he b huntin

It’s huntin season in the mountains and my brother is going in for the kill. He sent me a Christmas card. A photo of him and a big horned deer, in mid field-dress. Captioned with the seasonal greeting: ‘Ohio Bow Kill. 2005.’

I blame Pa. Pa’s a squirrel man. Least he used to be. “Back in the depression….you ate anything that didn’t eat you.”

Billy got an air rifle when he was ten. Spotted an American Gray in an oak tree. Thirty six shots to the side of the head and down it went. He never really took to squirrel gravy though. Despite Pa’s admonition it was the best thing since sliced bread.

When he was twelve he blew a rabbits head clean off. Tickled him to death. He made a stew with the rest of it (a bit of a chef my brother) and my little sister had nightmares for a month. My six year old brother (Stewie Griffin with long blonde hair) said the child really ought to be put down and if the parents weren’t prepared to do it perhaps the authorities should be called in.

Today, Billy’s license plate reads: I B HUNTIN. He paid for that.

In all other ways my brother is a normal 27 year old man. Someone to look up to. To learn from.

He has a nice job. A nice home. The appropriate number of pets. (This can sometimes be a problem in the South.) He’s educated. Polite. A mathematical savant. He likes football and calculus. A good man. With a good heart. Never had a bad word to say about anybody. (Unless they forgot to do the dishes.)

Full of logic and practicality. Ten months of the year. But for a while, in the fall, when the snow starts, and it begins to get cold, he goes a little insane.

He has a wall full of pigs, bear and deer to prove it. He’ll show you if you ever stop by.

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