Missing: Louise Fox
THE FIRST NOEL
The first Noel the angel did say
Was to certain poor shepards in fields as they lay:
In fields where they lay a keeping their sheep
On a cold winter’s night that was so deep.
Noel Noel Noel Noel
Born is the King of Israel.
This popular carol is actually an old English folk song probably from the late 1500s and published for the first time in 1832. Isn’t the music of the season wonderful? I hope you’ve had a Merry Christmas!
Asked if I had seen (or had heard from anyone who had seen) Louise, during a recent gathering of fine minds, I had to answer ‘no.’ One of the brainiacs at the table suggested that maybe Louise was in hibernation. I don’t think foxes hibernate, but who am I to argue?
Not being one to hold back in a conversation even if among strangers or in the company of persons obviously smarter than myself, I said that I remembered a time when many men here used to go fox hunting all night long.
All eyes at the table turned to me to silently accuse: “Why you ignorant loudmouth geezer!”
I was humbled for a short time.
When I got a chance I called one of those fox hunters — George Castleberry — who summoned some memories of his fox-hunting days. George is even older than me, though he doesn’t look it.
There was quite a group of fox hunters around here at one time, he says, although typically only a handful showed up for a night outing.
They’d choose a remote site to ‘cast’ or turn the dogs loose. Then they’d sit around a fire and listen to the sounds of the night and the delirious baying of those dogs once they crossed the trail of a fox. The preferred breed of dog was a ‘Walker,’ George remembers.
This was in the day (or night) before the Pilgrim mill howled or the railroad yard engine honked all night long, and the thumping of boombox cars could shake mortar from old brick walls downtown – meaning that the hunters could actually hear themselves think. They could also hear the dogs as they may or may not have chased some unfortunate critter through the briars and vines.
I’ve always heard that the fox hunters could tell which hound was leading the chase (By golly I reckon that’s old Blue, I can imagine one of ‘em saying).
The hunters really did know which hound first ‘jumped’ the fox. “At least that’s what we told ourselves,” George remembered in uncharacteristic honestly for a fox hunter.
The pleasure for the fox hunters was the company of friends under a starry sky, gathered around a flickering campfire in some pine-scented copse far from city lights.
No animal was killed, and sometime before dawn most of the dogs returned to the campfire plumb tuckered. Since the dogs never killed the fox, and never brought a fox carcass back to the campfire, we only have the reputed honesty of those men that their dogs were actually hunting foxes, not the nearest neighbor’s cats. Now that I think about it, it makes me mad that they might have been chasing Louise’s great-great-great-grandmother.
Frequently one or more dogs would get lost, and they’d slink mournfully up and down rural roads for a day or two until the owner managed to drive up on them and take them home for a good meal and a chance to rest up before the next hunt. I think the dogs would have gone home with anyone who slowed down and offered them an Oscar Mayer. At least that was my impression.
George, I asked, did any of those fox hunters ever take a libation whilst sitting around the fire?
What? he answered.
CAN YOU BELIEVE how stupid we humans can be?
There are only three places in the world where children still contract crippling polio. Those places are Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan, where medical personnel and volunteers are laboring to innoculate children. Last year there was an explosion of 200 new cases in Pakistan, the worst outbreak in years.
Last week, on the last day of a drive to innoculate thousands of Pakistani children, gunmen killed three health workers. The deaths bring to eight the total number of health workers murdered just last week in Pakistan. The gunmen are thought to be Taliban, which explains this idiocy. They are taking revenge because the CIA reputedly used a fake polio vaccination campaign to help locate Osama’s hideout.
But Pakistan is also the place where health workers are finding the most resistance to the simple and painless and free cure from polio.
Rotary International and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are helping the UN in the fight to eradicate polio.
It’s bad enough that the Taliban are executing health workers, but it’s even worse because we humans are so close to defeating polio.
PUNS AND adult truths from my piano friend at Fellowship: Sometimes I’ll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.
HE SAID: “Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.” Pope John Paul II
SHE SAID: “For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.” Audrey Hepburn, actress and UN humanitarian
SWEET DREAMS, Baby