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Tuesday, August 26, 2008 

Fred and the Coyote

Uncle Fred sat in his rocker in his house beside the barrel stove he used for heat. His foot neatly in a cast was toasting nicely in the heat of the stove. Atop his cast was a red stocking cap after all it was the Christmas season.
The cast was a gift from me to him, or so was his ongoing claim. Truthfully he fell off of his old pickup truck while cutting mistletoe out of an oak tree for me to sell at the local feed store. He was not pleased with me at the moment, but with the aid of a quart of home brew he was sleeping well.

As I walked the old road to his house pulling a little red wagon my mother had loaded with food for Fred, I saw a coyote. He could not see me as I was walking in the deep ditch only my head was exposed. It was lots easier to avoid getting hit by a car, or beaten senseless by the Bickerstaff boys, if you could dive into a ditch at a moments notice, granted it was difficult pulling a wagon but I was 13 what do you expect. The coyote was running as if he were late for an appointment with his sweetie. He did not see the mail truck coming and was run over. This is very unusual for coyotes. They are usually very solitary animals and would not venture near the road; also this road only saw a motorized vehicle once a day on a good day, this must be a dumb coyote.

I walked up to the Coyote and noticed that, other than a little blood around its mouth it was in great shape. My plan was to give the Coyote to Uncle Fred, he could sell the hide and would not be mad at me any more. I loaded the Coyote up into the wagon and drug it along.

When I got to Fred’s house he was asleep in his rocker his foot propped on his kitchen table snoring blissfully, his wood stove was popping and sizzling and a pot of coffee was warming atop.

I decided that a great surprise for Fred would be for me to put the coyote on the table so he would be able to see it when he woke up. As is the nature of 13-year-old boys, I decided that it looked to dead just lying there so I picked up a box of wooden matches and put them under his chin. The coyote still looked to dead, so I took two matches and put them under his lips on each side so that he had the look of a snarl. I wanted Fred to be surprised so I went outside to wait and see how surprised he would be.

I went outside and started whittling a stick, as was my common practice.
Soon I heard the sounds of surprise, it manifested itself in the form of profanity. I shall paraphrase it for the sake of our more gentle readers.

“What in all tarnation dingbat dang, aaaaaggghhh get away from Meeeee you unpolished son of an English muffin”.

Then the door burst open Fred was on crutches they looked like a windmill in a tornado. He shot straight out of his shack and straight into his outhouse. There he stood peering out of the Half moon window on the door, his stocking hat covered toe hanging out the door.

Then, to my great surprise, out walked the coyote. He was chewing on a match, shaking his head. Either trying to shake off a bad headache, or in wonder of the spectacle he had just beheld.

It was about that time that I remembered that I had matters of great concern that required my immediate attention elsewhere. So I left.

Fred, not being one to appreciate a 13-year-old boy releasing a live coyote into the shack of an old man with a broken leg, was not quick to forgive me.

But as we all know time heals all wounds and soon we were hunting together again. But he always made me walk in front of him from then on.

Snagley out..