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Pretty doggone good story

I have, indeed, written on occasions about dogs, and how I have loved the dogs in my life since that first one came my way on the day of my birth, although none more than my present Yellow Lab, Bama Bear Boggs.

I have to go back in my writing more than 10 years right after I had a conversation with Bo McAlpine about those old Coon On The Log dog contests, and he commenced to tell me about a fellow who had a raccoon in a live trap. Bo asked the fellow how come he didn’t eat that critter, to which the man replied that neither he nor his wife knew how to cook it, so Bo served up the meal for that family. Bo explained to me that those animals were so tough you had to boil ‘em up a storm to make ‘em tender, after which you put those varmints on a hot charcoal grill. I took Bo’s word for it, and let it go.

I do recollect a time back in the ‘50s when my brother, Billy, came in late one evening from over around Indian Mounds, hauling a beaver he had caught on the Bogue. Daddy was barbequing something on the grill, so Billy partly skinned that rodent, cut off a hunk, and laid it on the grill. I don’t think anybody took a bite. I know I didn’t.

You’ve heard me lament about missing hearing a whole passel of hounds running and baying after a deer the way it used to be. Blue Ticks, Red Bones, Walkers, and even those short legged Beagles that were always getting tangled up in the bushes and the briars, but still staying on the trail.

Never will forget when Sambo Jones brought some fellow from outer town with a truck full of Beagles down to the Old Linden Hunting Club down on the Cox Place. They turned those hounds out one Saturday, and commenced to shooting cane cutter rabbits over that pack of dogs. I reckon it was two or three years later before we started seeing anymore rabbits after that day of hunting.

Some things stay close to the same, even in this topsy turvy world we have these days. When I was a boy, we could hear the train from our house in Linden Town, and we always had dogs outside that would bay at that choo choo train. Although it is not a smoke stack engine anymore, the train track is close to this house in Demopolis, and until he died a couple of years ago, Alice and I had a lovable, fat old Basset hound, given to us by Bo McAlpine, by the way. Droopy would flat let out some mournful howls when he heard that train. Makes me chuckle to think about it. I wrote a column about Christmas dog poo some years back, and I used a picture of that long eared, droopy eyed dog, which added some extra good humor to that story.

Now, mind you, when I write and talk about a dog baying, I’m not referring to infernal, constant barking. I can’t abide a danged ol’ barking dog, especially those little bitty ones with the shrill voices that just go right through ya seems like. I’m just natural born talking ‘bout hunting dogs, when you’d see a hound sniffing at a trail, and all of a sudden like, that dog commences to letting out those deep melodious tones that sort of make you tingle in your spine. The chase is on, and if that hound ran a wounded deer to ground, you could tell from his changed tone of baying that he had that buck stopped, and was calling for somebody to come over there quick.

I haven’t cared to shoot a deer in many and many a year, but I can guarantee ya I’ll never get tired of listening to those down in the throat prolonged musical sounds coming from the deep woods full of one, two or even three hound dogs doing their duty, loving it, and making folks who heard it love it, too. Whoooooo.

— Tom Boggs is a columnist for the Demopolis Times and a native of Marengo County. His column,“Days Gone Bye,” appears weekly.

(This article originally appeared in the Wednesday, May 15 issue of the Demopolis Times.)