It's that Ravenhaven time of year again! Time for Uncle Hubert's Thanksgiving Crow Logic
Uncle Hubert’s Thanksgiving Crow Logic
(a character study)
Hoot’s uncle Hubert had suffered a stroke in his early teens that left him with a lifelong limp and a useless left hand always tucked into his trouser pocket. Hoot remembered how Uncle Hubert drove a column-shift 1954 Ford in 1961 – the year Hoot turned twelve. This was before the days of power-assisted steering, power brakes, power anything – and watching his uncle execute a braking turn (including a downshift) using only his right hand to operate the steering wheel, turn signal lever, and gearshift lever while working the clutch, brake, and accelerator pedals with only his right foot was like watching a ballet of quick-draw speed and gunslinger purpose, a sight that has stayed with Hoot the past half-century.
Every year Uncle Hubert would come home from
for Thanksgiving, and they would go crow hunting – man stuff – Hoot’s father with his .22 carbine and Uncle Hubert
with his sawed-off shotgun made into a blunderbuss pistol, Hoot tagging along
with his B-B gun. It was a stretch, no
doubt, but ‘taking the boy hunting’ for any kind of critter was the epitome of
rural male bonding in the early sixties, and they made a big deal out of it
including breakfast at Grandma Theo’s before setting out. Albuquerque
Hubert had a crow call that made a sound like Donald Duck with laryngitis and could bring curious birds from two pastures away in close. Hoot remembered his uncle’s wisdom regarding crows: “Smartest of all birds,” he would say. But curiously, he had no qualms about hunting these smart creatures for the simple pleasure of having something to shoot at. Crows were a nuisance to farmers, and weekend holiday nuisance hunters were welcome on most farms. Hoot’s ol’ man and Uncle Hubert were careful to close gates behind them. Ask permission beforehand.
Hoot remembered crossing a field with Uncle Hubert one Thanksgiving, a flock of crows up in the branches of the tree line ahead, Uncle Hubert called them a sizeable murder of ravens claiming that Edgar Allan Poe would have called them that. Hoot hid his B-B gun under his coat similar to the way his uncle concealed his shotgun, assumed an exaggerated limp to mimic his hero, and walked proudly to the fray.
“You don’t need to hide your B-B gun,” Uncle Hubert said. “Crows know the difference between a B-B gun and a real one.”
Hoot remembered keeping his not-so-deadly weapon hid anyhow as they crossed that field…just in case. He smiled – at all the years that had passed by in a slow flash. He had often yearned for those long-ago Thanksgivings. Broad fieldsAnd for not-so-deadly weapons.