Wednesday, 31 October 2012 12:35
As a young boy, I loved to hunt but there just weren’t any deer here in the county. I saw my first deer when I was in my late teens. But now, with the help of the Kentucky Department of Wildlife and their re-stocking program, deer are here in good numbers.
I hunted deer with a gun for several years and had pretty good success but the 3-day gun season wasn’t long enough for me. The archery season started in October and was much longer so I thought I would give it a try. What I didn’t realize at first was it would also be much more challenging.
In the early years of bow hunting everyone shot a long bow or a recurve bow. Today, the bow is called the traditional bow but most hunters considered it to be primitive. Not long after I started hunting the modern day compound bow came along and changed everything.
My first bow was a short recurve bow called a Black Bear. It was made of wood and fiberglass to give it strength and durability. The “draw weight” of the bow was 60 pounds with no let-off. When the bow was at full draw, you didn’t hold it long. Find your target, draw your arrow and quickly release.
It never had sight pins either. The traditional bows were shot by what was referred to as instinct. But I never had good instinct evidently. I made a sight pen with a small paneling nail, hammered the nail into the wooden sight window, and covered the head of the nail with red fingernail polish so I would see it easily. I hunted with that old bow for about three years with lots of misses but no deer.
Then, along came the compound bow and my whole life changed. I bought a Bear brand Whitetail compound bow, the hottest bow on the market. It was a weird looking bow with strings and pulleys, but man was it accurate.
When the bow was drawn, the weight to hold back was half of the draw weight pull. A 60 draw weight was easily held at full draw from up to a few minutes. A new way of sighting was also invented with separate pins for 10, 20, 30, 40, or even 50-yard shots possible with practice.
I practiced with the bow almost every evening after work and got to where I could shoot five arrows at 20 yards and hit inside a three-inch circle easily. When fall came that year, I was itching to get in the woods with my new bow and my new Fox Squirrel climbing tree stand.
There still weren’t many deer on Horse Creek but I found plenty of good sign in the Red Bird Wildlife Management Area. I scouted the area several days before season and found most of the buck sign was down in the river bottoms. I hunted there every day I had off seeing a few does but no bucks until Halloween day.
On that morning I climbed into my stand long before daylight and sat there until around 10 o’clock. I had heard something running through the brush before daylight but didn’t see anything. I climbed down the tree and made my way back to my Ford Bronco parked beside the highway.
My brother Carlos and Casey,one of his friends he worked with, were hunting on the other side of the river also trying to get a shot at the buck that was leaving so much sign. As I slowly drove down the dirt road I met both of them in the road carrying their bows and stopped to ask if they had seen anything. Neither had seen a deer. As the conservation went on, some movement caught my eye in a grown up field behind them. There standing in full view was the biggest buck I had ever seen in my life.
“Don’t move boys,” I whispered lowly, “There’s a huge buck in the field just behind you.” Both kind of laughed and Carlos said, “I’m not falling for that one!”
“I’m not kidding! He’s starring right at us. I think he hears us but the sun must be in his eyes and it must be keeping him from seeing us.” I whispered again.
Both slowly turned their heads and they could not believe their eyes. “What are we going to do, he’s looking directly at us,” One of them said.
Thinking quick, I said, “Don’t move and I will try to slip out of the passenger door of my Bronco and crawl down the road to where I might get a shot at him.”
Both agreed that would probably be a good idea. I slowly climbed into the passenger seat, got my bow in my hand and opened the door, ever so quietly. Out the door I climbed obliviously to the big buck. I got down on my knees and crept slowly down the dusty dirt road until I was lined up broadside with the deer. Luckily he hadn’t moved a step from where I had first spotted him.
I slowly rose to my feet and estimated the buck to be at 45 yards. I split my 40 and 50-yard pin on the bucks shoulder, held my breath and turned the string loose. It was like time stood still. Everything was in slow motion as I watch the arrow rotating in its flight as the arrow finally met it’s mark. At first I thought I had shot too low but the buck reared on his hind feet, jumped and kicked hard as I heard the thump from the arrow.
I stood in the road shaking with my heart racing so fast I could hear my heart beating through my mouth as I gasped for air. Carlos and Casey both came running down the road telling me that they thought I had hit the buck good.
