The Hunt

By Bill Shepard

A person can learn a lot from a good hound dog!

A long time ago, too long some folk would say, some hunters set out to find the truth. Some folk had accused the Russians of interfering with America’s business of electing a President and seemed determined to learn if was true or not. The hounds of Washington were called out and the hunt began.

It has been more than a year since the search for the truth began. The hounds seemingly sniffed out the truth in a short time and reported that “yes” the Russians had interfered, and would most likely do so again. So, what are you doing about it? So far, nothing!

The President is well into his second year in office and is busy trying to change for better the way the country has been operated by other Presidents. He has found a lot of support in his effort to do so. It seems a lot of folk are unhappy with the direction our nation is headed.

The President said that he was gonna “drain the swamp” in Washington! Just what he meant by that phrase, “drain the swamp,” I don’t know. Having been raised just a good hand­ throw from a big swamp I do know a few things about swamps. I learned that the more you stir about in one the muddier they become! I learned that the more you go in search of one of the swamp creatures, the more you stir up those you were not looking for! First thing you know is that there are swamp creatures appearing all over the place! Since the President set out to drain the swamp, the hounds have flushed out of hiding all kinds of swamp creatures! Some, no one knew existed before the hunt began.

My brother was the hunter in our family, and I liked it when he told some things he had learned from his hunting dogs. Like I said at the beginning, a man can learn a lot from a good hound dog. My brother would come home from the mill where he worked and turn his dogs loose and they would head for the swamp with a bark I didn’t know which enjoyed the hunt most, my brother or his dogs! My brother worked the second shift at the mill. At ten o’clock I would already be in bed but I would hear the hounds and the sound of their barking as they were headed towards the swamp. My brother would sit on the back porch and put on his boots before following his dogs to the swamp. The boots were protection from the poisonous snakes that were plentiful in the big swamp. Once the hunt began it could last for the duration of the night. Sometimes it would be daylight before my brother would return home.

My brother often said that the makings of a good hound dog was that once on a trail he would stay there until the hunted was up a tree. His term for that was “treed!” When that happened the hound would sit at the base of the tree and let out a different sound of bark until the hunter arrived and took charge of the hunt. Often, if the dogs had chased a wise old raccoon up a tree there would be a nasty fight ahead. The raccoon would jump from the tree and challenge the dog or dogs that would be ready for the fight. The fight could be fierce and the fight could be bloody. My brother’s hounds had the scars to prove they had engaged in a lot of fights. The hides that were hanging on my Dad’s old car shed bore the evidence of the winners and losers.

Just how the “hunt” that is going on with the hounds of Washington will end is yet to be seen. Just about every time I turn my TV on, the hounds have flushed out another swamp creature! So the hunt continues! The search for “truth” goes on!

My question is will we recognize the truth if it is found? Since the effort to drain the swamp began there have been so many creatures flushed out of hiding! Meanwhile the hunt goes on! The swamp gets muddier as the drain continues.

Next time,
Bill Shepard

Mr. Shepard is a native of Darlington, S.C., and a current resident of Piedmont, S.C. He is the author of “Mill Town Boy” and “Bruised”. He has been sharing his tales of growing up in Darlington for decades, and we are delighted to share them each week.

His mailing address for cards and letters is: Bill Shepard 324 Sunny Lane, Piedmont, S.C. 29673.

Author: Rachel Howell

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