Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Ever Elusive

This past Friday was my little sister Tater's 34th birthday. Mom, Pops, Tater, her beau and the Tots came out Saturday evening to ride 4-wheelers and whack around on a few golf balls. The original plan had been to play Redneck Croquet and smack around on the golf balls while on the 4-wheelers, but it was so dastardly hot and Abby had been sick and we just didn't put too much effort into the outdoor activities that night. Abby was still pretty weak and she'd have been disappointed if she hadn't been able to play.

(Anyone else think Sam looks more like he's trying out for a baseball team than hitting a golf ball?)

While we were watching Pops and Paul teach the boys how to hit those itty bitty orange balls with those long, skinny poles on the redneck driving range (one flag in the middle of the field, mowed weekly with the brush hog and the kids earn money finding balls by driving the 4-wheelers out in the field - who needs a country club?) one of the adults suggested we take the kids snipe hunting.

If you're from Oklahoma you are probably grinning right now because you yourself went snipe hunting when you were a kid, right? And snipe aren't indigenous to Oklahoma only - I hear Missourians hunt 'em, too.

Instantly the four youngest kids were interested and excited. BJ, Tater's beau, took them out to find sticks to tap together to call in the elusive, mysterious snipe. I grabbed the camera. (Stay hooked. The first part is hard to hear, but it gets louder.)


They didn't rustle up any snipe in that first pre-dark attempt, but they did scare up some chiggers as you can see by the way Sam was digging at his ankles.

Finally at dark BJ and I headed toward the hay bales with four kids and their sticks. He was totally making it exciting for the kids, saying he heard one, whispering, "Was that a snipe? Did you see that?" and I was just praying a possum, raccoon or snake didn't cross my path because it would've been so embarrassing to pee my pants in front of Tater's beau.

After a few minutes BJ grabbed a paper grocery sack out of one of the kids' hands and took off running. He threw himself on the ground and in a flurry of noise, grunting and wrestling, jumped up and declared, "I GOT ONE!" The kids cheered, Tater and I hid our giggles as the kids ran out to see what was in the sack. Pops came out and asked BJ if he could see inside the sack. He instantly withdrew his hand and said, "OW it bit me! Oh wow....I'm bleeding kids. You need to be really careful. It's an angry snipe."

That's when Kady started crying.

Mom came out to see to Pop's "bleeding" finger while Kady all but climbed up my body in an attempt to keep herself off the ground and away from any wandering snipe that might find her toes a tasty snack. After all the grownups looked in the sack it was decided it was a baby snipe and should be let go because the momma might get really mad we'd kidnapped its baby.

That's when Kady's crying turned into hysterical wailing and screaming.

That's also when Abby took Kady inside and assured her that Pops was okay. (Moments after they got inside Abby sent me a text that said, "Please can I tell Kady what's going on. She has a nosebleed she's so upset." Ahh...compassionate big sister.)

BJ "let" the snipe "go" and we were going to go in the house for drinks and air conditioning when Pops whispered to Tater and I that Paul had changed into a dark shirt and had snuck out back to scare the kids. We relayed that info on to BJ who then decided we needed to catch another one. He rallied the remaining troops and off they went again toward the hay bales in the field. We tried a snipe "call" thinking Paul would return the call, but we found out later that while we were calling, he was trying to untangle himself from a batch of blackberry briars out behind the barn and hadn't even made it to the hay bales yet.

Finally after some calling and stick tapping (and wondering on my part if my husband had been eaten by a cougar) the kids, in a tight walking huddle, rounded the side of a hay bale and all we heard over by the fence was RAWR! IIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!! and then the sound of six feet running toward us. We were all doubled over laughing and the snipe were forgotten.

Back inside we treated everyone who had chigger bites and Paul put alcohol on his briar scratches and the mystery of snipe hunting was revealed. Unlike all of us grownups who, too, had gone on our own childhood snipe hunts, our children, however, did not laugh when they realized they had just spent over an hour in a field hunting a bird that wasn't there, tapping on sticks, imitating their call and believing they were about to gain a new pet. They sulled up and pouted and one cried. They called us "mean". They said we were "horrible".

We adults were all able to recall our very own snipe hunting experience and told our stories. The children were not amused. They asked how we could lie to them like that.

I shrugged and said, "It was pretty easy, actually. And someday you'll see just how easy when you take your own kids snipe hunting."

They all agreed they would never do such a thing.

But something tells me ..... when my grandkids are about 11 or so we'll hold a new generation of snipe hunting and the legend will live on.

Here's hoping, anyway.


Cap'n Neurotic said...

I never got asked to go snipe hunting -- and if I had, then an episode of Cheers I had seen would have warned me off of it. I do remember a certain classmate of mine being nicknamed Snipe for a while due to getting roped into a snipe hunt.

Hillbilly Mom said...

Allow me to play fact-checker and confirm that we do, indeed, snipe hunt in Missouri. When we're not on the national news for doing something stupider.

We're also open to a rousing game of 52-Card Pick-Up.

Word Verification: pewoom
Where the little kids go potty.

We....the people

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