Thursday, August 7, 2014

Dog Tales and Pickle Jar

Did I ever tell you about Coonrod Smithers 'n his hounds?

Uncle, says I, you told me about Coonrod and the congressman only a week ago.

Why, says Uncle, so I did.  I recollect we leave Coonrod standin' aneath the big sycamore along of the congersman, 'n Jack 'n Jill.  So le's move 'em fum under there whilst we wait for Sam.

Waal, Al 'n Smithers, they leash the dogs an' head on back home, amblin' along, fur piece to go, but no hurry to get there.  'Sides, the dude is not use ta scrabblin' thoo rocks 'n scrub ina dark.  Anyways, they greeted loudly by the dogs pen up ta home, 'n jes' as they open the gate, Abraham let out a fe-rocious "Ur-A-ur-urrr," an' sure 'nuff, the first crack a daylight appear in the East!  Thet ol' speckled cock shorely keep time, right enough.  He think he make the sun come up, I do b'lieve.

Coonrod stir up a farr in the kitchen stove, crack open a dozen brown hen eggs, stir 'em up with a drap a milk, chunk a hunk a butter size a yer fist in thet ol' black skillet, let 'er sizzle, 'n thow in them eggs.  Bit a streak o' lean sizzlin' in Henry Adam, Rod's gran'ma's fryin' pan, 'n whilst breakfas' a cookin', Al 'n Rod partake a couple snorts a Peck's pizen.  "Whoo-ee!" say Alfred.  "'Em are some squeezin's!

Waal, they get down to bidness, devour them vittles 'n talk hound.  "I tell ya, Al, ol' pal, I once shuck the dumbest dog on God's green earth off on a slicker fum Asheville.  Dog one a them accidental dogs.  Dam was a beagle, 'n sire was on'y God above know whut.  But hit were a purty thang, an' I work her anyway.  Good nose, but no sense, ya see.  Anyways, she'd track 'n she'd bay, but on'y heaven know whut she mought tree.  Let her off leash one moonup, she catch scent 'n holler fum here to Kentuck, mought nigh.  Wind up the crack a dawn twenty mile fum home with a chipmunk up a tree!

So this Everett guy, fum over to Carolina, here lookin' my dogs, see this oddball, tricolor she were, but dumb.  "Thet dog hunt?' he says.

"She shorely do," I say.  Bein' the righteous fella I am, I went on,"She will fin' scent or tree quarry, but whut she tree may not be the biggest coon you ever see."

"Wha' cha want for her?"

"Oh," says I, "she not yet thow'd a litter, 'n I sorta 'spect ta use her fer stock, accounta she have such a fine nose."

Anyway, we haggle back 'n forth a bit, 'n he pay me seventy dollars* fer the bitch.  Three week later I get a letter fum Everett.  He write, "First time out with Mollie she raise a coon right off.  Coon knows he is tailed, runs to my pond other side the pasture.  I came up on her in time to see the coon take to water, swim out about twenty feet and wait for the dog.  She come up, leap into the water.  Coon waits.  When dog gets near enough, that raccoon jump on the damn dog's head, hold her under until she doesn't move any more.  Coon swims off, and $70 floats to the surface, deader than last week's pork chop.

"Not that you didn't warn me that that was one sorry dumb dog, but could you make some sort of adjustment on my loss?"

I write back 'n say, "Certainly.  I got a whole passel a pups ya kin pick from, 'n prices range from $70 and up."

Well, the congersman got in his swell rig, head home with two fine Redbone Coonhounds trottin' along ahind on they tethers.  An' Coonrod is chunkin' a sack a new Morgan's an' a couple a banknotes inta the stone crock where he store his not-likker.

*If seventy dollars seem small potatoes to you, consider that in 1888 a retail clerk might earn $10 a week for eighty hours work, while a skilled workman in a factory could make perhaps twelve dollars a week.

© 2014 David W. Lacy 42


Sharkbytes said...

Except for the accent, I could hear my dad tell a story like this!

vanilla said...

Sharkey, I surely have heard similar tales somewhere. Lucky you: a father who could tell a tale. I was so blessed, as well.

Secondary Roads said...

Seventy dollars does not seem small potatoes to me.

vanilla said...

Chuck, likewise; but then we grew up in an era where seventy dollars meant something entirely different from what it does today.

Lin said...

Seventy bucks?! For a dog?! Wow. Even now I'd cringe at that.

vanilla said...

Lin, people who deal in and use hunting dogs these days think in terms of hundreds, and even thousands of dollars. I know, you just don't get it. Neither do I. (The real-life story of the coon drowning the dog is based on an animal that cost the hunter two grand in 1976.)