H. Neal Glanville
H. Neal Glanville's column appears in the Craig Daily Press
It was a beautiful morning for rabbit hunting. Frost covered everything, and the promise of sunshine was in the air.
The kids' excitement began to grow as our friends started to gather at the house. Wade Wilson and his movie star girlfriend were the first to arrive.
The girls couldn't understand why a movie star would hang out with the poster child for mountain men.
Keith and his 1930-something International pickup was the last to arrive and the hunt for bunnies was on.
I "hasten" to mention we owned a 1976 Dodge Monaco station wagon, with beautiful fake wood trim.
We had purchased the car a year earlier from a high school auto shop. Imagine your "family car" being rebuilt by a senior class of big block speed freaks. I've long forgotten everything they did to the engine - it was just fast. Not from a changing red light fast but when you reached 35 or 40 and slammed the pedal down : the hood of the car would glow like a returning space shuttle.
It was a grand morning, and the rabbits were everywhere.
We stopped along the road for a hot lunch, dressed out the rabbits and planned our route home.
As we loaded up, Keith spotted a coyote about 300 yards out, watching us from a small hill.
"Dang shame" Wade said. "There sits 50 bucks laughing at us and not a rifle between us."
"Can't we drive up there?" one of the girls asked.
"No, absolutely not," their mother snapped.
"Let's vote," I said. "How many votes for chasin' the coyote?"
My foot pumped the pedal. Then four young voices said as one: "me."
My foot pumped it again.
"You're not chasing that coyote in this car," mother snapped again.
"But, we voted, mom," Ericca said, as the car started rolling.
I looked in the rearview mirror. "Are you sure, kids?" I asked.
My son, Kris, was pulling on his seatbelt.
"Better buckle up, girls," he said. "Dad's taking us high and deep one more time."
"I hate you" was all their mother said as we started down the road.
"We're going after the coyote," Melissa chirped as we drove by Wade and the movie star.
"You crazy son-of-a :" the kids started laughing.
"Lets get 'em, daddy," Ericca giggled.
We drove up the hill trying to get behind the coyote. As I stopped along the road, the kids' mom whispered, "I'll give you one more chance not to do this."
"There, daddy, there, across the flat, on the right," Eileen said as her arm shot passed my head in excitement.
The car and coyote saw each other at the same instant. The car went straight for the coyote. Out of the corner of my eye, the fingers of my former were burying themselves into the dashboard. The girls still talk about the moan they could hear coming from their mom.
Suddenly, the coyote did what only coyotes can do - he changed direction in mid-air.
I floored the pedal and powered into a hard left turn and came along side that fur-covered devil. I fired the shotgun and missed.
"Reload, daddy, reload" the kids were yelling.
I saw the badger hole a split second before the right front tire began it's own journey down the trail less traveled.
I pulled the car to a stop, and we all jumped out to inspect the damage. The inside of the rim had sheared off, leaving just the lug nuts. The scissor-jack that came with the car wasn't going to pick my mess up, so we went to plan B.
As I eased the front of the car towards a ditch, Keith drove his truck down the road to a culvert, crossed over and backed up to the car.
We wrapped a chain around his rear bumper and our front bumper. We both eased forward a bit, and when I was over the ditch, the spare went on. I don't remember much adult conversation on the way home, or for several weeks afterwards, which probably was for the best.