Mountain Man Who Spoon Fed Grouse
It all began with a conversation
with an old mountain man.There I was in the seventh grade boy scout troop packed
in for the Boy Scout jamboree in the back 100 acres of Flat Rock Farm.We had
just broke camp on a warm September evening.Down the Canasaraga trail came this
sturdy mountain man .He wore a coon skin cap that really looked more like rabbit fur and a deer skin outfit, that was ruggedly
complimented by a pair of dead grouse tied to his belt with twine.He had a full
white beard and puffed gently on his pipe as he pointed out flock of geese headed south.
“See them geese?” He Said
at the interesting creature that stood before me as I glanced vacantly into the horizon.What he had pointed out was a flock that was drafting air current that seemed to be hundreds of feet in the air.How he saw something so small through his thick film glasses was beyond me.
YOU know why one side of the v is longer than the other boy?
N,n,no sir ,I don’t .I replied anxiously.
It just because there is more geese on that side!
We all chuckled.It was a good ice breaker, seeing how his uniform was a bit different than ours, and his age dwarfed that of our den
leader, Tony.Was it possible that such a man was what we all aspired to graduate
too.How could this be?The cold
hard fact was that it was the truth.
The grouse he had tied to his side were nothing like anything I had ever seen before.They were the size of small chickens. He must have been a heck of a shot not only get two grouse but because he was
carrying a flint locked muzzleloader over his shoulder.In my few years in the
woods you were lucky to flush feet away let alone get one.Just then I see him pull Tony aside and whispered in his ear.
Psst, caught em screwin’.Dumb things were stuck together like a
pair of robins takin’ a dirt bath.Walked right up on `m and rung their
necks.Tony had every thing he could do from spitting his campfire coffee all
Hey kiddo, ya know how I got me these two grouse???
N,nno ssir, how?
the were, two uv’m plum sit n there up in the branches of that ol hollow beech tree, recon maybe they were makin gum,
anyway I couldn’t decide which one to shoot.My ol trusty round ball is
only good fer one shot at a time, and unless I scared the other one to death with my cloud a powder, I’d only get one.So there was only one thing to do.”
that I replied.”
“I had to suck the ball back outa the barrel
with out takin’ the powder with it.Takes some practice but it can be done.Just have to make sure to stop it with your toung’r, it’ll break all yer
teeth out fer sure.O ya and yer gonna want to make sure to take yer flint out
too, or you’ll have an awful mess on yer hands if she decides to go off.”
“Then what, I asked, as peered through the film of his specs, into his beady eyes.
Then you pull out yer ball splitter, it,s about 7
tools in on yer Eagle Scout Edition Swiss Army Knife. Twist three time, packer back in, test da Kentucky
windage, an whammo, you’ll have double bird stew wid one pull a da trigger.Don’t
worry kid it’s in the book.”
That old mountain man wandered off through the goldenrod and parted the evening fog until I could see him no more.Legend has it that he still lives in the hills of Perryville inside a cavern of limestone,
living solely on grouse, pine pitch, and brook trout.To this day when I walk
the trails of FlatRockPark,
I can feel those cold beady eyes watching me.