Took a ride to the country on Saturday. Since returning to Memphis in 2007, I’ve accepted an annual invitation from my good friend Joe Larkins to accompany him to his family home near Bardwell, Kentucky. We go up on the first day of deer season (The second Saturday in November), leaving from Charles Baker Airport in Millington in a Piper Warrior (similar to, but not, the one in the picture to the right). It’s a 184 mile trip, but instead of a 3-hour drive, it only takes between an hour to 90 minutes, depending on the headwinds.
The first time I went up, I wondering where we’d land and how we’d get from the airport to the family home, and to deer camp, for that matter. Imagine my surprise when Joe landed on a 3-acre strip across the street from his mom’s house. Really. In fact, the strip, known as Larkins Farm Airport, is an FAA-approved facility. So, we pretty much land, he turns the plane around, locks the door, and we cross the street and say hi to whoever’s at home. This year, the strip hadn’t been mowed for a while, which gave Joe & me something to do before getting on with the day’s business. We hopped on two Scag Turf Tiger mowers and proceeded to cut the grass down to a more manageable height for take off. It took about half the time. I say about because I had a bit of a learning curve with on the mower.
After that, visited with one of Joe’s brothers in town and then headed off to deer camp. The biggest difference between this year and last year is that it was unseasonably warm this year. I say that showing up at 2 in the afternoon. Most of the folks who were actually hunting not only spent the night in the cabin but were in deer stands when it was still dark (and cold). Still, everyone seemed to have been having a good time, and while the camp stove was not lit, many tall stories were told.
The wooded area where the majority of the hunting is done sustained a little damage in last winter’s ice storm, but I’m told there were still a lot deer out there, and saw more than a few quail (not usual for the area). Of course, there was time for 4-wheeling. I didn’t get to take the big machine out, that one was carrying Joe and his brother Calvin. Once I got the Honda out of first gear, I did okay.
There was a bit of a mystery that needed solving. Calvin’s son-in-law (who’s name I’ll withhold to protect him), took his wedding ring off while shooting earlier. He’d set it on the 4-wheeler he was riding, but forget to put it back on before riding off. That necessitated a full-on search with a father-in-law with a metal detector, a not-too-happy wife, a nervous husband and a couple of former journalists. Believe me, it’s hard to find anything in a plowed-over field. The detector, set on high, did pull up a couple of shell casings. It also beeped when it passed too close to steel-toed boots or a 4-wheeler.
However, to the relief of everyone involved, we did actually find the ring after a few minutes of searching. For the sake of marital peace, I had actually volunteered my old wedding ring. After all, I haven’t had much use for it since 1996… but there was a thought that it might be carrying some kind of jinx, so it’s probably good we found the one we were looking for.
Joe, who runs his own blog, tells me he’s planning to post something about the day too, so you’ll have something to balance my ramblings again. I didn’t mind leaving town knowing I’d miss the big game between the Ohio State University and Iowa, because I was recording the game on DVR. Another person in the Larkins family sort of put the kibosh on my need to watch the game while Joe & I were flying home, but since the Buckeyes are going to the Rose Bowl, I’m okay with it.