Awhile before Christmas

It was awhile before Christmas, and all through the woods, there was critters a'stirrin,' from Hornbeck to Hood's.

There was rabbits, and squirrels, and deer by the droves, a'munchin' on deer corn and sniffin' the wind, to watch out fer campers a'heatin' their stoves.

The freezers was filled up with venison meat, and ever'one knew there'd be plenty to eat--except for ol' Curly, a rowdy young cuss, with no luck a'tall, and much worse, he ranted so loud and made such a fuss, his club was ready to bounce him this Fall.

Curly, he vowed he'd shoot him a buck, if it harelipped the Gov'nor, and loaded his truck. Binoculars, shotgun, rifle, and shells; camo and orange, and four-wheeler fuel, he loaded it up and drove for a spell--determined to capture a rack for his wall.

I was snug in my stumphole, and Maw in her den, when I h'yeard a commotion that bristled my chin. A pickup was comin' th'ough dark and the fog, headin' straight at me--I run for a log!

I watched while ol' Curly unloaded his gear, and clumb up a tree stand located right near. The guns and the grub he hauled up while growlin' "I'll have me a buck, on top of this truck!" Ferocious, he was then--the season was endin' and he hadn't no luck.

I lost sight 'a Curly in the mornin' and' mist, but I h'yeard him munchin' some biskits and grits, a lunch box he'd brought 'cause he left home so soon, hunkerin' down in the late settin' moon. "By first light I'm ready," he says to hisself, his eye on the crosshair, and his rifle real steady.

Whilst I was watchin' I got such a start. I might of been dreamin' but back in the clearin' was a smoky white cloud, that drifted and rolled where that pickup was parked. Ol' Curly was sleepy, and nodded a little, not seein' his truck, that was misty and dark.

Then out of that clearin'--it give me a fright--I shivered to see it, like it weren't even night! From them woods come a'prancin' the fanciest sight: eight bucks a'snortin,' an' noddin' their heads, while Curly a'snoozin' was out like a light!

I h'yeard 'em a talkin,' ten-pointers each one, "Hi, Elmo, and Sonny; Yo, Billy and Fred! Ol' Leonard and Willy, and Jim Boy and Ted! Ol' Santy's 'bout ready to be off and gone, so we got to find him a new way t' ride. That sleigh's about busted, and runs awful slow. Santy's been busy, an' it's his time t' go. Ol' Curly, he means well, but no harm t'us. So what we'll do is, we'll use his new bus."

So while Curly nodded, them bucks they assembled. They circled that truck in the misty first light, and it started to move as they rose to'ards the north. That pickup was sparklin' like frost in the winter, and when it was sunup they flew outta sight.

Them bucks was a'laughin' as I seen 'em go up. They hollered to Curly, whose eyes was all whites, "We've 'et up your deer corn, and you ain't had a shot! We'll be back here next season, so sharpen your sights!"

Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a Good Night!

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