The Big Thicket


When I was a boy we would have parties and all meet at some family’s house and play games until late at night. There would always be refreshments. The neighbors lived maybe three miles apart, just dim wagon roads connecting them. Now these parties would be in full swing until twelve or one o’clock, and then everybody would get ready to go home. If the boys had brought the girls to the party they would then walk home with them. This was the best part of the get-together, and it was a most pleasant distance we traveled. If you have never been out in the Big Thicket at night, you don’t know what a dark night can be like. We didn’t know what a flashlight was. We had the old kerosene lantern in those days, but what young man would carry a lantern in one hand while piloting a young lady home with the other? We’d rather take a chance on being caught by a panther or bit by a rattlesnake. Of course this was the courage we had while escorting the young lady home, but when you started back and heard animals in the bushes, and so dark you couldn’t see the ground in front of you, it was something else. Many nights a pack of wolves serenaded me with their lonesome howl, and it would make my hair stand up, give me goose pimples all over.

The Thicket has been my life. I’ve hunted just about every animal in the woods, but it wasn’t just the hunting. I just enjoy being in the woods. There’s hardly a time of the year you won’t find flowers in bloom, and in the spring it’s just a sight when the haws and the sweet bay and magnolias, and berries and jasmine and wild plum and dogwood are in bloom. My favorite is the wild honeysuckle.

I got out of the hospital Friday and took a walk in the woods Saturday, just back of the house here. Of course, I was just about dead when I got back. The doctor told me to stay inside, but I can get a couple of squirrels for dinner without leaving my backyard. They bark at my puppy dog I got tied back there. And I’d be surprised if I couldn’t jump a deer a quarter of a mile from the house. I’m not able to walk that much yet, but my boy’s going to take me to a deer stand in the morning. Doc wouldn’t like it but I don’t think it’ll hurt me. IfI die, I’ll die happy.