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This Sunday I greet you all, my old friends and readers of Little Creek happenings with a big New Year’s hello and wishes for a year filled with love and with family to surround you.

I have gained some new friends, renewed friendships and retained my old dearly beloved friends from years back. I cherish you all and have been blessed.

You all have helped me through a rough time. As much through as I’ll ever be and I thank all of you more than I can say.

I must go on and look forward to a happy reunion with my son and all my loved ones waiting.

It is a cold blustery day. It is 24 degrees here at 1 p.m.

I had a visit from Christine Satterfield and son, Clinton, and Charlie Friday. Christine was bringing Christmas presents and sharing the season with her dad.

Kevin and I spent New Year’s Eve with Jim and Jean Frye and family and with friend, Dustin Stout. They rang the New Year in with the ringing of the church bell. Jean, Jo and I and Jim stayed in and let the youngsters continue the tradition. We missed those who couldn’t be there this year.

I keep getting requests to be more regular with my news so my New Year resolution is to send something in each week. I’ll do my best to remember to write.

And everyone says write of the “Good Ole’ Days so this week I will write what I know of fox huntin in the hills of Ozark and Douglas Counties in the times when there was the red fox to hunt.

Now the fox hunters didn’t hunt to kill, in fact if you killed a red fox and it was found out, you were pretty much made to be excluded in everything and made famous as a “fox killer” to be shunned.

They hunted for the chase which was music to their ears. My Dad never got tired of the old joke which has been told to death and I can hear him telling it to our Oklahoma kin when they came to go fox hunting and it goes – a city cousin was taken out fox hunting and all were sitting around the camp fire and as the fox chase came within hearing distance, someone commented, “Just listen to that music” to which the city boy declared, “I can’t hear anything for them danged dogs.”

In those days Friday nights were the time for the chase and Saturdays in Ava at the hunters café, The Cowbell, was where you’d find all the men from different areas telling stories of the previous nights hunt.

The wives and kids were on the square visiting and shopping and we kids usually were at the Saturday matinee at the Avalon Theatre. We had no TV’s and so a movie was exciting. They also showed a movie on Sunday afternoons and my sisters and I often stayed in town overnight with Uncle Dude and Aunt Audree and would walk in to town to the movie which cost a quarter to attend.

Back to the fox story – In those days they didn’t hunt with pickup trucks except to haul dogs to the known spots from which they cast the hounds and then they settled down around the campfire to listen to the fox chase. Someone had the hound who would always strike the scent and the pack would follow. They each wanted their hound to lead the pack of course and there would be some heated arguments when someone was thought to be claiming the other man’s dog.

I was happy to hear of a young hunting enthusist named Zack. Hunting is a happy way of life and I hope the tradition is carried on.

I will write what I know of hunting in memory of my Dad, Joe, Orville and Dude and all those old time fox hunters who have gone to happier hunting grounds.

I know a little about fox hunting, even having joined in a few hunts. And I know a lot about fox hunters. I know that if a “dyed in the wool” fox hunter heard his hounds cry “fox” he might grab for his hat, but if he missed, he would never take time for another grab. I know fox hunters are born, not made, and I’ve heard it said that you don’t have to be crazy to be a fox hunter, but it sure helps.

I’ve known many hounds and found them to be like people in many ways. Some are babblers, some are liars and some are homers and some are roamers and some never make it far past the campfire. I know the most important thing about a hound is the mouth (voice.) Some have a long bawl, some a bawl and chop, some are high tenor and some squeal and scream. The high fast chop is best because is sounds faster than the long bawl. Any mouth sounds better on a hound that is up front.

Hunters of my Dad’s ilk had the best time for the sport when there was few, if any, deer, fewer autos, fewer fences and no complaints from neighbors.

They hunted for the pure pleasure of hearing a pack of hounds with good mouths in pursuit of a red fox that would run and run.

They had no intentions of catching the game and disliked anyone who would kill a fox.

I’ve heard hunters say in describing a good race that you “could just dip it up (hound music) with a bucket.” I can still hear Daddy saying, “Girls, let’s load these hounds, I’m late for the hunt.”

Uncle Orville died doing what he loved. His last words were, “Boys, I’m going to climb up on the back of this truck so I can hear every bit of this.” What better way to live than to have a passion and follow it to the end.

Sadly there is no longer the fox to chase and so the hunters left have had to resort to the coyote to run. They have it in their blood and so they do the next best thing and reminisce about those buddies of past campfires and tell stories of minghts never to be forgotten.

Some nights when it is still and if I listen real close, I can hear the chase of long ago hounds after God’s flawless animal – the red fox.

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