Laugh Tracks in the Dust


     Just got back from Pratt, Kan., hunting wild pheasants and quail with Rollin Birdz and Claude Hopper. Claude is an old college buddy from our days at Bea Wilder U and he farms near Pratt. We decided to take advantage of the good January weather ‘cause we’re all at an age when every hunt together might be our last.

The bird numbers are still down in that area — lingering effects of the drought — but we still managed to harvest two pheasants and two quail. Despite the lack of hunting success, we had a great time walking, visiting, watching the dogs work and enjoying excellent liquid refreshments in the evening.

And, I got to spend some time with another old friend, ol’ Ev R. Reddy, to see how self-sufficient his family members are. Most of their electricity comes from solar panels; they have a back-up water supply, plus a big greenhouse where they grow everything from greens, peppers, peas, tomatoes, and even fresh limes.

I admire how much ol’ Ev has gotten himself off of the grid.


Since this column started off about hunting, I’ve got a true story about our most recent outing to hunt some of our pen-raised quail. Rollin and I convinced our mutual friend, Avery Ware, to join us.

Well, we hunted in about 10 acres of rocky meadow and the grass wuz tall and heavy. We had a great time until we were ready to leave and Avery discovered, to his dismay, that he’d lost his cell phone somewhere out that in all that grass.

We decided to try an find the phone. Rollin and I used our cell phones to call Avery’s phone as we walked 20 yards apart through the grass. We searched unsuccessfully for about an hour and were about to give it up when we decided to look one more time close to the north end of the grass. Rollin and Avery were ahead of me about 100 yards as I was walking towards my pickup.

I made one last call to Avery’s phone as I got in the truck. When I looked up, I could tell that Avery heard something. By the time I arrived to help with the search, Avery wuz down on his knees and cocking his ear like a feral cat preparing to pounce on a mouse. Eventually, and thankfully, Avery finally honed in on the sound and produced his lost cell phone from deep in the grass.

I tell you, folks, his face looked like a kid’s on Christmas morning. The search wuz a long shot, but it paid off in the end.


Before we left that day, Avery told us another true lost cell phone story. He said he once owned a Beagle hound that he let run around in the yard when Avery wuz home. The Beagle had the unusual habit of picking up anything that Avery had handled and carrying it out into the yard. That included metal hand tools, gloves, garage rags — you name it.

Well, one day Avery was on his back in his garage working on his lawn mower blades when he got a phone call on his cell phone. He never got off the garage floor when he answered it, but when I finished the call, he laid his cell phone on the floor.

You guessed it! When Avery finished, his cell phone wuz gone and he swears that ornery Beagle wuz smiling a canine smile that said, “Yup, I hid it from you, boss!”

The search wuz on! Avery got his wife’s cell phone and began calling his cell.

He walked all around his yard and finally heard a muffled ring. He tracked the sound to his compost pile near his garden. Noticing some fresh digging, he dug down and found his cell phone buried in compost.

I’ve got a suggestion for Avery. Get a holster for your cell phone and us it!


Avery wuz full of stories that day. He also told Rollin and me a wildlife story that happened to him recently. He wuz on his way to the Wichita area and stopped at a roadside service area for a cup of java. On his way back to his pickup, he noticed some activity in the prairie grass nearby.

Upon closer investigation, he say a young coyote being harassed and flogged by five Canada geese. Avery guessed that one of the geese couldn’t fly, but it’s friends weren’t about to let it become a meal for that ambitious young coyote. Avery watched until the hungry coyote slunk away.


Another friend of mine, ol’ Mel N. Celler, told this true wildlife story during our weekly Old Boars’ Breakfast in Saffordville. Mel said one spring, he wuz swathing hay and ran a hen turkey and her babies out of the hay. The old hen wuz walking quickly towards cover and her chicks were lined out behind her.

Suddenly, Mel noticed a hawk target the chicks. He said that hawk wuz plummeting at mach speed toward the chicks when suddenly the old hen flew straight up in the air about 20 feet and met that hawk in a mid-air collision.

He said the confused hawk immediately left the field to look for less protected prey than turkey chicks.

It just goes to show that Mother Nature has evolved ways for her precious critters to protect themselves


All my crop farming friends are perplexed about how to deal with the intricacies of the new farm bill and all its options. Friends, I’m working on a new invention that will make your farm bill decisions easier. I’m coming up with a Farm Bill Ouija Board to take along with you to the FSA office when you get ready to sign the final papers.

That’s the wisdom I’m imparting this week. Oh, by the way, you can thank me that the Fox news and business channels are once again airing on Dish-Net TV. It wuz the “hot” letters that I wrote to both parties that did the trick.

Have a good ‘un.


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