Possumhaw: Fall weekends in the Prairie

October 29, 2012 9:56:31 AM

Shannon Bardwell - [email protected]


Sam started his list of "honey-dos" and was soon dangling on the roof of the greenhouse. "Stay right there," I hollered; I ran to the house, leaving him hanging. 


I returned with a bath mat and hurled it up at him. He crawled over to the mat with his fingers clinging to the sharp metal edges of the ridge cap. "That's good," he said. "I think that'll hold me." 


Lee Hatcher built the greenhouse one summer. We appreciate Lee a lot more seeing it's almost November and the tin still boils, the pitch is steep and the edges are razor sharp.  


The greenhouse needed more clear panels to maximize sunlight and increase growing capacity. Sam was kind enough to agree to add the panels. Then he was on to the rest of the list. 


At day's end, we were sitting in the hunting house with a thermos of coffee, waiting for the deer. Each evening at twilight the deer graze and migrate southward. They appear in small numbers, threes and fours, some fawns. There are mornings between 7 and 8 a.m. that we see the deer drifting northward. Why this migration habit? To where do they go and to where do they return? 


We stay until we can no longer see and walk back to the Prairie house, where Sam settles in for a few hours of televised MSU football. I prepare dinner while listening to his running commentary of the Dawgs' defense and offense. I like to point out that two years ago, though not a football aficionado, I picked out quarterback Tyler Russell as my favorite and now others are seeing what I saw in that wholesome-looking face. 


The weekend was gorgeous; I can hardly soak enough of it in. So after Sunday church when Sam suggested we go crappie fishing, I agreed.  


Just between you and me, I don't care for crappie fishing, but I'm sure that Sam doesn't care for hanging from a hot tin roof either. It was payback time, and besides, it would be beautiful on the river. 


The river was quiet and the trees were stunning. There were great blue herons and egrets, a woodpecker, chickadees, a red bird and a bushy-tailed fox squirrel that barked and swished his tail at who knows what. 


It was a good fishing day for Sam and the best yet for me, which is not saying much. I only got hung up twice and was able to free myself. I caught a few white bass, which we flipped back into the river. I caught a couple of crappie. I seem to win the prize for smallest fish, while Sam always gets the most and biggest. 


Fishing boats passed and I muttered to Sam, "I know, we didn't catch nuthin' on nuthin.'" 


On the way home Chuck Younger saw us passing the barn and called, hoping for a mess of crappie -- but Robert Hunt had already called dibs on them at church.

Shannon Rule Bardwell is a Southern writer living quietly in the Prairie.