Lacoochee – Letters from Lacoocheeman



Letters from Lacoocheeman


When our family, Roscoe and Myrna Osbron, lived in Trilacoochee we were good friends with the Eli and Ruby Swartzlander family. Their sons, Edward, Wayne, and Dale were our side-kicks. My younger brother, Robert, and I spent many hours together in our youth with the Swartzlander boys, fishing, camping and any other mischief we could get into. As it is with many families and friends, we moved away and became separated by miles and time. Sad to say, but death will also separate us from those we love and share our lives with. Dad died in Arkansas in 1953; Edward was killed in Vietnam; Robert died of cancer in 2003; Eli and Ruby have passed on; but the memories remain and friendships are not forgotten.

Wayne (Dude) lives in Arkansas, as do his brothers Dale and Rick, and two sisters. I live in West Virginia. While separated by miles we are still kindred spirits and stay in touch by phone and email.

November 24, 2004

Hello, Dude

Got a nice spike yesterday morning. He was facing due east when I shot him broadside. He jumped up and when he hit the ground he was facing due west, doing 67 miles per hour and disappeared from sight in .75 seconds with no indication of slowing down before hitting Kentucky, Missouri and parts beyond.

I am a little disappointed, to say the least. My first thought was that I missed him. Then the second thought was, not a chance. So, with so much to do, instead of three hours of skinning, butchering, packing and freezing, I was thinking that I’ll spend several hours looking for this critter and dragging it out of the woods and then three hours of skinning, butchering, packing and freezing.

So first I try it the efficient way (otherwise known as lazy man’s way) of using the binoculars and scanning the woods for some time. No luck. So off I go on a safari. Blood everywhere and a good trail. So with racing heart and crawling feet I take off. After what seemed like an awful long time and distance, I spot what looks like a sleeping deer on the far horizon, blended into the background of leaves, brush and trees. I get up close and sho ’nuff, thar ’tis! The very same buck I been tracking through thick and thin for at least 100 yards from the spot I shot him. I am so glad I found him. I hate the thought of not finding something I shot (unless its a trespasser).

Now how to get him in the field dressing position. I look left, goes down very steep. I look right, goes up very steep. I look back the way I came, looked reasonably level (“level” in West Virginia has a unique definition) but the trees were so close that a fellow could get dizzy just trying to walk around. I was searching for a route for my tractor with a pig pole I put on Sunday afternoon for just this purpose. Well, the only recourse was to take the tractor up the ridge and baby it down to the spot, hook the carcass to the pig pole, field dress it, and mosey the tractor on out of the woods.

I love a good plan. So, with a throated roar from the diesel just raring to go, off and up the ridge I go, and at the pre-chosen spot I turned left and headed down, down and down. My eyes were bulging, my hair was standing on end (like a white afro) and my fingers were white as they gripped the steering wheel. Before turning left at the top of the ridge, I had stopped and put the tractor in granny low, assuming the engine would keep my descent below the interstate speed limit.

Overlooked one small factor. It had been raining for three days and nights and the leaves were as slick as owl snot. With the engine at idle and the transmission and rear end in granny low, the rear wheels just started sliding. As the tractor picked up speed, so did I (because I was riding it, no longer driving, just along for the ride and sorta looking forward to the end of the trip). As I weaved through the trees they were beginning to look like a picket fence, but I knew from experience that if I kept the front of the tractor pointed down, it would not turn over. End over end maybe, but not over.

Well, gotta go lay some carpet. Can’t take all this excitement.

Until next time, pending survival.

Lacoocheeman John T (Tommy) Osbron

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