There’s a place I go to live some times, way deep in the woods. It’s easy enough to get to when the weathers good, but when it snows, there’s no way in but on foot or one of those atvs. Can’t afford no fancy buggy like that, so I just take the short cut. It takes maybe an hour or two walking, depending on the weather and who’s about. I carry a gun for just those occasions, for the bob cats and bears. I never did kill anything, just scared them to death. They take off running in one direction soon as they hear the shot while I tear off in the other. I wonder if their heart is thumpin’ as loud as mine. One time I tripped over a rock only to come face to face with a fox. I thought he’d bite my nose off but he just growled ‘till I was out’ a there. Once again my heart was pounding so loud and I didn’t even think about using the gun that time, guess all I wanted to do was disappear.
Every time I go out though, something happens, that’s why I keep going. I had to go by this skinny part of the path where the creek comes right up to a steep bluff. I’ve tried pulling logs and rocks over to build it up, but it don’t work for very long. The minute the creek floods just a little, every thing washes away and I got to start all over again. This one day, the snow was up to my chin, I swear it seemed like, and everything was white and frosty lookin’. The air smelled like ice and the sun was just streaming through branches casting long, blue shadows. That however was the problem. I had started out way too late to make this walk alone. I had my gun but still when it gets dark out there, it’s damn dark and it comes on quick.
I was just getting to the skinny part of the creek as the sun was inches from the horizon and realized something or someone was following me. They must’ve smelled my knapsack full of food. Sunset is when everybody’s tummy starts to rumble, ‘specially raccoons, and those kinds. They’re all looking for dinner and it was either me or what was in my sack. Even so I stopped solid and listened. My feet were freezing up, there in the snow but nothing else moved and I heard only some chickadees.
Then, there I saw it, jumpin’ right at me at full speed only the fool thing didn’t realize there was a creek between me and it. She flew through the air like a jet, landing on one of the twigs from the mess a stuff I kept building up to make the side of the creek wider. The log was a good thick one but the twig attached was thin, dry and about to crack.
Her little feet were a scrambling to get up on the log and the harder she fought the weaker the stick became. It threw down my knapsack and hat and climbed out on the log to snatch her up before she fell into the creek. Just as I neared she plopped right into that freezing ice cold water. She swam towards me hard and fast and it took me two steps into that same icy water to catch up to her. I never did see a little bobcat kit up close but no sooner did I pick her up did she sink her little claws into my sweater and snuggle up deep under my down jacket. Sloppy wet and with the sun going down fast, we climbed our way out of that creek and headed towards home fast as we could before we both froze. I watched my back the whole time lookin’ for ‘mama’ but never saw her. I named the little kit Jet and she and I have been together ever since. Wild as she is, she won’t leave my side and I have to tell ya, that was the fastest I ever made it up that mountain.
Another time, it was late fall and only an inch or two or maybe three of snow lie on the ground. My road was still drivable so my friend Dave came to pick me up. He was a crazy man that Dave was. We eventually were married but back then he was a long tall drink ‘a water, smart and crazy like a loon. We went out on that snowy night, driving into town just for the fun of it. Dave had an old station wagon that might’ve been for a family wagon once upon a time but he used it to haul firewood, furniture or anything people would pay to have brought from one place to another. This time the back was dead empty, and so were our pockets. We didn’t have a stitch ‘a money, not for a beer or not even a cup of coffee. It didn’t make no difference, we were off to see what trouble we’d get into.
Coming into town there’s a straightaway before the road takes a dip downhill into the village. It was just on that part of the road that crazy Dave jumped out of the car while it was still moving and he was the driver! I screamed bloody murder, which didn’t help a lick but got me out of my seat fast as can be. I slid over to the driver’s side and wanted with all my heart to just stomp on that brake, only that’d send me spinnin’ in a hundred circles. Instead, I shifted down to first gear and decided I wouldn’t stop at all until I got to the village square.
Sure enough a minute or two later there comes Dave runnin’ alongside the car hangin’ on to a piece of stove pipe. “Turn around!” he hollered. “I know somebody that wants one of these.”
Sitting on the side of the road was an old fashioned pot bellied stove with all the scrolly edges and everything. “How we gonna get that thing into the car?” My hands were on my hips and my foot was tappin’. I knew he’d figure something out; he was an inventor after all. He invented all kinds of things only then they’d show up on TV a month or two later before he was done drawing them down on paper. That didn’t stop him though, he kept on with his creations just like he was gonna do tonight. He’d figure a way to get that one ton thing in the car, no problem.
Darn if that stove wasn’t into the back of that wagon in under an hour. I knew just where we were headed with that thing too. It had to be to Doc’s house. He was a doctor of antiques and knew everything there was to know on the subject.
Dave jumped into the driver’s seat already planning on how we would spend the money Doc would give us for that old stove. Only we never did spend the money, ‘cause we never did see any of it. Doc said the stove wasn’t worth the work it would take to haul the thing around even if Dave did all the haulin’ work. It wasn’t a total loss though; in fact Doc fell in love with Dave that night. Not real love but admiration love and from then on that boy found antiques hidden in the darnedest places. He learned how to restore them, guess their worth and how to sell them. It was a new beginning for my friend and made a whole life time of adventures for us.
All I remember from that night, was the next morning. Jet and I were all snuggled in between the sheets, deep under the great patchwork quilt. The sun was pourin’ in the bedroom window, all warm and buttery, and the rich, thick smell of coffee was coming from our new pot belly.