February, a short month, but usually we are glad to see it go. As I start to write this month’s article, it is still January, just the first week. The reason I mention this is because just this week as I walked thru Wal-Mart, it was noticeably gone. What was gone? All the bright Christmas decorations and especially the upbeat and happy mood of people. Didn’t take long for the Scrooge effect to return.
I found this weather proverb about February…Foggy days in February mean frosts in May…so count the February fogs, and you’ll know when it’s safe to plant in May!
This month’s story is different than others for I didn’t write this story. It was written by my youngest daughter Sarah about 16 years ago for a school project. This story came about by talking to her Pappy Anderson about an event that took place in the early 1950’s. The story is “Brownie and the Panther”
“Pappy sat in the kitchen table resting his arms on the table before starting the story. “You know, those game biologists say there aren’t any panthers in this area, but they’re wrong,” he said with seriousness in his voice. “There was one here in 1954. And I know,” he continued, “because Old Brownie treed it.”
“When I got home that day, Mom told me, ‘I think Brownie’s got something treed back on the Little Mountain. You better go see what he’s got.’
“I could hear Brownie barking back near the Mountain Field. That dog was one of the best dogs we ever had. Brownie and Blackie were the hounds that got stolen the night of the fire, but boy, they were the best hounds we ever had.
“Anyway, I headed back toward the Little Mountain and followed the sound of Brownie’s barking. Once he had something treed, he wouldn’t quit.
“When I got there, he was circling the tree, just howling up at a critter out on a lim. When I looked up, I saw he had some kind of cat up in a maple. It wasn’t a bobcat. Us boys had hunted and killed plenty of bobcats, so we knew what they were, and we knew what it wasn’t. This thing’s body was longer than a bobcat’s, and it had a big long tail.
“I had the 22, so I shot it in the head, and it dropped out of the tree. Well, Brownie and Blackie jumped on it right away and started tearing into it. I grabbed it up from them, hauled it back to the house, and dropped it in the yard in front of the porch.
“I told Mom to come out and see what Old Brownie had treed. The thing that laid there on the ground was solid black and had a long skinny tail. Mom said, “Good Lord! What is that?”
“I remember saying, ‘I’m not sure what it is. I know it’s some kind of cat, but I’ve never seen one like that.’
“I took it over on the hill and buried the thing. I wish we’d kept it and mounted it. I did go back and look for the skeleton later, but it was gone.
“Don’t let anybody tell you that we don’t have panthers around here. I know we’ve had them since 1954.”
This story is in memory of
February 7, 1938–October 18, 2013
I hope you enjoyed Jimmies story, and I do want to add a very similar story of my own. It was in the late 70’s, and on a beautiful sunny afternoon Cammie and I decided to ride up dry river to the top of the mountain. We started up the mountain and had not gone far when a big doe came running down the ridge from our right and stopped right in front of our Bronco. The deer was visibly breathing hard, her sides heaving and mouth open. She turned and looked back in the direction she had come. We turned and looked up the big hollow where the deer was looking, and to our surprise we saw a big black, what we took to be a huge cat, come running down that hollow after the deer.
Of course, the deer took off like a flash and this big cat right after it. We both said, “What in the world was that?” It happened so fast we weren’t able to get a good look even though we were very close. All we know is that a big black animal that certainly looked like a cat with a long black tail was chasing a deer that day. If I had to guess, I’d say that deer was dinner to that cat that afternoon. So, when in the woods, be careful for you never know what critters are passing through these mountains.
Believe it or not.
Until next time