Numchucks: The Legend Ch. 01byMy Erotic Tail©
Numchucks, The Legend
(A true story of a Black Labrador Retriever)
Old Yeller, Benji, Rin Tin Tin, Lassie, Beatoven, Snoopy and so many other Dogs noted from television and movies are famous. But the real heroes are the rescue Dogs that go into a burning fire and retrieve someone from its flames or notify the proper fire and rescue personal that someone is still trapped inside and where. Or the seeing eye dog that has a daily duty of being someone's eyes. The winner's of championships after championships in field trials, show, obedience and Best in breed.
Dogs are used to sniff out explosives that ultimately saves lives. The Military and police use such dogs in many ways. Trackers for searching out lost people or children in a forest or wilderness. Guard dogs that are gently as a lamb till given the command, one word...that sets them into an action that they're trained for.
Many of they're accomplishments are only noted in a local news paper article or maybe even a book that has a minimal publication. They may not get the publicity that show dogs have. But legendary heroes just the same.
A Legend is a person, place or thing that's achievements are worthy of inspiring such a story that it's tale is told for many years. Thus we speak of the legendary accomplishments of those who built our community and forged they're way across a wilderness of the unknown to tame the land in which we live. Local heroes and folklore of some wild and outlandish deed told over a cup of coffee in a local cafe or diner again and again. Printed in publications or journals marking their accomplishments in history.
Legendary names still mark they're presence here in East Texas: Davey Crockett National forest at Crockett, Texas. Jim Bowie and his legendary "Bear" hunts with his legendary, "Bowie Knife." Sam Houston of Huntsville, Texas. Out numbered by Santa Anna, Houston led Santa Anna's army into the swamps at Buffalo Bayou and the San Jacinto River. Within a short time, 700 Mexicans were slain, with another 730 taken as prisoners. 910 Texans won the Independence for Texas. Yelling those Legendary words, "Remember the Alamo." which is about 250 miles southwest from where we lived.
Riverside Texas, a little town that was a one store town with a Post Office for many years. The Trinity River which in its day (Early 1900s) hauled timber and cotton by barge up and down the river. Meeting with trains to transport lumber, which the trains still run through town, rarely ever stopping. The train track Bridge that swiveled back and forth to allow taller barges through still stands over the river. But as the need for barges dwindled and modern transport eliminated the need for trains to truck off lumber, the town reached an all time high Population of 450 people. Which seems to make us out numbered by deer and varmints about 50 to one.
East Texas is known for many things. It's tall piney woods, meadows and prairies, rivers that once carried steam ships and barges north and south towards the gulf. Bordering Louisiana this area of Texas blends the traditional cowboy/country with a swampy Cajun atmosphere. From Indian tales to Cowboy trails to a country ambiance. With only powerlines, highways and cars to remind us we're in the 21st century.
Which inturn opens up rivers and creeks offering some of the finest Migratory bird hunting anywhere. Katy, Texas and Annuac are known for their wintering waterfowl that blanket the sky like a cloud. Or turn a field white with snow geese every where in an open farm field or pasture. The flyway for the annual migration of Birds is repetitious. So the farmers help to ward off the devastating passer bye's by offering hunting rights on their property for lease.
And these hunters get down right serious. Vehicles tricked out in camouflage and boats that are built to be duck blinds as well as expensive Air boats. The best equipment of duck and goose calls. Champion callers that get into the Art of "Calling" birds of all kinds. Shooters that practice year round in trap and skeet tournaments. Shotgun sized to fit and recoil advancement has gone to an all time reduction. Some of these shotguns cost as much as a new car. Outfitter stores and sites are numerous filled with the latest in Hunting technology as well as some down right famous products. With Brand names that have been around for years.
And the Retriever...
Any one who has hunted with a Trained or good Retriever will tell you that their asset is unmatched. The boggy swamp bottom in this region is the hardest stuff in the world to walk in...in my book. Not to mention that retrievers are faster and their ability to swim is incredible. This makes them invaluable since waterfowl hunting is mostly aquatic. Just sit back and wait for the retriever to retrieve and watch for more birds.
