LOADED FOR BEAR

    As I have mentioned in previous postings my best buddy was Isaac. He lived on the edge of the marsh and his father had  a row boat. Also my father had given me a 20 gauge single shot bolt action shotgun when I was 10 or 11.

    I don’t think I ever mentioned that I had a black and white pointer bird dog, His name was Smokey. Smokey’s home was a 2 x 2 x 4 ft. cardboard packing crate out on the porch. The crate was from an ice chest we had ordered from Sears when we first moved to the island.

    One bright sunny day a flood tide was rising above most of the marsh grass. Isaac and I decided to go marsh hen hunting. This is a bird that lives and nests in the marsh grass. The marsh hen weighs about 11 ounces and when fried tastes like chicken. We must have already planned this hunt because the boat was tied up at the bridge that spans the big drainage ditch which empties into the marsh. Otherwise, if the boat had been left at the tie up point several hundred feet out, on the small creek near the Cooper River, it would have looked like a lonely boat tied to a post on a lake of water.

    There were a couple of small islands of Myrtle Trees between the bridge and the river. As we paddled and poled in 3 to 4 feet of water, Smokey would swim out to the islands. As  we approached the island the birds would swim out, away from Smokey. Sometimes they would attempt to fly which was difficult because they were wet. This went on for about an hour during which time I had killed 10 marsh hens.

    This was a Friday afternoon and I was not in school therefore it had to be late May at the end of the school term. And May had the highest flood tides. When my dad came in from the fields where he had been overseeing the farming, and saw the 10 birds that my mother had I had plucked and cleaned he said to me “Tug ( This is a nickname he always called me. I don’t remember him ever calling me Bobby or Bob his entire life. He tells the story there was an old black man on his farm  at one time by the name of  Tug Hudson) can we go tomorrow”? Sure I said. The boat is still tied up at the bridge.

    Saturday, shortly afternoon as the tide was flooding, we untied the boat with me at the rear paddling and pushing. Dad was up front with his double barrel 12 gauge shotgun, a pocket full of # 8 shot shells. He was LOADED FOR BEAR.

I pushed and paddled all over the area for almost an hour and we did not see one marsh hen. Smokey, my dog was not with us, therefore if there were any marsh hens left they were hiding on the islands.

    We headed home and about 100 ft. from the bridge I spotted a head moving in the grass dead ahead. I finally got dad to see it and “bang”, he wasn’t skunked.