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Monthly Archives: May 2013

The other night there was a bad wreck on the interstate. So bad, in fact that it was shut down going east. Having grown up traveling back and forth across I-40 it was nothing new for me to know a way around. However, I didn’t realize where this little detour was going to take me.

By the time I made my drop and swap in Memphis the state had started forcing people around the accident. A county deputy had my route of choice blocked. That’s okay. Soon I was traveling on the two lane backroads of Tennessee. I’ve always loved the backroads. Oh the memories. Back before the turn of the century I often took the backroads. In those days I was dodging scales and always running hot on my logs.

By the way the driver of the truck in front of me was acting I’d say he hasn’t spent much time trucking on two lane roads. Driving through this West Tennessee bottom land in the middle of the night was my kind of trucking. What happened next slipped up on me. I was at Gallaway. Not much more than a wide spot in the road.

In 1923 Gallaway must have really been small. That’s the year my old man was born there. My love of Tennessee grows deep. Much like the roots of the stately old Oak and Hickory trees that grow along the roadway. I’ve fished her waters. From wading her creeks to floating her rivers via canoe to boating her lakes. I’ve hunted her wildlife from the flat fertile land of West Tennessee through the rolling hills of Middle Tennessee all the way to the mountains of East Tennessee.

This land is a major part of who I am. It’s taught me lessons. It’s showed me the beauty of nature. Not all the lessons have been good ones. I’ve traveled near and far around this great country.  Though there are some places that hold a special place in my heart. None will ever uproot Tennessee as my beloved homeland.

This detour only took me four miles out of route.  In my mind it took me back generations.



Others had said I should get on a plane and escape. I knew that wasn’t for me. It was only a long weekend but surely I could get away. The weather was perfect. Temperatures in the low 70s. This turned out to be one of the best decisions I would ever make.

I took to the backroads. These were my roads. They worked there way through the countryside much like the veins in my body. These roads had soul. They had life. Maybe not the life they once had. But, that was part of their beauty. The lost lives of the past. The weather worn signs of the past calling out to travelers.

The pace was much slower here. You could enjoy the scenery. Soak in the sights, sounds and smells of America. The long forgotten one. The core of our countries existence.  Each passing mile added to my memory. Each old home place told a short story.  With the snapshot etched into my brain at 45 mph. All would be saved for a slideshow on those days I couldn’t get away.

Sure there were countless planes jetting across the skies overhead.  On this day, on this journey, the only plane I needed was the one made by holding my hand out the window. For it zoomed along just above asphalt altitude searching for it’s destination.

 Supper yesterday brought back fond memories. It wasn’t the aroma of my fine cooking. It wasn’t the company. I was dining alone. It was the burger that I was preparing.  That good, lean deer burger.  That burger touched me far deeper than filling up a hollow spot in my gut.

 Last fall was the first time in ten years that I ventured back into the woods to hunt. I won’t delve into the reasons why. Honestly I’m still unclear as to the why and how that I lost my hunting spot. However, I finally decided to use what I had. That little plot of ground that my old man bought back in the late 60s. It wasn’t the large acreage that I was used to but it was mine.

 I spent the time to scout that little plot. There was plenty of sign. I knew the deer had always been there. Now the question would be if I would be fortunate enough to harvest one. The answer to that was yes! That deer has been such a blessing. Not only has it fed me, but also fed several other folks as well. It was shared with four other families.

 That, my friends is what it’s all about. Sharing the harvest. Making memories while on the hunt. Remembering those times from the past spent hunting. The ones you love who are no longer here. Hunting is so much more than just killing. It’s a respect for the wildlife. A respect for the earth. A respect for our ancestors.

 Hopefully you see that all of these things are what makes the harvest bountiful.



 Thoughts fill our minds. Much like an abundant bounty at harvest time. We see all the good possibilities it has to offer. This is much of what we’ve longed for.  All the ingredients are there. Go for it. This must be it?

 Wait! Is the distance too far? Will you truly be able to get your money’s worth? Is it worth the gamble. There is that one ingredient that adds a bitter taste.  People, other people. They should add the spice to life, yet mostly it’s a bitter barely sweet.

 Thoughts scream YES! But wait. What if? Looks like more of the same. The numbers appeal. Resources close by entice. In the shadows the responsibilities tap their toe. Reminding you of their importance.  You deserve this. Do you deserve this? 

 Time will only tick away. Never can we stop it. Soon I’ll take the test and see how it feels. Will the fit be snug? Will the fit be me? Not until the boot is upon the foot will I be able to wiggle my toes. Only then will I determine if it’s snug. If it’s loose. If it’s the perfect fit.

 The image sits quietly in the spot I store it. Suddenly something  brings it forward. How is it that it raises it’s head at the most inappropriate of times?  Catching you off guard like a submerged log waiting for a lower unit to claim. The place is always there, in memory at least.

 Going home isn’t ever the same. No matter how long it’s been since the last visit. Sure those memories flash before us. Yet I we can never quite make them out clearly.  We can always tell the stories. Perhaps the flavors are added to spice things up. Somehow the details are a bit cloudy.

We reach for them. Like swinging the badmidden racket at the lightning bugs. You swing and swing. Suddenly you contact one. You know this because the light stays on as it falls dying to the ground. Much like shooting stars. A wish! Why didn’t we ever make a lightning bug wish? We wish on the falling stars.

I don’t know if any of my wishes ever came true. At the time they were important. Now, all these years later they fall into just a pool of spent wishes. Not even in the hindsight that’s 20/20 can I see them. It’s that fog. The wishes make up that fog that clouds the memories.