L To R, Josh Perkins, Elmer Willis, Solomon Doyle, Mae Ashworth Willis, Nora Ashworth Griffin, Shelby Ashworth

Monday, October 29, 2007

Whooping John Dillons

I have explained in other stories that there were a lot of pranks and gags pulled on a lot of people before my time and when I was a kid, by numerous cousins, friends, neighbors and the truth is just about every body. It seemed at times that is all these folks lived for. Most of them were very, very, humorous.
Uncle Mack Clark was no exception. He was one of the best at this type of humor. His favorite thing was making up names for most anything. Be it animals, people, things folks did, just about anything, he had a funny name or saying for it.
Uncle Mack was my Great Uncle {2/10/1908 to 8/21/1977}. He was he son of John Charles Clark and Minnie Irene Perkins Clark. I was just six years old and in the first grade and we were out of school for the Christmas holidays. My father always took me out hunting with him. His favorite pass time was hunting deer. He either hunted alone or with a group of men. When hunting with a group of men. The men would decided which section or block of the woods they would run the dogs in. They did that in order to jump a deer and have the dogs chase it. The men {The Men Were Called Standers} would line up around the section of the woods we would be running the dogs in. They would space out about one hundred yards apart. Once the dogs jumped the deer, it had to cross in front of the men lined around the block of woods. The men then attempted to kill the deer right there. If they happen to miss and the deer and dogs got over into the next sections of woods, the race was on, using you pickup, you would try to head off the deer and dogs. Trying your best to keep them out of the Sabine River Bottom. If the dogs got into that bottom, some times you would never see them again.
This one hunt was with a bunch of men. The dogs had jumped a deer and had gotten by all the standers. My Father got into his truck to try and head the dogs off before they got into the Sabine River bottom. Uncle Mack and I went along with him. My father had stopped the truck to listen for the dogs, to try and locate which direction they were headed. Off to our right was a big marshy piece of land that was standing in water. Right in the middle of this marsh stood two tall looking gray cranes {Birds}. Feeding on what they could scoop up out of the water. Well I had never seen birds like this up close. I asked my father what type of birds were these? Before he could answer, Uncle Mack said, boy, you don't know what the name of those birds are? I told him no sir. He told me they were called, "WHOOPING JOHN DILLONS"
Well he said it, so it had to be true! Surely my uncle would not lie to me. We then went on about the business of trying to catch the dogs.
With the holidays over with, it was back to school. My first grade teacher was Mrs Walker. She asked all the kids what they had done during the holidays. Well I just knew I had the best story. So when it came my turn to speak. I told her I had went hunting with my father and that I had seen my very first "WHOOPING JOHN DILLION."
She claimed that she didn't know of any such bird. I told her I knew there was such a bird because I had seen it and Uncle Mack told me what it was and that was it. I talked about that bird all day, because at the end of the day she sent a letter home with me, to my mother.
She stated to my mother the story I had told about the bird and what it was called. And if my mother didn't mind would she please come by the school and explain just what in the world was A "WHOOPING JOHN DILLON.
That still bring a smile to my face to this day whenever I think about this story. I thank God every day for a memory like this, to be able to recall these stories that my ancestors told and had a very fun time doing it.
My ancestors and these stories mean the world to me. I guess that maybe, that is why I've never had a problem with depression or being depressed such as a lot of people seem to have in today's world. Stories like this keeps a smile on my face and loving memories in my heart and mind most all the time.

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