I miss being at my grandparents' home during deer season. The feel of home, scent of wood smoke mingled with fresh brewed coffee. My dad and two of his brothers would go out to the deer woods, and "us girls" would stay in the house with Grandma. We would wait for the hunters to get cold enough to come in, help themselves to coffee from the pot that was always full, stand with their back to the blazing woodstove, then, with barely contained excitement, listen to their tale.
I hear Grandma, "Well, did ya see anything?"
"Nah," says my uncle, "Just some squirrels and a rabbit." Sipping coffee. "Oh, I did see..."
This was often spoken, or some variation. But it never stopped there. Followed were fascinating details. But remembering, those are not the details I recall. It's the tone of voice I hear, the light of adventure in the eyes, fingers re-adjusting their hold on that coffee cup, the better to settle in to the story.
Then if another came in from the hunt before the first one finished, well, things did liven up in a hurry! God, I loved that. I can even still see Grandpa carrying in an armload of firewood , stoking the stove his pretense for coming inside and seeing how the hunt was. Sharing in his sons' experiences with stories of his own.
God, I miss that. The stories. I miss the men coming and going, the hunter orange, the rifles, even the bite of chill as the door yielded entrance or exit.
And that is a piece of my life from this Ozark hilltop.