The competition for Retrievers is very intense to say the least. Competitions of all kinds are available for canines. Obstacle courses, K-9 police competition to see which dogs perform the best in all kinds of situations. Circus's have always relished in training comical stunts and tricks with an array of breeds and animals. Trainers and owners all Train year round to achieve the goal of the best Dog of a contest, regional trials, or competition. Striving for perfection in man and canine communication and commands. Many breeds of dog have shown they're ability and won these trials.
But the Black Lab has won so many hearts and named the Number one favorite American breed. They are very intelligent and gentle with the desire to please. Weathered for the cold and loves the water. It is said they're used to retrieve tools and supplies for ship builders long before they're usefulness of game retrieval was noticed. Easily trained to retrieve and generally not gun shy, matter fact they get just as excited if not more so, about going on a hunt or into the great outdoors.
So here we are in Riverside Texas, on the banks of the Trinity River. A major fly way to this winter hot spot for Migratory birds. And hunting season was only days away. I was going to unknowingly embark on a friendship...of a life time.
Chapter One (Opening Day)
Shoreline Drive, Riverside Texas~~
I was filling my coffee mug with water gazing out the kitchen window at the river. A cove off the rivers edge. The cloud cover cast a gray hue on the water, it had been like that for days. The tiny Island that sits off the middle of "Turtle" cove was plush green. Turning the faucet off I stepped towards the microwave. Put a tea bag in the cup and shut the Microwave's door and pushed the button to start.
"Morning, how you feeling?"
I turned and Gwen was sitting on the sofa. My sister-in-law. I had been ill with the same problem that I had had for years. Gasritous, Pancreatitis, Ulcer, and many other diagnosis but the root of the pain was stomach aches. I would go through spells and I had been having one for the past few days. "Well...okay I guess." I answered.
Gwen was curled up with a colorful afghan watching a talk show on the t.v. Her strawberry blonde hair and few freckles added to her country charm accent. Her head sunk into her hand smiling as she giggled at the television show.
The "beep" of the microwave had me turn back around and I'm not real sure what happen there. I woke up on the floor with a sharp pain in my lower right stomach. I was doubled over holding my tummy as if that was really gonna make it better, but its instinctive.
"Are you all right? Where does it hurt?" Gwen was questioning me as to what was wrong. She had LVN training and was trying to figure out why I had passed out.
"My stomach hurts bad," I said. I knew something wasn't right. I had pancreatitis and this wasn't in that area of the stomach. But I knew I had reached a point of pain tolerance that was in need of medical attention. Gwen was calling my brother (Alan) and he was on his way to the house.
"Alan's just around the corner, he'll be here in a minute," Gwen said in an excited tone. She was calm as could be but still anxious as to why I fell on the floor. I got to my feet, I was still in my robe from just waking up and limped to the bedroom and got dressed.
Alan came screeching up and I could hear Gwen telling him what had happen. Alan come in and helped me to the truck and we headed to the hospital. Gwen, sitting in the middle, said I had fever and Alan began asking the same questions again. "What happen?"
"Where's Numchucks?" I asked as we headed down the street.
"Oh he's fine, were worried about you." Gwen said reassuring.
"He ain't going no where." Alan said pulling away from the house.
I was looking for my dog in the rear view window. Just then the long legged lanky puppy ran to the middle of the road in our secluded subdivision. His black coat stood out against the green grass. His tail wagging but his ears back showing his uncertainty. He jotted down the driveway to the garage. I knew he was all right and I felt better.
Huntsville Memorial Hospital Huntsville Texas~~
"How do you feel?" The Doctor asked as he entered the room with his nose buried in a clip board.
"Hurts like hell Doc," I replied.
"Well, its going to for a couple weeks. The appendix was removed with no complications, only 14 stitches and we'll prescribed you something to minimize the pain." The Doctor pulled the sheet back and inspected the bandage. We'll keep you till tomorrow, if you'll walk down the hall tomorrow, then I'll release you." He smiled.
"Yeah right, the HALL? I couldn't see me walking to the window much less the hall," I spat.
"Ok the bathroom, you'll need to be able to go to the bathroom at home so you show me you can walk to the bathroom and I'll release you." The Doctor put the sheet back over me. Smiled and checked the IV.
