I met Bill after I moved to Southeast Texas. From early fall until hunting season ended, Bill spent his weekends in the Big Thicket. I knew if I ever wanted to spend any time with him, I would have to go hunting. After all, most of the men I knew loved to hunt. I needed to know why.
“I want to go hunting with you tomorrow,” I said one Friday night.
“Are you sure you can handle it? It’s pretty rugged out there.”
“Sure. It’ll be a piece of cake.”
We left too early the next morning. Bill told me to take a shower without soap and not to put on any makeup, powder or perfume before we left. The animals would smell it, and they would not come out. I did just that, although I really felt uncomfortable about it. I had never been without any makeup in front of a guy before. And no deodorant? Well, that was a sticky situation.
I pulled down my baseball cap, so that maybe some of my face would be covered. With rubber boots slipping on my heels, I trudged through the underbrush of the Texas Piney Woods and tried to keep up with Bill.
It was a chilly autumn morning. The woods were very thick and difficult to maneuver through. The moon was full, and it provided enough light for me to see where I was going. I had to keep my hands in front of my face so the tree branches would not slap me. Huge banana spiders were everywhere scaring me half to death. I would quickly jump away to avoid their sticky webs, cursing myself the whole time about what I had gotten myself into. I was falling behind.
Bill was walking like a New Yorker trying to catch a subway. I was so focused on what was right in front of me, that I suddenly tripped on some underbrush and fell hard to the ground. My nails were broken, my jeans dirty and I ached all over. I quickly got back up.
“Bill, wait up,” I finally called out.
He stopped abruptly, turned around and glared at me.
“Be quiet! You are not to say one word out here, okay? The noise will scare the animals off.”
“I’m sorry!” I said defensively. “How was I to know? You made me fall, you were going so fast.”
I did not understand what the fuss was all about.
“If you fall, I’ll hear a thud and turn around. You don’t have to scream,” Bill said.
How could he be so insensitive? I mean really, most girls would never set foot out here. He should feel grateful that I’m willing to do this. Men!
Suddenly I heard the sound of animals running, hooves beating the ground. I could hear them coming, panting and rushing through the woods. The noise was getting louder and faster.
What kind of animals would be running through the forest so early in the morning?
Bill turned to me and shouted, “Hurry! Find a tree and get your feet off the ground.”
I could not believe what was happening; it was all so fast. I jumped the nearest tree, pulled my legs up as high as I could and turned to look just in time to see a herd of wild hogs. There must have been at least twenty of them. They shot by so quickly I barely had a chance to see them. Thankfully, they were gone as fast as they came. I turned to Bill.
“What just happened here?” I screamed.
Bill started laughing. “That expression on your face is priceless. Come on down from that tree; it’s okay. Those hogs won’t be back for a while.”
He continued to laugh as he helped me down. I was trembling with fear, but I did not want Bill to know how scared I really was so I attempted to laugh, too.
“Are we done yet?” I asked hopefully.
“No. We ain’t seen any deer yet. Come on. My deer stand is right over there.”
Cursing under my breath, I followed Bill through more tangled branches and spider webs to the deer stand. We sat there in silence for a few long hours and waited for the deer to come out. None ever did. I made a vow never to go hunting again.
Causes Laurie Kolp Supports
Humane Society, March of Dimes, Red Cross