The experts say that I live in the area where ravens can be found in this country. Over the years, I thought that I’d seen a few, always one at a time. The ragged-looking crows seemed slightly larger than normal, so I wondered if I was looking at a raven, but I never knew for sure. Lately, I’ve been hearing a crow near my home that seems to have a sore throat. His (her?) voice seems lower and a little raspy. At the dump the other day, however, there was no doubt in my mind. While crows were all around, three of their larger cousins sat on a yard-high ridge of red clay and croaked at one another as they watched me drive by in the dump truck. I wouldn’t have had time for a shot, even if I’d had my camera, but they were RAVENS, by golly. Thankfully, they weren’t rapping at my chamber door.
Yesterday morning, on a long, straight section of roadway a few miles up the Ohio from my home town, I saw a young groundhog quickly scoot out to the center of the highway and lay down to sun himself. I knew what he was doing from being around animals, both wild and domestic, all my life. He drug his rear legs out behind him and splayed his front legs to make the maximum contact with the sun-warmed pavement, after exiting his cool den and waddling through the damp grass. The problem was, he was laying just on my side of the center line, and where my wheels would pass, unless he moved. There no cars behind me and no cars ahead of as far as the eye could see. So, I did what any self-respecting, animal-loving truck driver would do—I laid on the air horn. MY but he was a fast little feller! I have to wonder, now, how many groundhogs meet their demise simply because they take a minute to warm their dew-cooled bellies on the sun-warmed asphalt of some country road.
After cashing my check yesterday evening, I went to the pawn shop and picked up my last gun that was in hock. It tells the story that I’ve been working nearly 10 months and have just now been able to reclaim my deer rifle. Trying to catch up from over a year with no work, and low hours this winter didn’t help any. I paid out more money that the rifle was worth, to keep from losing it, but it’s set up just the way I like it, and I’d never bother to get another. So I did the illogical and kept paying their 20% interest per month and paying on the principle until it got down low enough that I felt I could afford to pick it up. I won’t miss seeing the place.
That rifle was the one that sat in the corner all year, except for the day that it would fire one shot and put a deer in the freezer. Then it would go back to the corner (after cleaning, of course). That went on for about five years, until I quit bothering to shoot a deer at all. Still, it feels good to have it back. © 2015