Ricky Harpole 11-16-12

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 16, 2012

Wild things in woods always upstaged by under-sung heroines

The real wives of Moccasin Bend are under-sung heroines. Despite the fact that they surpass us in practically everything that we (the founding grandfathers) pride ourselves on — markmanship, horsemanship, showmanship, ship repair and maintenance, quick fix, Jeep and four-wheeler repair etc. — we forgive ‘em. Because they never practice oneupmanship.

Whenever one of us does something so stupid that even American jackass wouldn’t air it, they somehow manage to make it look like it was just bad karma on our part and “Divine Intervention” that they accidently managed to drag our sorry bacon out of the fire. That bunch has dealt with everything.

The idiot crew they matrimonially consented to finish raising could either wreck, sink, mis-load, over or under-cook, forget to cook, and sometimes hang around the still too long and get too cooked ourselves to get out of the woods without their supervision. That doesn’t mean it was uncomplaining supervision necessarily, but we got enough sense at least to realize that we’d be lost without ‘em. Literally on at least two occasions.

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Of course, this available space wouldn’t allow an introduction to every one of these ladies, and I know better than to print their real names. When they retaliate they bypass the lawyers and go straight to bird shot and boat paddles.

Here are a couple of our misadventures they thoughtfully rescued us from.

“Dan and Rennie” were of good ole boy and girl stock, in their 30s with about seven younguns in their eight years of wedded bliss. There was at least one “shootin’ iron” of varying calibers for every kid including the newest one who was still in the cradle.

The gun and ammunition ratio is a pretty important factor when it comes to calibers. The wrong combination will result in one of two possible outcomes. Either the gun won’t shoot at all or it will blow itself from Braille to heckfast and you along with it.

We were running trot lines downstream from the Moccasin Bend Tick and Chigger Emporium late one fall. The recommended procedure was to float downstream with the motor off catching what we caught and re-baiting the hooks as we went. The shotgun came in handy for the fox and grey squirrels that couldn’t hear us coming. The motor was only used to get back upstream. You’d leave at daybreak and load your gun after daylight. (Mississippi fish and game requirement).

We were barely in the river when sun came up and Dan discovered that when he grabbed up his shotgun that morning in the dark, he’d accidentally snagged up Ms. Rennie’s ammo belt. His old squirrel fetcher was a 12-gauge and Ms. Rennies  16-gauge shells would fit inside the barrel and cause spectacular results. There went squirrel supper (we thought).

Meantime Ms. Rennie, five miles away, discovered the error and loaded the heard of younguns in the old scrap iron truck and struck out for the camp which was mostly passed out or hung over. The wives of Moccasin Bend were drinking coffee and pouring out whiskey. She got the belt and related about the mix up. Mrs. Baker spoke up and said, “Yea we was thanking about floatin’ down to fetch ‘em, the damn fools put the wrong fuel can in the boat and they ain’t in no shape to paddle back up against the current. The idiots took the diesel fuel for the generator.”

They chased us two miles in the misty dawn, gave us the shells and three paddles for the leaky canoe. Then they gassed our boat’s engine, confiscated it and left us the canoe. As they navigated back to camp they admonished us to have fun and try to get back to camp with the squirrels, the fish and the paddles because the spare paddle was in pretty bad shape, Ms. Aikens having damaged it on Bubba’s head when she caught him in the wrong tent with the wrong wife.

They waved cheerfully and motored off. The wind came up and kept blowing the canoe into the bushes. The squirrels stayed inside; the fish wouldn’t bite. Bubba lost the best paddle and we were six hours getting back to camp. No wives, no dinner, no dry clothes (did I mention it rained). No heat in the cabin, no truck keys, no generator fuel and no whiskey.

“We’re going to get our hair done and check out one of those male strip joints in Jackson. Be back Sunday, or maybe Monday morning. There is some baloney and maybe a can or two of sardines in the cooler, but I would trust the bread or crackers. Eat hearty and have fun.”

Our cell phones were as wet and dead as we felt.

Ricky Harpole
(Contact Harpole at www.facebook.com/harpolive or www.colespointrecords.com)