I tried to gather my emotions as I counted the steps to the spot where the buck had stood. I counted 50 yards. I thought that was why my arrow seemed to hit too low. I had misjudged the distance by 5 yards. I looked for blood but only found hair.
Slowly, I began to follow the exit trail of the monster buck and only after about 10 yards found my broken arrow’s shaft, stained with bright red blood. I smiled as I picked it up and then began to find a wider red blood trail. I didn’t have to go too far when Carlos yelled, “There he is!”
My eyes had never seen a more beautiful sight. The huge 10-point buck was lying in the edge of the thicket only about 40 yards from where I had shot him.
When field dressing the deer I found that my arrow had hit the buck directly in the heart. Carlos and Casey helped me as we pulled the 200-pound giant to the Bronco and we loaded him in the back. I rode all the way home with the tailgate down. I could hardly wait to show the big boy to my family and friends. It was a feeling that I will never forget.
From that day forward, I was hooked forever on bow hunting. Each year I can’t wait until the air once again has that crispness, that smell, and the leaves to start falling. Each year, when fall returns to Kentucky, you can bet I will be somewhere in a tree for a chance at another memory. It’s a high no drug can duplicate.
Hunting on Halloween that year proved to be a great idea. I finally got my monster that I had hunted for so long.
Wednesday, 24 October 2012 12:49
I'm not afraid of snakes, or toads,
or bugs, or worms, or mice, The things that girls are scared of,
I think are kinda' nice. I'm pretty brave at times, I guess;
And yet I hate to go to bed, For, when I'm tucked up warm and snug
and after my prayers are said, Momma tells me "Happy dreams!"
and takes away the light, This leaves me lying all alone
and seeing things at night.
Sometimes they're in the corner,
sometimes they're by the door, Sometimes they all just creep and crawl
across the bedroom floor; Sometimes they come when I'm asleep,
sometimes when I'm awake So softly and so silently,
they make me scream and shake. Sometimes they are as black as ink,
and other times they're white But color makes no difference
when you're seeing things at night.
Once, Momma caught me being bad,
fighting in the street, And Daddy sent me up to bed
without a bite to eat. I heard some noises in the dark
and up my ears did prick Those things were gathered all around
and planning something sick. I was so very scared that time,
I got an awful fright It's always when I'm bad that
I start seeing things at night.
Lucky thing I'm not a girl,
or I'd be scared to death. Since I'm a boy, I duck my head
and then I hold my breath. When I hear something horrible,
crawling up the stairs I promise to be better
and I always say my prayers. I'm certain that's the only way
that I can make it right When I've been very bad
and start seeing things at night!
And so, when other mean kids tempt
and coax me into sin, I try to squash the devil's voice
that urges me within. At night the things creep closer
and they aren't very nice, They want to eat me up
without even thinking twice! Eventually these evil things
will drag me out of sight I hope I don't keep doing wrong,
and seeing things at night!
Wednesday, 17 October 2012 12:28
I never noticed anything out of the ordinary except a hint of fog in the air as I made my way out of the hollow. I got to work and started with my usual morning routine getting breakfast ready for my customers. Day was breaking and everything was going along just like most every day at the store when my telephone rang.
Leslie , who was enrolled at Union College at the time, was headed for school and Margy was still at home not yet ready to come down to our store and help me. It was about 7:30 am when I got a frantic cal.
“Dad!” Leslie, my daughter began, “What in the world is going on on Paw Paw?” she asked.
“I don’t know. What are you talking about?” I asked her.
“It’s still dark and I can’t even see how to drive! I’m here at Ronnie’s. I couldn’t make it any farther. I can barely could see and was afraid to try to make it any farther,” Leslie said in a shaky voice.
I couldn’t figure out what she was talking about. Outside my store at Sibert it was a normal fall morning. There wasn’t hardly any sign of fog as I began asking questions to try to understand what she was talking about.
“What do you mean, it’s too dark to drive? It’s a clear as a bell down here!” I asked
“Daddy, I don’t know what’s going on I could barely see how to turn into Ronnie’s driveway. I can’t even see my hand clearly in front of my face,” she continued. “I think it’s fog but if it is it’s the thickest fog I have ever seen. There’s no way I can drive in it.”
