Following is a text message I just received, bringing back memories of squirrel hunting in mulberry season. We will just call it “Paw and me.” It came from Mike Hardy out in western Kentucky.
“My ‘Paw’, Doug Hardy, was my first hunting partner and he was my granddad, my dad’s father. I have never seen any hunter, before or after, who had the passion for squirrel hunting as did Paw. He loved mulberry season and never missed a day.
“I recall he would bring home with 50 to 60 squirrels every mulberry season. Paw was a crack shot with his .22 rifle and used .22 shots. He always shot for the head.
“I was five years when I started hunting with Paw. I still remember getting up well before daylight, sitting around the old kitchen table, eating a breakfast next to him, and talking about where he thought we could get a mess of squirrels. I never remember him failing. He would pour me a cup of coffee; it made me feel like I was really grown up. The time would come and we would load up in the old pickup and head into the woods.
“Paw was a farmer and owned outright 400 acres and leased many more, so finding a place to hunt wasn’t a problem. The thought of killing squirrels with Paw never really crossed my mind; it was just being alone with him in our own little world. I always got to carry the rifle, which also really made me feel grown.
“We would hunt until around 11 a. m. and head back home. My dad would be there. He would clean our mess of squirrels, Mother would cook them, and we would have a feast. My Paw has long left us, but the days I spent with him will live forever. Making memories, just Paw and me, hunting squirrels during mulberry season.
“I want to thank The Mountain Eagle, you Steve Brewer, and anybody who is a Struttin’ Time reader for giving people like me a chance to reflect on our past.”