The reward came with the big meal we found on the table. The farm products were exhibited in all their splendor. The chickens were baked and the big pan of dressing added. All kinds of canned veggies were brought forth. The crowning touch of all of it was Mama’s big dishpan-sized fruit cake that I have written about many times. It was mellowed by the slice apples piled over its top and carefully tended by mother.
May God bless you and your families with health and happiness as we look forward to a New Year. Alabama weather at one time was much colder than now. In the early to mid-1900, snow was a common sight. One year, there was a very deep snow on the ground when we got out of bed. Soon after breakfast, my brothers prepared for a rabbit hunt. I entered the activities and trailed along. We all tied “tow sacks” around our legs to keep the snow out of our shoes. We went up the road toward Guthrie Cemetery. My brothers watched for tracks in the snow and spotted a lone rabbit’s tracks leading to a tree. On close examination, they found the tree had a hole low in the trunk, and was hollow. The rabbit had gone into the hole for warmth and safety.
They beat on the side and shook the tree trying to scare the rabbit out of his hole. That did not work. Elbert found a stick and he worked it upward in the hole and cupped his hand around it and began twisting. He gave the stick a quick jerk and out came the rabbit with its fur caught on the stick.It jumped up running. We all chased it and it went into a metal culvert under the road.
One brother got on one end and stayed out of sight with his stick lifted ready to strike.The rest of us set up a war cry on the other end, all the while beating the metal with sticks. The poor critter ran out the end away from our noise and got clobbered by Elbert on the other side. Into the sack it went and away we ran searching for more to add to the sack.
We then went into a field that had a small stream of water (country kids call it a branch) that had a wild growth of blackberry vines and weeds surrounding it. The snow was soft and fluffy and was on top of the growth and under the vines was a series of caverns that made a good hiding place.
We tracked the rabbits into the vines, but they could scoot for a long ways without getting on top of the snow to make tracks. We soon gave up on that patch.
I got so cold that I lost interest, but not my brothers! The thought of Mama’s good rabbit stew made with onions, potatoes, and sage sent them on to add to the one rabbit in the sack. Hungry boys knew how many it would take to feed the big family. They would return from the hunt, skin the rabbits and bring them into the house ready for the pot.