"Okay, your the Doc."
"You'll need to remain in bed at home for two weeks till that incision heels. Then come to my office, make an appointment and I'll remove the stitches then." The Doctor began to turn and leave.
"Ooh! Doc...In two days, Duck hunting season begins. I have been planning for this day all year. Been training a Lab I got for my birthday from my mother and brother and his wife. I gotta go Saturday." It was a hard thing to swallow not being able to go out and hunt, opening day. To some of us it was like Christmas.
"I definitely advise against it." The Doctor blurted as he began to escape out the door. "You need to let those stitches do their job and keep that incision closed. Any wrong move and it could rupture and bleed again and infection could set in. No...I advise against it." The Doctor said firmly.
"Doc...I haven't missed opening day of duck hunting in years and I'm not gonna let this be the first." I was serious now.
It was starting to appear that I wasn't hunting this years opening day. My Mother sitting next to me smiled. She new I was a die hard Duck Hunter. Matter fact she say's she bought Numchucks for me because I always went hunting alone. I always invited people to go with me but way to many times no one was around, so I went by my self and thought nothing of it. She figured if the dog come back and I didn't then she would send the rescue squad. And being an EMS and driving the ambulance she had access to a full out search and rescue. I had only had boat trouble a couple times but the stories that circulate are horror tales of 14 foot alligators and boats sinking from stumps only inches below the water line. Stepping into a nest of Cotton mouths. She said she felt safer knowing "Numchucks" was with me.
"Ok, if you go out there with others and don't move around and do all you cannot to pull those stitches. If it begins to bleed...make an appointment to see me. If not, I'll see you in two weeks and good luck." The Doctor said smiling as he left.
The slapping of water against the boat as the motor idled was the only sounds heard. The fog was so thick that I had to squint to see my hunting partner, Happy, the only one crazy enough to go out on such a cold late October morning in such short notice. The weather had been bad all week and this morning wasn't looking any better.
"Veer right," I was guiding Happy (yes, his name is Happy) out of the cove. The last pier's lights illuminated like a light house as we turned into the river off the point. And Like so many Hunts to come "Numchucks" was at the bow of the aluminum john boat with his nose forward like the old ships that have a lady poised out and protruding from its ships bow.
His tail was wagging with anticipation. Starring into the fog like he could see right through it. His puppy frame of long legs and massive paws matched his big box head. It was like his body was having trouble growing as fast as his head. He turned and looked at me and his tail wagged even faster as he looked down and saw the shotgun case. Turned his nose back into the fog and stared.
We had come out on the Islands a lot the last three weeks. Scouting for hot spots and taking advantage of the dove that flew onto the islands during dove season. The trial and error time for Numchuck's retriever training. Only having him for a short time before season made me feel a bit unsure of his performance. But his dove retrievals was comical to say the least. Man chasing dog through mud and muck yelling, "Don't eat the bird."
I worked with him every day, Retriever training. My uncle had an old book, Training retrievers, that I read backwards and forwards, probably in that order. But I took him out and hunted a squirrel and shot it on the edge of the yard. The little varmints would taunt and tease and get Numchucks to chase them like it was a game of "You can't catch me." Running from tree to tree with chatters and laughs as Numchucks bounced back and forth from trunk to trunk unable to keep up with them.
I led Chucks to the squirrel, he instinctively picked it up and snooped at it. I placed it in his mouth and walked him back to where I had shot. I took the tail and made a decoy from it. I tossed it every day and hid it and gave commands and my brother would lead Chucks at the command. It didn't take him long to catch on and the rewards especially interested him. Some may call it bribery, I call incentive. Anything from M&Ms to potato chips.
He showed signs of intelligence right off. With in days he was finding the tail with only minimal direction signs and scent as I hid it in harder places to find. But he soon caught on to the commands and directions I gave to aid him in his search. The Island Dove hunts not only offered game but I also used the feathers to make more decoys with sharper protrudes to insure his becoming soft mouthed (Teaches him not to bite down on the bird). Living on the river also offered water to toss the decoys into which was Numchuck's favorite, swimming.
"Hey you awake up there?" Happy yelled over the humming of the 25 horse power motor. "Which way?"
