That is the best dam coke I have ever had. I didn’t even know you could still get bottled cokes. The front door opened and closed. More people gathered in the foyer to pay their last respects and sign the book as if the deceased will ever read it. Cancer sucks.
The driveway up to the house was beautiful. It was lined with pine trees and created a canopy only allowing the most beautiful array of lights in. At the end of this rainbow tunnel, a beautiful one story white traditional house appeared with the perfect porch to relax and drink ice tea. Four antique white rocking chairs on the porch with three fans running to keep the gnats away. Gnats in Georgia are awful. If you have an open crevice, they will find it. I hate gnats.
“Bubba," a voice from the distance barked. “Please bring in more drinks.” He disappeared for a few moments and reappeared with two cases of ice cold bottled cokes. He placed them in the cooler and hung a can opener from the side. These splendid drinks seemed to disappear faster than the homemade peanut brittle that cousin Bobo would take and hide. Good ‘ol Bobo wasn't really good at much but he could man up and eat like a bull and hunt.
The family sat around and visited for a while to pay respects to Uncle Henry. I overheard a person say 57 is too young; he had at least 20 good years left. His wife Sue was holding herself together well but you could see it in her eyes the devastation of losing the love of your life. Did I tell you that cancer sucks?
I am the outsider in this southern family. I married into it. I am a Yankee Jew/born again Christian. Yankee is the term that southerners call northerners who transplant to the South. I married a beautiful girl from Dothan, Alabama. I love her so much; I went with her Dad to his momma’s house and actually ate brains and eggs to get the girl. I even had seconds.
As the gathering settled down, my brother-in-law Jimbo came looking for me—he has 5 kids all about 18 months apart and nobody will say it but they sure can knock out them kids. This family is as southern as they get but ethnically diverse. Jimbo married a Puerto Rican woman, Lainy (my wife) married a born-again Jew, and Maggie, her sister, married an options trader that can fish.
Jimbo glanced at me to come outside. I followed him. "Bubba needs to let out some steam tonight. Want to drink beer and do some hunting?"
"Sure,” I said. “What are we hunting for?"
“Bubba and I are going shoot some deer tonight. You comin?”
“You bet. You think we will see deer?” Secretly, I was hoping that we wouldn’t but I had to act enthusiastic.
“Oh yea,” Jimbo said. “You have never seen what we are about to show you.”
Now let me tell you a little about my hunting skills. I didn’t shoot a shotgun until I was 30 years old and I was forced to take the hunter safety course first with 12 year olds. I have gone duck hunting and dove hunting only. I can hit dove but not as good as Jimbo or cousin Bobo. One time when I was hunting with Bobo during Thanksgiving break, he told me to be still and not move. I swear he shot that shot gun 2 inches from my face to kill a dove. I still yell at him about that to this day.
Now Jimbo, he is the Rambo of hunting. If it is an animal, he can kill it. And Bubba, he is the crocodile hunter reincarnated. He has no fear. When he was younger he would catch live rattlesnakes at 6 dollars a foot. When that got boring, he captured alligators with his bare hands. These days he is running down hogs.
The plan was to go at sundown to the plantation where Bubba worked after dark. Our first stop was to buy a case of beer to help him drown his sorrows. He lost his Dad young. Cancer Sucks. Next, we went to the armory to pick up weapons which just happened to be Bubba's house. He had a floor length banker’s safe in his dining room full of weapons. We grabbed some handguns and rifles when I heard him say, "Grab the spotlight” to Jimbo.
In my naivety, I asked “what is the spotlight for?”
“It is to shine on the deer before we shoot them you dumb Yankee,” Bubba said.
We jumped in the truck and headed towards the plantation. Since I had no plans on shooting a deer, I decided I would hold the spotlight. We slowly moved the truck up and down the dirt roads of the plantation stopping every so often when we saw a tiny animal. Bubba’s window would roll down, a hand gun would pop-out of the window and a dead raccoon or squirrel could be seen in the distance. The truck would stop for longer periods of time to drink some beers and tell stories about Uncle Henry. In the distance we finally found some deer with the spotlight. Quietly and swiftly, Jimbo lined up the shot and the echo reverberated throughout the air. A loud THUMP could be heard.
“It is a kill shot,” Jimbo shouted.
Did I tell you I hate drinking beer and shooting deer? It is going to be a long night but I love my southern family.