Summer comes early in Alabama. But it shouldn’t come in December.
In late December, Dr. Jimmy “Doc” Morris and I went to White Oak Plantation.
For me, it was a bit of a homecoming. I had been there off and on for over 30 years.
Doc had never killed a deer. For him, it was the opportunity for a quality, trophy hunt.
But it was in the high-seventies during the day and mid-sixties at night. It was either drizzling or raining. You could not have asked for worse weather. I never quit sweating. I never unzipped my gun case.
Yet, for me, it was a great visit. One much needed.
I don’t know who all was there. With the Pitmans, you need a score card to keep up with them.
Kids, grandkids, great-grandkids, nieces, nephews and dogs. I guess, in total, maybe 20 family members. Some I had known since they were in diapers. Some, I had never met. It was good.
And there was Addis and Tiny Dog-my new best friends.
I was not well. I fished a little, enough to put together a couple meals of fillets. I could only fish 30-45 minutes before the pain became unbearable.
Then, Robert and I sat in rocking chairs and explored memories from 30 years of history.
The one that kept coming up, was the time, a young guide and I ran down and disarmed a poacher. The young guide did not realize the poacher had a rifle. When the poacher, a professional wanted in several states, turned to shoot, he twisted his ankle and fell.
I never gave him a chance to get up. But that is another story. We took him into custody. That, and many other memories were relived.
Doc hunted every morning and afternoon. He could have killed a deer or two. His reason for not doing so, made perfect sense.
“I had no reason to," he said. Only a few of you readers will understand that.
An adopted member of the Pitman family, Florella Crouch, from Georgia, killed a nice eight-point and a doe.
Other than that, not a shot was fired. And for three days, I never quit sweating.
One morning, maybe about 1:30, with thunder rumbling in the distance, I sat on the porch, outside my room, trying to cool off.
I thought of all the days, over 30 years I had spent at White Oak.
I thought of all the love that had been shown me. I thought of the “discussions” I had with sponsors and hunters.
I remembered the button buck I shot on purpose because a hunter had belittled a young boy for killing one. I thought of the many women who had come for the Does and Bows Hunt -- a bow hunt for women only.
I thought…just how much the Pitman family and White Oak had impacted my life.
Yes, in many ways…the important ways, it was a great trip. I hope, by next May, I am able to return again -- to fish.