A tale of the huntWritten by Gregory J. Ballan
My good friend Brian and I love hunting. We’ve been chasing elusive Whitetail deer all across fields and woodlands of our home state of Massachusetts. Now, Massachusetts isn’t regarded as a great hunting state, but there are deer here, you just have to gain access to privately held lands that are a goldmine for hunting. This is what happens when two guys with a knack for getting into trouble stumble upon a supposed good thing A tale of hunt Brian called me up one evening early in fall of 1992. HE had stumbled upon fatted calf of deer hunting property. The Huneywell Estate bordered towns of Natick and Wellesley and contained several dozens of acres of prime woodlands. Brian and his brothers had been doing a barn restoration for Huneywells and spent his lunch hours scouting and perusing woodlands in this fine estate. Well he had worked up courage to ask Virginia Huneywell for permission to hunt on her property this upcoming hunting season. Ms. Huneywell agreed, on top of that Brian got to drag along number 1 sidekick; ME!!. We prepared an intensive scouting foray into woodlands in order to cut some fresh trails parallel to deer paths. This would allow us to stalk quietly and limit out exposure to all thorns and briars that inhabited lower woodlands. Brian had given me some initial data pertaining to land in question and we had made our plan. We had permission to machete two paths that ran along her horse farm about 100 yards deep into woods. We took my truck over and parked it on corner of her property and walked into woods. Now I've been in some nasty scrub before, but these woods were a nightmare. There were bogs, underground springs which made huge muck puddles before forming into a creek bed and more thorn bushes and briars then I had ever seen in my life. After an hour we managed to hack our way to first path. We cut a small trail about twenty feet beyond path and then began hacking our way next to trail. These thorn vines seemed to be made of iron, and didn’t; cut too easily. We both began to sweat and drew every blood sucking mosquito around for miles. We were both carrying packs full of gear in order to set up two observation stands where we could glass deer and study their movements. We had cover scents, treesteps and our stands along with all kinds of other hunting crap that only two morons addicted to deer hunting would even consider carrying around. As I said, our progress was painfully slow, and we lost sunlight. We were right in middle of this huge expanse of woods as twilight faded and darkness ensued. "Wonderful, Brian! Where Hell are we?" I asked as I fumbled for my mag lite which had migrated to bottom of my pac. We looked at our compass and kept heading due east. Well, as if cutting through dense brush was bad enough in daylight, doing it in dark was twice fun. Perhaps two hours later we stumbled onto an unlit road that seemed vaguely familiar. "We're on South Street" I reported in disbelief, "Two miles from where we parked truck." So we started walking, two muddy, sweaty guys in camo clothing and large machetes. Well, we passed time talking and kibitzing like to old men at a gas station, all while I would swing my machete performing some katana techniques while explaining each movement to Brian as we walked along. We ignored headlights from cars as they passed us and basically just tried to make best of a bad situation. We got turned around somehow, two great hunters and trackers extraordinaire (we vowed to keep that little fact a secret...until now). The time passed rather quickly as we yapped and laughed. We approached my truck, finally, and spotted three other cars parked nearby. It was too far away to determine who they were so we just both took note of cars and approached with a little more care. I admit that I held my machete a little tighter as we got closer to truck. As we came close enough to make out cars I realized that they were police cars, and that there were officers standing beside cars.
I LEFT MY TOES IN TUKTOYAKTUKWritten by Theolonius McTavish
Copyright The Quipping Queen 2005
I LEFT MY TOES IN TUKTOYAKTUK -- Or, Tittynoping Tales from a Tavern Fox --
** Theolonius McTavish, a trivial talkingstock (an Old English term for an object of conversation) who inevitably forgets punch-lines to knock-knock jokes and consequently is rarely offered free drinks by pub patrons unless they are woebegone and desperate for companionship of a somewhat cabobbled, copper-nosed cronk (i.e. a mystified, jolly-nosed, gossiping sort of soul who frequently inhabits smoke-filled haunts with bad lighting and belching balladeers as only form of nightly entertainment)**
Being a mirthful mundivagant of sorts, I decided it was high time to don my gallant gumboots, garish gunnysack, and goose-down garb to take a gander at some far-flung places in need of my presence.
While some souls leave their hearts in San Francisco, I left another part of my anatomy somewhere else. If truth be told, I left my toes in Tuktoyaktuk, (along with a memorable meal of minute rice, mushy peas and milk pudding).
Why Tuktoyaktuk? Well why not! Any town with a tongue-twisting title like Tuktoyaktuk deserves to be visited … even by a six-water-grog, sky-boshing Scot like me. The fact that it’s situated in a godforsaken place, (actually it's a charming little northern outpost nestled conveniently in dark deep-freeze and mooching muskeg of Canada), is a truly bonus.
Before departing on my jocular journey, I needed to know a little more about “Land of Blizzards, Bugs & Beer”. Being second-largest nation on earth is one thing but having a conversation with a Canuck is quite another.
One piece of advice … begin every conversation with “So, how’s weather …over there …up there, or …down there anyway? Then be prepared for a scintillating pity pot story that captures essence of Canada -- where it’s blinking cold and wet outside, it's much too muggy or miserable to play outdoors, or it's downright dangerous to stick a toe out door with all blasted bugs or bears camping on front porch.