On this particula’ day after the chores got done, I walked out on’ta the front porch and I hollerd, “Heeeeeeyaaah” and them dawgs come out from under the house... barkin’. They knew we wuz goin’ coon huntin’. And I hollerd again and my neighbor waaay across the sage patch hollerd back and that meant: “I’ll meet-ya... half way.”
We met in the middle of that sage patch and he had his dawgs... ole Brummie and Queen and Spot and I had Tory and Little Red... and ole Trailer. And we wen’-down inta the swomps. And we started huntin’. Oh!!! ... we wuz havin’ such-a fine time! Caught four gret bigguns.
I heard a racket. And it scared me... and I whopped my carbide light – what I had wired to my cap – aroun’ ner and I was lookin’ in the vicinity of where I heard the racket comin’ from.
And the beam of light hit a man right in the face and it liken to have scared me slap to death ‘cause we’s a-huntin’ on this man’s place. I said, “Mr. Baron, is-at-choo?”
He said, “yes, Jerry. “What are y’all doin’?”
“How many have you caught?”
“Four gret bigguns.”
He said, “Well boys-ah... ah-glad to see-ya. Y’all wanna spend the rest of tha evenin’... huntin’ wi’ me and John?
Well I looked and lo and behold –there was John Eubanks, a man that lived on Mr. Baron’s place. John Eubanks was a gret American. He was a pro-fessional tree climber. He didn’t b’lieve—I’m tellin’ you the truth—he didn’t be’lieve in shootin’ no coon outta no tree – it was against his upbringin’. He taught us from birth from the day we were born to the age we could keep listenin’ to ‘im: “Give everythang a sportin’ chaince. Whatever you do... give it a sportin’ chance.” He’d-a been a great conservationist today if he’d be here.
And John said: “Take a cross-cut saw coon huntin’ wi’ ya. When you tree a coon, hold the dawgs and cut the tree down. Or either: clime the tree and make the coon jump in amongst the dawgs. Give him a sportin’ chance.”
A lotta times, we’d clime a tree and make a coon jump in amongst twenty dawgs, but at least he had the option of whuppin’ all’em dawgs and walkin’ off if he wanted to – this was strictly left up to the coon.
So I said, “Mr. Baron, we’d be glad to go huntin’ wi’ you.” You know... he was was a rich man.... he’d sold a lotta cotton during the First World War for a dollar a pound. He had some world-renowned dawgs. And we hollerd three or fo’ times and they started... huntin’.
And we listened and d’rectly, old Brummie... old Brummie didn’t bark at nuthin’ but a coon—had a deep voice—and when he cut down on him, it was a coon... don’t worry ‘bout no possum or no bobcat. Brummie was runnin’ a coon.
An’ ‘en old Trailer and ole HighBall and them famous dawgs of Mr. Baron’s got in ‘nere wid ‘em... and ole John Eubanks a-hollah, “Heeeeyah! Speak to ‘im.”
And my brother Sonny hollah, “Heeeeyah! Look friennnnd!” ... and awww... it was beautiful.
‘Bout dat time... they treed. We rushed down inta the swomps. And there the dawgs were... treed up the biggest sweetgum tree in all of Amit River swomps. It ... was ... HUGE. You couldn’t reach around this tree. There wuddn’t a lim’ on it... for a while. Wheeey up there.... HUGE tree.
And I looked aroun’ at John and I said, “John... I don’t b’lieve you can clime that tree” and it hurt John’s feelins. He pooched his lips out – got fightin’ mad – he said, “There ain’t a tree in all these swomps that I cain’t clime.” And he got his brogan shoes off and he eased up to that sweetgum tree and he hung his toenails in that bark and he got his fangernails in ‘nere and he kep easin’ up th’ tree... workin’ his way tward that bottom lim’... and he finely got to it and he started on up inta this big tree.
“KNOCK ‘IM OUT, JOHHHHNNNNN.” It won’t be long.
And John worked his way on up to the top of the tree and ohhhhh, whut a biggun! And he reached around in his overhalls and got that sharp stick and he drawed back and he punched the coon...
.... but it wuddn’t a coon. It was a lynx. We called ‘em souped-up wild cats in Amit County. And that thang had grettttt big tooshies coming outta its mouth, and grettt big claws on the end of its feet. And people?... that thang attack-ted John up in the top of that tree.
“Waaawwwww” you could hear John squallin’.
“What’s the matter with John?”
“I don’t have no idee what in the world’s happ’nin’ wi’ John”
“KNOCK ‘IM OUT, JOHHHNNN.”
“Waaawwwww, this thang’s killin’ me.”
The whole top of the tree was shakin’... the dawgs got to biting the bark of the tree and fightin’ one a-nuther underneath the tree and I was kickin’ ‘em... “you dawgs... get away...what’s the matter wi’ John?”
“KNOCK ‘IM OUT, JOHHHNNN.”
“Waaawwwww... this thang’s killin’ me.”
And John knew that Mr. Baron toted a pistol in his belt to shoot snakes with. And he kept hollerin’, “Oooooh.... shoot this thang. Have Mercy! This thang.... killin’ me. Shoot this thang.”
And Mr. Baron said, “Johhhnnnn, I can’t shoot up in ‘nere. I might hit YOU.”
John said, “Well just shoot up in hyere amongst us. One of us got to have some relief.”