Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Bobwhites Sing Like Angels

Growing up on our small farm my two brothers and I looked forward to the short trips in to town. On this day momma was takin me to Mr C's market. I would go to the store with momma often. This trip was special though. For a change I had been a good boy. I had fed the ducks, helped carry firewood in to the cellar and I hadn't received a whoopin all week. Well heck I even walked the neighbor girl home because she was scared. This was going to be special trip to town. I had been eyeing a package of brand new toy cars. The package had 8 cars in each,1 of every color. The best part they were made out of metal. (pot metal) These cars were the real deal, no plastic cars for me; not any more. I was getting real metal cars. All the way to the store I told momma how she was the best momma in the whole entire world. I would stretch my hands as far apart as I could to show her how much I loved her. I told momma I would clean those cars everyday when I was done playing with them, and I would put them up in my bedroom every night. That trip to Mr C's market seemed to take an hour. (even though it was only about 5 miles) Finally we made it. I flung the car door open and took off like a beagle after a cottontail, there was no stoppin me except for one thing, momma's yellin. I put on the brakes and picked my self up off the ground, it was hard to stop real fast like that when you was runnin across the rocks with bare feet. So me and my bloody toe waited at the door for momma to catch up. Momma asked if I was hurt, but of course I could feel no pain, "shucks no I'm not hurt" I replied. I opened the door and let momma walk in ahead of me. Charlie the owner of the store greeted momma with a tip of his hat and me with a piece of gum. "how you doing young Phillip" he said with a booming voice. "I'm good Mr C" I replied. "I'm gunna get that package of new cars today" I exclaimed. Mr C said "well you'd better get back there and grab them, I only have 1 package left". Off to the races again I went, until I felt it; fireballs coming out of momma's eyes, hitting me right square in the chest. Momma was a sniper with them dang thangs, she never missed. Slowly I walked to the back wall where the package of cars was sitting on the self, leaving a blood trail a blind man could follow. I grabbed my cars and walked over to momma and asked her for a dime. Momma dug around in her purse and pulled out a dime, and handed it to me. I took the dime and walked slowly to the counter. No way I was running, I made it this close to the holy grail I wasn't going to screw this up. I got to the counter and handed Mr C my dime and walked out of the store with my brand new cars. I sat down out front and opened the package. I pulled each car out 1 at a time so as not to drop them. Vrrooom vrrooom the sounds would come out as each car was pulled from its package. I was in onery brat heaven. I sat there lookin at those cars till momma walked out of the store. I gathered my cars into my hands and got in the car for the ride home. I didn't say a word to momma on the way home I just sat and stared at my cars. Bumpin down the road and up the drive I did'nt even notice we had visitors until I heard the yellin. My cousin Greg was at my house! This was horrible! What would I do with my new cars? I couldn't let him see them that's for sure. Momma did it again, she hit me with another fireball. (see I told you she never missed) Momma shoftly said "now your going to share those cars with your cousin" I was heart broken. My cars would be ruined. "No momma please!" I exclaimed, "they will be ruined". Momma said "now son your cousins don't get new toys so your going to share". My cousins were from the city, and they didn't have much money back in those days, coarse neather did we. I climbed from the car and my cousin ran up to me and asked "watcha got in ur hand". I opened both hands and simply said "pick one" He reached into my hand and picked the only pickup truck in the whole lot. We walked over to cottonwood tree at the edge of the yard and sat down. We began making trails to drive the cars on, and tunnels to park them in. We played under that old cottonwood tree til dark. It was the greatest day in a boys life. Finally momma called us to the house. It was time for Greg to leave. Greg helped me clean the cars as though he loved them as much as I did. Greg slowly turned to leave when I stopped him. "Greg" I yelled. Greg turned looked at me and walked back, I simply said "pick one" Greg reached in my hand and picked the only pickup truck in the lot. Greg left my house that day with a smile, one of my new cars and a memory he will have forever. I swore I would never be a greedy person as long as I lived.
I have tried to live my life by that example. When I had my own children I only hoped they would learn the same lesson I learned. As I began to spend more and more time in the woods with my son, I knew I wanted to share my time in the outdoors with him. If you invited me to go hunting or fishing then you invited him. I shared every moment I had in the outdoors with Zac. People would tell me how stupid I was because I was taking Zac fishing all night long, or hunting in the cold. People would question me as to why I was letting a 6 yr old shoot a gun. Zac answered that question one November morning. We drove to our favorite deer hunting spot about 2 hours before first light and got out of the truck. It was a beautiful fall morning. It was one of those mornings every deer hunter dreams of. There was a new moon so it was dark. We were going to be able to walk to our stands in the complete cover of darkness. It was crisp, you could see your breath. The wind was perfect, just a slight breeze out of the northwest. Everything was perfect. We grabbed our rifles and backpacks and headed across the the overgrown pasture toward our deer stand. It was a big stand we had put up around the middle part of summer in a Mulberry tree. We had a long walk ahead of us. I began to notice Zac was tripping over my every step. I asked Zac if he was ok. He simply answered "it is dark daddy can we use the flashlight". I told Zac to grab my backpack and he would be ok. The walk in that morning was full of every sound the Kansas wilderness has to offer. A owl hooting here, a coyote howl there, some scampering in the brush beside us. The whole time I got to hold my sons hand and just be his daddy. I was superman for that walk. In his eyes nothing could whip his ole dad. This morning was truly special. We finally arrived to our stand over looking a nice big draw with heavy woods to our southwest crop fields straight north, with a main trail coming right down the middle of the draw.We knew the deer that morning would wait til first light before they decided to come back to the timber for a day of rest. We knew we were in the right place. While waiting in the dark for first shooting light and the chance to see that once in a lifetime buck, Zac and I were as much a part of nature as every animal in those woods and it felt great. As the sun began to climb and the golden rays of light began to bounce of of the frost covered ground, you can only wonder if this is the same beautiful gold that is in heaven. Zac and I were awww struck, and then it happened, a single Bobwhite quail sounded off with his beautiful whistle, and we were serenaded with the singing of a thousand Bobwhites for what seemed like forever. When the Bobwhites quit singing Zac leaned over to me and said "bobwhites sound like angles singing daddy" That morning we saw several deer but never lifted a rifle. We simply sat and watched all that God has given us, and I got the chance to share the sound of the angels singing with my little man.

Dedicated to my little man. Hear the angels sing now!
Written by Phillip McAmis

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