Spring is in the air. I can smell it, taste it, feel it, but more importantly, I heard it — the gobble of some big long beards. While standing in, well let’s say an unknown area in Letcher County, the big boys where bellowing last week.
My spirits lifted when I saw a nice one of them with about a nine-inch beard, and my thoughts flashed back to my first hunt. It was the first year turkey season opened in Kentucky, my best friend Leonard Fleming and I hit the area of Pine Mountain known as Jenkins Mountain. We went in on the side right across from Fishpond Lake. We arrived around 4 a.m. to start our long trip to the top. Although it was April, a snow had started to fall, but we were young and we thought fairly fit, so on we went. Theday broke to one of our worst snowstorms ever.
At the Little Shepherd Chapter dinner earlier this month, Leonard was there with his son, Ross. Leonard put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Wouldn’t it be nice it we could walk to the top of Jenkins Mountain again?” The memories, the laughs, and a renewed hope came across me, like standing under a waterfall in the middle of a forest. You see this man, Leonard Fleming, who has logged more miles hunting with me than anyone is now on oxygen. Working underground in the mines for many years has taken his lungs.
My memory went to the days of our youth. Leonard’s wife Norma has fixed me more meals than my own mother, has treated me better that a sister, and still cans vegetables for me right today. I understand she is also sick, and is almost homebound. Leonard and Norma will celebrate their 48th wedding day this month. I wish them God’s blessing. I need to get by and see them. The cathead biscuits with gravy and sausage that Norma fixes is the best. I love Leonard and Norma Fleming. Both of them are the greatest.
I went to visit my longtime friend Rex Polly last week in Pikeville Hospitial just before he died. I was able to spend time with his lovely wife Lucille and son Mick. They were crushed. My thoughts are with them.