Sunday, December 04, 2005

ARKANSAS: Bullets & Bay Leaves

We were invited to Arkansas for opening week of deer season. It was a warm, carefree, Huck Finn weekend fishing for trout in the clear, cold White River, and hiking the bank looking for deer tracks, trails, and scrapes. We found an old, abandoned still with clear glass bottles strewn around, observed wild hen turkeys, sneaked a peak at two gobblers secure in the brush, and witnessed a blitz cross our vision that was a roadrunner. Where was the coyote?

"Come on, you've got to see this," Hoov urged stepping out of the boat into the water. I followed filling my boots with goo. In the cove he brushed aside the leaves with his foot and said, "Listen." We heard bubbling, the earth giving up fresh water.

Hoov's camp is a testimony to taxidermy: large-mouth and striped bass; a ring-tail cat; pheasants, and a Razorback hog head in the bathroom ringed with a pink flower lei. He cooked nonstop, and I took notes. We loved his seafood gumbo, New England clam chowder, and potato salad with chopped dill pickle. I'd brought fresh rosemary, but not bay leaves. I should have listened to my instinct, Hoov needed some and it was sixteen curvy miles to town.

The deer were nowhere to be seen, except on the road at night. But the camp was lively. Two new dogs: Pointers, and sisters had to be named. After much hilarity they were dubbed Bonnie and Clyde. A magic marker was used to write their name on their collar and on each of their owner's faces. We all left before a storm put his deck on top of the house.

copyright 2005 Red Convertible Travel Series

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