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Thanksgiving at the farm
 
Thanksgiving was a big holiday on the farm. Mainly because we had been taught about the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving. Another reason was it always came on a Thursday and made a long holiday. But the best reason was because it was always the opening day of rabbit season.

We had four rabbit hounds. King and Queenie, excellent rabbit dogs and Rocket and Jet. Both just so-so. Norman brought Rocket as a puppy to the farm. He was supposed to be a pure bred beagle with papers long as your arm. He was too big and too heavy for a beagle. I think he has some Bassett genes mixed in. He was also epileptic. He would begin trotting in ever smaller circles and finally at the center of the circle he would fall over on his side. He would lie there for a few minutes and then get up and resume hunting.

Jet, a small white dog, turned out to be an excellent deer hound. Before Jet, we would go deer hunting with coon hounds, fox hounds and any other hound we could find. The trouble was whenever they struck a scent and began chasing the deer, they made a huge amount of barking and howling, plus they chased the deer too fast. The deer would go as fast as possible in a straight line. When the deer came to the creek, it would jump in and swim to the other side. Half the dogs would do the same.

Sometimes it was two or three days before your dogs returned home.
Jet was a small dog, didn't make much noise and trotted along on the trail. The deer would run slower and run in a big circle. The hunter as able to get in front of the deer and Jet.

Of course all this was highly illegal. Deer hunting with dogs was against the law then and still is.

Back to Thanksgiving and rabbit hunting. There would be four or five of us, sometimes Uncle Mick and Cousin Rudy would join us with their two or three dogs. We would begin the hunt. Most of us would be in the woods and a few in the open field. Soon we would kick a rabbit out of a brush heap or the dogs would 'jump' the rabbit.

Norman would yell 'there he goes', sometimes shots were fired. Usually all misses when the rabbit was running away at full speed.

The rabbit would usually run a few hundred yards and then circle back. Here they come, all five or six hounds barking and howling just as if they see the rabbit. You tense up and wait for the rabbit to hop out in front of you.

The dogs appear, barking furiously. No rabbit. The dogs have committed a cardinal sin. They are back-tracking. They had lost the rabbit and were following the scent back to where it started. The rabbit had either jumped a ditch, went into a briar patch or went into a hole.

We finally got the dogs back hunting. Sometime they would tree a raccoon or possum. We pulled the dogs away and kept hunting. didn't want either one.
Norman was a real Nimrod. He could spot a rabbit sitting perfectly still in a brush heap five yards away.

We hunted around the field and quit at noon. Rabbits were divided up between the families.

We were ready for Thanksgiving dinner, usually served at two or three in the afternoon.

Dad always said Grace, "Dear Lord, we are truly thankful for which we are about to receive. Amen."

600 words Written for Thanksgiving of 2015