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 black oak mountain road
 

 The Antenna Man

 

most times you see a vehicle go by you know who it is  

 

 

 

Being so far from the main road, generally traffic’s pretty sparse up this way. It’s a mile and a quarter down this side of the mountain to the two lane. Coming up, most of the people live in that first quarter mile. Up this far the houses are few and far between. If you’re not from here, the narrow winding road that climbs through the dense back woods to get to our place seems to go on forever and you’re sure you’re lost before you get this far.

Oh, we get the occasional city slicker, lost cause he can’t find a place to turn round. A few religious zealots travel way out here to bring their brand of godliness to these poor mountain folk. Even had a bad guy or two speed by trying to lose the local law. But most times you see a vehicle go by you know who it is and probably where they’re going.

Mid morning this fine Spring day did bring a surprise.

Was alone. Went to the barn early, fed the horses and checked for eggs. Those darn hens either didn’t lay or hid the eggs again. Made as mental note to check the usual hideouts later. Back at the house, fed the dogs and cats. Dogs went to the barn and back with me as usual. Went in for my second cup of coffee and glanced at the newspaper.

Morning routine is always the same. A certain kind of comfort in that. Out in the fresh air early, a good start to the day.

Busied myself with household chores a while. Had seen the mailman go by the lower gate on his way back down the mountain. So, decided to take a break and get the mail. The box is up the hill on the road. Way the house sits you can’t see it from the kitchen window. Put on boots, coat and hat, still a bit nippy out, and headed out the door to get my walking stick. Girls were napping but jumped up quickly for our usual walk to the mailbox. Take my walking stick everywhere. Helps with the steep rocky terrain and is ever ready to chase off stray critters.

When we got to the top of the stairs, noticed the van. It was parked along the road at the end of the driveway, doors open. Didn’t recognize it. Had no markings or windows down the side, just an older model, beat up looking, dull gray van. As I approached the gate, I saw the owner. In the middle of the road, this man was walking back and forth, carrying an antenna of some sort, waving it over his head in all directions. A good sized middle aged fellow, dressed in jeans and a white tee shirt, not looking any too happy.

My first thought was, "What we have here is a nut case trying to contact Mars or maybe God". The whole scene looked comical. As I paused by the gate, next thing that popped into my head was "You’re alone". Looked around, the dogs were at my feet showing no sign of alarm and the horses that had come down from the barn, were by the fence watching our visitor. I felt better, I wasn’t alone and my animals would protect me. Just their presence gave me courage.

Thru the gate toward the mailbox I went, just like seeing a man pacing the road acting out of the ordinary was no big deal. Happened every day.

About then he noticed me coming his way. I nodded and said, "Mornin".

He stopped pacing, antenna still held high, said " You seen any dogs over this way?"

Still not certain about his actions, I calmly answered, "No, just mine."

He lowered the antenna and started talking. "Tryin’ to find my dogs. Had’em out last night and they ain’t come back. You Jim’s sister?"

That cinched it. He wasn’t crazy, just a local who knew my brother. The antenna, he explained was used to track the dogs’ radio collars. Had lost their signal and was trying to get a fix on them. He and his buddies are members of the local Coon Hunters Association and go all out to train and hunt with their dogs.

Our woods are full of raccoons. Those crafty critters can play havoc in a barn or chicken coop. On more than one occasion they have attempted to outwit and frustrate us - ah, but that’s another story.

Learn something new everyday. This fine Spring day I came back from the mailbox with mail and a lesson in local hunting practices.

 

 

 

Last updated 23 February 2010

© 2001 - 2010 T.K.Ash