I looked down into the water which was the only thing you could see in the fog. The Hydrilla (Floating water foliage) was flowing from the bow (front) of the boat to the back. "We're going up river, we need to go right." Happy turned the boat slowly to the right. Numchucks was still on point and it was still to foggy to see. The small green John boat made its way slowly into the dark gray void.
"Slow down, we should be coming up on the logs." I yelled back at Happy. Happy lived up to his name. He was a robust country gentleman that was camping in a tent with his wife on his property. Clearing it and vacationing for an indefinite time. He graciously agreed to drive the boat and assist me on this Opening Day. He wasn't hunting, he wasn't a hunter. He was just being a friend and going so that I could go. His constant laughter always made it a pleasure being around him. He had such a kind nature that a heard of ten deer or better bed down nightly next to his tent. Well practically. Within twenty yards some nights.
Its awesome to sit at his camp site and watch the fire dwindle and the eyes of ten deer sink into the grass less than fifty yards from you. Looks like a bunch of stationary fire flies in a small patch of grass under some liveoak trees. His loud barrel laugh didn't startle them at all, in fact they seem to want to come closer to see what was so humorous.
"There's the logs." I yelled as I saw the dark shape of a log jam ahead. All along the edge of the river is a build up of trees and logs that have built up a tangled timber line. "Stump," I pointed to the first stump I saw and pointed at it with the spotlight (flash light). "Stump," I yelled again and shined the light on another hazardous stump.
"Which way?" Happy yelled back.
"Uh...left," It was anybody's guess. I was looking for a cut through the log jam that opened up a passage into the open waters of Robs Lake. But the fog had us doing the guessing game and if you follow the log jam long enough you'd find an opening. But it was a maze of cuts and waterways around the islands that the river encircled daily.
"There," I shined the light to an opening that offered us a way out of the rivers current.
"I see it," Happy replied and he swung the boat around to enter the cut. The sky was turning a light gray and two teal whistled by over our heads. "What was that?"
"Teal. Green wings, dang we're running a bit late." I said excitedly. Numchucks stood up and his tail was wagging. He looked at me and down at the shot gun still in its case then sat back down. Or maybe I told him to but he was back to pointing his nose into the fog as we made our way up into the cut. The darkness slowly, slowly trickles to light as we inched into the shallow waterway churning mud with the propeller. Which isn't a bad thing till you hit a stump and then say your prayers.
"Left here Happy," I shouted as we approached a "Y" in the cut. He turned the boat in a small waterway with the boat barely at an Idle. Dodging stumps and drift logs all around. The sky above our heads was gray while the trees and shrubs and grasses all around us were still black as shadows.
Numchucks jumped to his feet and his head was gazing left. His tail went to wagging. I knew right then I needed to do something about the black flag that he waved but his head turned to the right slowly as he watched two teal land in the water before us. He went to spring forward but the rope he was tied to soon made him aware that he wasn't going anyplace. A lesson I learned during the comical retriever training courses when we hunted dove. His spring into action was soon eliminated.
He barked and the teal took flight into the disappearing fog. "No Numchucks, no barking." Numchucks knew what "No" meant but why I was saying it I don't really think he knew. But his head turned back and looked at me with those soft puppy eyes and soon I was reassuring him with kind words and encouragement and his tail was wagging again. "You ready... Chucks?"
"There Happy, did you see where those Teal landed?" I asked.
"Yes," he replied. Pulling his collar up around his ears on his green flannel shirt. I was decked out with 2 jackets and two shirts. But Happy was one of those who wore a heavy flannel shirt at the most in a blizzard.
"That's where we'll hunt," It was getting light and we hadn't put decoys out yet and the birds were flying. I reached forward and pulled the decoy bag to me to start putting them out when I was reminded of my surgery. The pain was sharp and I wasn't taking my med.'s yet because I was going to be operating a shot gun I didn't want to be foolish.
Happy put the boat to shore and killed the motor (turned it off) Hopped out of the boat and began tossing decoys out. I readied the shot gun and got Numchucks to lay down at my feet on the John boats floor. I tied the ammo bag to his tail to weigh it down from wagging in the air, a sign to the birds "Here we are."