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Adventure of Ron Huckleberry...#9-2 Ron chases rabbits in the hay field
Ron is fast asleep in dream land thinking of the beautiful yesterday with Uncle Hardie.
“Ron, wake up little sleepy head”.
Ron smiles and turns over to dream some more.
“Ron, would you like to go with me again today on the tractor”? This time Ron rubs his eyes and slightly lifts his head to double check who what said what.
“Hi, Uncle Hardie. Did you call me”? Ron asks.
“Yes, sleepy head. Would you like to go with me again today? If so, you must get moving. Your Auntie has breakfast almost ready”. He states.
Uncle Hardie had not finished the sentence when Ron was rushing towards the bath room. In record time he has washed his face and teen, got dressed, and is sitting at the table.
“I assume this means you do want to go with me today”. His uncle smiles, as Ron joins them.
“Uncle Hardie, thanks a lot for letting me come with you. I wish I could do this every day”. He says, as he takes his first swallow of orange juice.
Uncle Hardie loves biscuits and sausage and Auntie has made plenty. “I’ve fixed you two men a sack of biscuits to take with you”. Auntie smiles.
“Ron, today will have more fun than yesterday. Today we will only cut hay. Your fun will be to join many of your school mates as they try to catch some rabbits that will try to escape your hands as they flee their home in the high hay as I cut it”. His uncle explains.
“Where will the rabbits go, Uncle Hardie, when you take their home away from them?” Ron seriously asks.
“Ron, you can come up with some good questions. Rabbits are survivors. They will run and find another hay field to hide and live in. Later when I cut that field they will run to another field. When all of the hay fields are cut for the year, they always find some place else to live. Naturally most of them find a log in the woods to live under”. Uncle Hardie explains.
“What if all of them can’t find a log to live under”? Ron seriously asks.
Auntie adds, “Ron, rabbits are wild animals. They first look for a quick and easy place to sleep, but they always find a place. Most probably dig holes in the ground, especially before it snows. In their holes they can keep very warm. They have their thick warm fur and they find other rabbits to cuddle up with to help stay warm. Remember, you’ve seen rabbits running across Granddaddy’s yard and garden in the snow. They will be alright and will be back in the hay fields in the spring”. She insures Ron.
It isn’t long before Ron and Uncle Hardie are again driving down the gravel drive way, turning on to the busy highway. This time they are heading for Jim Green’s hay fields. Mr. Green has several large fields and again this year his fields are the near last to be cut.
Mr. Tom has been busy at Uncle Hardie’s barn getting the tractor gassed and inspecting and oiling the hay cutter that is attached to the tractor. Mr. Tom lives across the highway from the farm and will drive the tractor to Mr. Green’s field. He has no car, will be a field worker today and this is his transportation to Mr. Green’s farm.
When Uncle Hardie and Ron arrive at the Green’s farm, Ron is surprised to see so many adults and children already there. It looks like all of Little Town is there and they have already spread out all around the first field to be cut. “What’s happening, Uncle Hardie”? Ron excitably asks.
“Ron, a crowd is present almost every time I cut a hay field. Remember rabbit meat makes a good meal. There are many…and I mean many rabbits hiding in the uncut hay. The folks surround the field to be cut in hopes of catching a rabbit as it tries to flee to safety”. His uncle explains.
“Uncle Hardie, Auntie told me that rabbits are too fast for me to ever catch one. Why do these people try to catch rabbits”? Ron asks.
“Ron, no one will try to catch a rabbit just with their hands. Many of these people have been doing this for years. Almost every one has a different way of trying to catch the rabbits. You will that some folks have sacks, others have boxes or buckets. Most have some kink of stick, pole, rope, or even large rocks. One youngster had a sling shot last year…and he actually got a rabbit.” His uncle continues to explain.
“But Uncle Hardie I didn’t know this and I don’t have anything”. Ron explains.
“Oh, but you do Ron. Mr. Tom brought a cloth grain sack and a piece of heavy rope for you to use. Mr. Tom told me he would not forget you.”
Sure enough, as Uncle Hardie parked the car near the tractor, Mr. Tom came quickly to Ron. “Mr. Ron, you’ll need these tools. Talk to your class mates; learn some fast tricks…and good luck”. Mr. Tom said smiling, as he handed Ron the equipment and patted him on the back.
“Thanks, so very much Mr. Tom”. Ron said, as he looked around the area for some school buddy he knew. He quickly sees Billy Osborn standing two hundred yards away. Billy waves and Ron walks quickly in Billy’s direction.
Hi, Billy. I’m lad I found someone I know. Do you come out often to chase rabbits”? Ron asks.
“I come as often as Mom lets me. I’ve never caught a rabbit, but I still try very hard. Last year my friend next to me did catch one in his sack, but it was pure luck. Looks like you have a dangerous piece of rope. You may luck out, Ron”. Billy remarks.
“Billy, this is my first time. What am I supposed to do? Give me some quick advice”. Ron near begs.
“Ron, the rabbits are fast and most are large. All of them have dangerous teeth, so don’t get a hand near its head. You need to use your rope and try to hit a rabbit hard. You gotta hit the creature hard, because they are tough, scared, and fast. It’s all luck, but try to out guess which way the running rabbit will dart”. Billy explains.
“Do you feel bad if you hurt the rabbit”? Ron innocently asks.
“Ron, these are not pets. They are wild and can not be pets. They make a good meal. If you luck out and kill a rabbit and don’t want the meat, some one around hear will give you a few cents for the meat.
About that time the tractor starts and Uncle Hardie begins cutting the hay field. He will drive around the outside of the field and he will continue to driver around the outside of the field, but each time he goes around the field, the area of uncut hay in the middle gets smaller.
Most everyone knows from experience about when to expect the rabbits to panic and began trying to run for safety. It must be near rabbit-panic time, because most every seems to be getting exited as they move their weapons nervously.
Billy alerts Ron to hold his rope securely in his right hand and the sack in his left hand. “Ron, try hard to hit a rabbit across the head very hard the first time, because you won’t get a second chance to swing.
Suddenly many people are screaming “here they come”. A big rabbit is charging right at Billy and man to his right. They both swing. The rabbit darts away from Billy and towards the man. The man swings with his large stick and succeeds in knocking the rabbit out cold.
The initial excitement is quickly over and the man said he guessed fifty to a hundred rabbits had been in the tall hay.
A moment later Billy screams, “Look here come three very young rabbits” The rabbits rush out of the high hay, but when they see the people they dart back in the hay. Billy and Ron…and many others run quickly after them.
Even the young rabbits are smart and fast. This time several people closed-in on the remaining uncut hay for all directions. There was much excitement as this group found that perhaps twenty rabbits, mostly younger one, were still in the hay. Within a couple of minutes all was quiet. Naturally several of the rabbits escaped, but about ten folks exited the uncut hay with a rabbit in-hand.
Everyone moved to the side line and waited for Uncle Hardie to finish cutting this small area of tall hay. The group naturally followed the tractor to the next field and began the wait for their opportunity to swing ropes and sticks in hopes of getting their rabbit.
Mr. Green had five fields that were cut that day. Only a few people stuck it out to the last field. It was about 6 p.m. when Uncle Hardie was finished. Since Ron’s uncle needed to go by the farm, Ron rode on the tractor with Mr. Tom back to the barn.
No, Ron did not get a rabbit. In fact he never got close to getting a rabbit.
© GENE HUDGENS
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