“I’ve never heard anything like that. A fog that is so thick you can’t see your hand in front of your face?” I asked again.
“I’m telling you it’s as dark as night. I can’t see a thing,” she repeated. “Here asked Ronnie. He will tell you the same thing.
Leslie handed Ronnie the phone and he pretty much said the same thing that she had said about the mystery fog. He told me he had never seen anything like it.
“Tell Leslie to stay right there and I’ll be up,” I told Ronnie. “Don’t let here leave!”
I then called Margy at my house and she hadn’t noticed the dark fog outside but she too told me that it was a dark as night and by now it was close to 8 am.
I had to go check it out. So as soon as I had gotten all of the customers out of my store I locked the front door, got in my truck and headed towards Paw Paw.
At first I didn’t notice anything out of the normal until I got a little past the Yeager turnoff. Then I looked up the hollow and saw the thickest smoky fog I had ever seen and it was just creeping down the road about a hundred yards high in the air. It stretched from mountainside to mountainside and was as thicker than any I had ever witnessed.
As soon as I met up with the thick curtain of fog I couldn’t see. I turned my headlights on in the darkness but still could only drive mostly by instinct of knowing the road so well.
I made my way up the dark hollow wondering just what had caused the thick fog. I did notice the air had a hint of a sulfur acid-like smell, kind of like a burning slate pile but not enough that it was choking or anything.
When I reached Ronnie’s house he was out with a video recorder trying to capture the event but all it looked like most of the time was just a blank screen. The fog was so thick you couldn’t see anything else.
I told Leslie to leave her car there as Ronnie and I got into my truck to head on up the hollow towards my house. As I got close to home I noticed the thickness of the fog was starting to break up and just above my house about a quarter of a mile it was almost non-existent except for pockets of the thick stuff still hanging on here and there.
I noticed after we turned around that the wind was carrying the fog down the hollow and it was breaking up. A little after about 9 o’clock the mystery fog was gone just about as quickly as it came.
We never knew what caused it and no one I talked to had ever seen anything like it. Someone offered an explanation that one of the many old mine shafts that dot Paw Paw had “belched out” hot air or smoke from an under ground fire and caused the sudden thick fog maybe so, or maybe not. No one knows for sure.
To this day we haven’t really found out a clear explanation for what happened and I guess we may never know. But for a time that morning, what ever caused the fog, it was a very unusual time to say the least.
Anyone have an idea of what it may have been?
Wednesday, 10 October 2012 12:36
I remember rounding a curve when I saw a man kneeling beside the road without a coat on and the rain was coming down pretty hard. I didn’t know whether to stop or not. My parents had warned me as a child never pick up a stranger but for some unknown reason, I stopped.
He barely raised his rain soaked head as I rolled down the passenger window and asked him if he needed a ride. He never said a word but opened the rear door and climbed into the backseat of my car. As he sat in the backseat I adjusted my rearview mirror and noticed the man’s face was deathly white. I was having second thoughts now after I, for some unknown reason, had stopped and picked up a total stranger.
I asked, “Where are you headed mister?”
He then raised his head and his hollow dark eyes stared into my mirror as he said, “ My name is Tommy and I’m trying to get home.”
I then asked him, “ Where would home be Tommy?”
He then told me he lived on Ephram Creek at the fork of the road. I knew the house where he was talking about but I never had met the people who lived there. I had heard tales of a widowed woman who lived there alone and thought he must have be some kin to her. I turned my car around and told him I would take him there.
As I drove across the hill from Paw Paw to Ephram Creek he sat there in the back without saying another word. I thought to myself the faster I get him home the better. I also made a promise to myself to never repeat anything like this again.
I was scared to death. I have never forgotten the helpless feeling I had that night, but still I drove on. I came to the fork of the road and pulled into the driveway where the man described. I stopped the car and he just sat there so I got out and walked around the back to open the door for him because he really didn’t look so good. Then when I opened the door, Tommy was gone. I looked all around the car to see if he had maybe gotten out the other side of the car but he was nowhere to be found.
Then, a dim porch light came on from the small, run-down house. The front door creaked as it slowly opened and an elderly, gray haired lady stepped onto the porch. Her eyes strained as she looked towards me as if to ask what I needed.
