelled like savoury tobacco burnt in a play of an aged briar pipe. Prince Albert, maybe, or Sir Walter Raleigh. No fancy-flavored Cavendish for him.
He carried his tobacco in a flip-top tin, in a slot of a husky denim jumper. His overalls were faded and he wore a galloused bib loosely, improved for reaching inside to gentle a cold palm or blemish an itch. The felt fedora on his conduct was persperate stained, creased, and a declare to improved days. His brogans were burst and thin, yet comfortable.
He was old. Thinning wisps of white hair spilled from underneath his shawl and down over his ears. Thick veins roadmapped his arms and a backs of his weathered hands. The skin on his neck was creased and lined in a latticework settlement etched by years of summer fever and unbending towering winds. The eyes were watery, yet not dull.
And they, a eyes, were still blue and still twinkled whenever he picked adult a gun. When he did this, even a snippet of a aged spring-step returned as he strode purposefully from a cabin porch, opposite a swept-bare front yard, and into a inlet timberland that bordered his Southern Appalachian homeplace.
A handful of #6 paper-hulled shotgun shells rattled in his pocket, fee dully opposite a tobacco tin with each step. He paused quickly to send them to another pocket, where they would clap some-more softly.
The shotgun complacent on his shoulder. It was a 12-gauge; a kind we listened called a “long tom” in my youth. Break-open-breech-loading, hammer-cocking. Simple. An aged friend. The hardwood batch was pitted and scratched. The tub was meticulously oiled and religiously cared for, inside and out. It was a good gun, a gun of a elementary man. The diversion it had tabled by a years was uncountable. With it, he had once even killed a bear, yet that chase had not died simply and, save for a heroics of dual crossbred Plott hounds, competence have finished his life prematurely.
In a woods, he kept to a rivulet bank, avoiding a high inclines. Eighty years take a fee on a fella, he thought. Soon, he indispensable rest and cautiously seated himself on a flat-topped slab stone during streamside.
Hunter’s instinct and 70-plus years of educated woodsmanship ensured a quiet, watchful thoroughness as he sat examination a trees for signs of movement. The tail-flick of a gray squirrel in a hemlock 30 yards downstream did not go unnoticed. It died cleanly, descending heavily into a timberland litter. The aged male smiled. He desired a aged gun’s informed flog and a smell of spent powder.
He was left yet dual hours that morning. Like large times before, he watched a woods arise adult to a towering sunrise. Late-fall bird life burgeoned in misty, sun-dappled clearings. A woodchuck waddled clumsily opposite his path. He even held a brief glance of a mink slinking along a rivulet bank, a tiny rainbow fish clenched in a jaws. Three some-more times a prolonged tom barked and 3 some-more squirrels were combined to a diversion bag. He always stopped with 4 these days. Cleaning a small buggers gets vapid now.
Back home. Tired. But never too sap to dress his kill, or to lovingly oil and clean down a tub of a aged smoothbore and mount it delicately in a dilemma within easy reach.
Stretching and yawning, a aged male influenced a grate embers and combined 3 new separate logs before settling into his cushioned rocking chair. He sipped from a bubbling crater of boiled coffee and, in semi-doze, reflected on past hunts and hunts to come.
“Long as we can,” he whispered. “Long as we can.”
The aged male lies buried here, in a dooryard of a aged homeplace, left now save a substructure stones and an peculiar record or two. His headstone still stands, yet time and elements have obliterated any snippet of hand-chiseled identification. we do not know his name. we never met him. we am uncertain of when he lived or died. we know usually in my heart of hearts that he would not mind my being here, examination his birds, sport his squirrels, amatory his mountains, and, accurate or not, revelation his story.
No, we do not know him.
Or do I? Sometimes we feel stories desirous by aged gravestones are some-more than imagination.