Music & Malice at a Deer Camp
copyright Sam Elmore


The night before opening day of deer season a few years ago, there were seven of us at my big brother's camp. Brother Slim and I, his son Britt, and four good friends.

Lounging around after supper, someone suggested that I break out the guitar and do a few songs. (I keep a couple of guitars at the camp for that reason; can't never tell when someone will ask for a song or three.)

I usually sing a few songs of my choice first, then we 'go around the room' and everyone gets a chance to name a song, or a favorite singer. Generally, I will either know the song requested, or at least I'll usually know a song by the singer named; so all in attendance appear to be satisfied with that arrangement.

That night, though, it came to pass that my nephew Britt asked for a song that he didn't remember the name of, nor the singer who sang it…but, he could (and did) 'hum a little of it.' That drives me right up the wall!

D'j'ever get a song 'stuck in your head' and can't make it go away? Same thing in reverse with me; if I can't put my finger on a particular song or singer it runs me crazy until I can remember it. The worst part is, I will (at some later time or date) wake up in the wee hours of the a-yem and clearly remember the song, singer, etc.

The only thing wrong with that is, there isn't anyone around that's awake to tell it to. By the next morning, I am more than a little apt to have forgotten it all over again. I had taken Britt to task many times over the years, for doing that to his pore ol' uncle; but he always took great delight in 'stumping the band.'

That night at the camp, he warped my mind real good with his request for some unknown song/singer knowing full well how it affected me; then he laughed heartily at my discomfort. Finally everyone turned in to get some sleep, knowing that we would be up and about waaay before the chickens, in order to get into the woods before daylight.

About 1:40 a-yem, I sat straight up in bed, knowing the song, the singer, and every blessed word of the song Britt has asked for. I debated for about 35 seconds, before getting up, grabbing my guitar, and going into Britt's bedroom. I took the neck of the guitar and bumped him on the bottom of his feet until he woke up.

I propped one foot on the edge of his bed, strummed a chord, and commenced to singing the song he has asked for…as loud as I could sing it…all four verses, and inserting the full chorus between each verse.

Before I was done with the song, everyone in the whole camp was wide awake…some were laughing, others were cussin.' When I was finished, I put the guitar away, went back to bed, and slept like an innocent child until Slim woke everybody up banging pots and pans in the kitchen, preparing breakfast.

I set the table with plates and eatin' utensils, laid out all the jams, jellies, syrups and butter to go with the cat-head biscuits, bacon, and scrambled eggs Slim was fixing.

Whilst awaiting breakfast, the other guys sat around the place checking the bore of their rifle barrels, counting their cartridges, and making final preparations for the hunt. The more serious youngsters were applying camouflage face paint, and ensuring that their scent packs were stashed in the right pockets.

I dawdled over a hot mug of coffee, and idly listened to them discussing which stand they wanted to hunt out of. All the stands are permanently affixed, and stand about eight feet above ground, with all the 'mod cons' one could ask for in a deer stand. One of the guys asked:

"Sam, which stand do you want?"

"Well, there are seven of us, and eleven stands…so I'll just take one that ain't got nobody in it."

"No, No! You pick your stand first; we insist."

"Okay…I'll take number five, then."

Number five stand is situated right on the banks of a little thirty-foot-wide slough, and is really a delight to be in when morning wakes up. Even if no deer come by, there are always hundreds of ducks, many times wild turkey, and at all times raccoons, possums, nutria or beavers light-footing it in and around the slough.

"What are you gonna hunt with, Sam?"

"I'm gonna use my D-7 this mornin'", I mumbled.

"Who makes that?"

"It's a Japanese make."

"Seven millimeter…that should be a good round. I druther have my .308, though."

"It's not seven millimeter", says I; "it's a 35 millimeter."

"Dang! That shore NUFF ought pin down a deer."

"Hang on!", spoke up one of the guys; "did you say 35 millimeters?"

"a-yup…sure did."

"Wait-jest-a-dang-minnit, now. I done worked with metrics a good spell. A inch is 25.4 millimeters, and 35 millimeters would be…Shoot! that thang is almost a inch-and-a-HA'F! What kind-a gun is that???"

I held up my 35 millimeter single lense reflex Japanese camera, and grinned smugly.

Slim: "Biskits are done! Come eat before I feed it to the dawgs!"

(Although I never 'fired a shot', it was a most enjoyable deer hunt.)