I walked up a dark dirt path leading up to the porch and asked here if she knew a man called Tommy and told her how I had picked him up and brought him here her house. Then the lady gently smiled as she brushed a tear away from her cheek and said “It sure was nice of you to go out of your way to bring Tommy home. You see, 13 years ago today, in an accident just down the road, my husband Tommy lost his life and oh I miss him so. He had stopped to help a young lady change a flat tire and was hit and killed instantly by a drunk driver.”
A cold chill ran down my back as goose bumps raised all over my body and hair raised on the back of my neck as I listened to the story of the tragic accident. She was so in love with her husband you could tell as she tried to hold back the tears telling her tragic story.
When she had finished, I didn’t know what to say except, “Well, I’m so sorry for your loss but I guess I’ll be going now, Ma’am,” not knowing how to handle what I had just heard.
She smiled and nodded as if to let me know she understood.
Then, as I turned to leave she said something I will never forget. The frail little old lady said, “Thank you for your trouble and the kindness that you have shown ‘cause you’re the 13th one who’s been here, bringing my Tommy home.”
PS: An old song my mother used to sing often inspired my Halloween story. I hope you enjoyed it.
Wednesday, 03 October 2012 12:39
My special birthdays… a boy’s memories
By: Rodney Miller
September 16th was my birthday. Now it seems each year goes by a little faster than the last. I love birthdays but there are two things that I really miss about my birthdays now. I miss my special birthday cake from Momma and my birthday gift from Daddy.
As far back as I can remember, every year for my birthday Dad always gave every kid in my family a dollar bill as a birthday present and Mom always fixed each of us our favorite cake. Every year as I got older I expected my gift from Dad would maybe change or get a little larger but up until his death, it was always a single dollar bill. Boy do I miss my dollar now.
As a small child growing up in the 50's and 60's the dollar was a lot bigger it seemed. Then as I grew into a young man and a husband and father, he still never gave more than a dollar. I often joked in Dad's later years, when my birthday came around, that I really needed that dollar bill to make my birthday complete and he always produced. Most of the time his gift was a brand new dollar that he had gotten at the bank just for my birthday. Mom would always take our request for what kind of cake we would like to have each year and always came through with one of the most delicious birthday cakes you could imagine. My favorites were German Chocolate, Italian Crème and Pineapple Upside-Down cake. Nobody could make a cake like Mom. She knew just how I liked my cakes, easy on the cake and heavy on the frosting. I remember so many times getting my dollar bill (which I usually saved for our next trip to Ben Franklin's in town) and my birthday cake with all the candles to blow out for my wish. I was told to never share my wish with anyone else or it wouldn't come true. But always my wish was the same, I wished that Daddy didn't have to work so hard and Momma could have a new bigger house. Well, sad to say my wish never came true. Mom and Dad worked hard their whole lives. Dad, working 6 days a week to have the money to support our family, and Mom working 7 days a week to keep us fed and clean the house. But don't get me wrong, I don't believe either one would have done it any differently, even if they had had the opportunity do so. Dad in his later years could have quit work long before he did, but he wasn't satisfied unless he was working. And after they got older, he offered to build Mom a new house, but she always told him she loved it where she was. Their modest home was the only home she had ever known and she didn't have to have a big fancy house. I think now it was a way to hang on to her memories when all of her kids were at home. My Dad died in February of 1997 and that September 16th was a sad birthday for both Mom and me. She called and told me she had made me my favorite cake, a German Chocolate and asked when I would be up to enjoy it. I didn't have the heart to tell her that Margy, my wife, had made one too because she didn't think Momma would be up to it. But anyway, I didn't let on and told her I would be there right after work. I drove home and told Margy that Momma had called and had also made me a birthday cake and we should go because she was so lonesome now Dad wasn't around now.
After we shared a few tears, we drove to Mom's and she met us at the door as always, with arms wide open and her special smile. As we walked to the kitchen a large German Chocolate cake sat centered on the table and beside it lay a brand new dollar bill with a birthday card that read "Happy Birthday Rodney, From the both of us, love Mom and Dad." It was the best birthday gift ever.
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