I was four years old when I got my first bow and arrow. My best friend Eric Judy and I got bows and arrows and the complementary Indian feather headdress Back in the day, a bow and arrow and cap gun were standard operating procedure in a boy’s trip to manhood. Of course, I was a “bad boy” (nothing has changed) and I took the suction cups off my arrows and sharpened the tip! My dad was a hunter and we ate venison, rabbit, and even gator! We lived on a big old farm that was owned by the neighbor Harold Davis ( Dave Davis lives there now I believe) . Eric and I had the run of the farm growing up. We crawled into the granary only to see huge rats and were not able to hit one with an arrow. We circled the big red barn and knew better than to shoot the horses or dozen milk cows. We then came around to the chicken coop where Harold the Farmer kept his prize winning fair chickens. Rhode Island Red’s – every year Harold would enter his chickens in the county fair and win first prize!
I fit an arrow to the bow and pulled all the way back! Yes, that arrow hit dead center on Harold the Farmers best chicken! We ran like hell! Looking back I remember seeing the chicken fall over. Later that day, Harold came over to the house smoking one of his ever present filter-less Camels (see, no one was politically correct on the farm!). He spoke with my mom and I was summoned to the kitchen. Did I know who shot this arrow? Yes, and did I know that I hit a chicken? Yes, and was I prepared for my whipping? Yes…I remember paying my allowance for a month to Harold because his chicken would not lay. I remember buying a porcelain chicken for Harold’s wife Martha. I remember her laughing and tousling my hair when I apologized and then seeing her years later and having her remind me of the porcelain chicken she still had 35 years later on her hutch.
Funny – my mom and dad did not take away my bow and arrow or headdress and I still remember that whipping! (and many many more)
Dedicated to “Grit Magazine” editor Hank Will for all the encouragement and positive feedback – you are a good friend!