Tears and Laughter: When gobbling makes you giggle, remember…

I am going to say this openly, and then I expect for there not to be anybody out in the backyard yelping later this afternoon, but…this morning while I was feeding the dogs I heard a turkey gobble.

This reminded me of my daddy. He has always had a strong appreciation for spring turkey season.

He did gave me the opportunity to go with him sometimes when I was growing up, but that did not always go so well because of my having what he described as, “an unusual sense of humor.”

He would pick me up after school and we would stop by Nathan Stephens’ Grocery where I would get Jungle Juice and plain potato chips for the ride out to where he would hunt. We would take dirt roads as far as they would take us, and then we would walk.

The walking wasn’t a problem. It was the not talking once we made it to the bottom of the hollow and sat against a tree that I wasn’t good at. We would sit there all quiet and he would yelp a little and then he would listen intently and usually, I would start giggling.

I never went on any morning hunts, but morning hunts were more serious. Morning hunts meant preparation the night before. He and my brother would often get cranked up at the same time practicing their yelping and clucking and purring.

Then he would go to great extremes to lay out everything he would need for the next morning’s hunt. He would have camouflage clothes and extra shells and would go ahead and fix the coffeepot so it would be ready and waiting. He would streamline the effort as to be able to get on his way as quietly and quickly as possible.

The weather is another issue that is of huge important to a man the night before a turkey hunt. One of the great mysteries of my years in Sandflat was why Daddy would check the wind direction in the front yard and then walk through the house to the backyard and check it there too.

The weather report would air at a quarter past 5:00, 6:00 and 10:00 pm. He would watch all three and trust none.

It would take a few days before the full effects of sleep deprivation began to take hold. Bedtime would become whatever time he finished supper and got still. We knew to wake him in time for the last weather forecast.

I would hear him again early, trying to be quiet.

Turkey hunters are not always that capable of being quiet early in the mornings. And even though they try not to, they usually forget something they have to turn around and go back for, like their keys, or their coffee.

I never let him know I was awake, but I would watch as his taillights disappeared down the driveway and listen until the sound of his truck was gone. I would pray for his safety, before drifting back to sleep.

I think of him every time I hear a turkey gobble and smile.

I wonder if every time he hears one he thinks of my giggling.

Amanda Walker is a columnist with The West Al. Watchman, Al.com, The Thomasville Times, and The Wilcox Progressive Era – https://www.facebook.com/AmandaWalker.Columnist.