Pussy Galore

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Six days of searching for any big cat sign, hunting in the wilderness five hours east of Vancouver, in Canada,  yielded little more than some minor chaffing and disappointment.  My husband was smelling ripe after wearing the same clothes ever since his outpost cabin burned down.  Admittedly, he was jinxed getting a lynx.

On the last day of the hunt, in the last hour, he heard a big Tom screech.  His mind’s eye flickered with a flashback to the old Mercury car commercials….it was the throaty growl of a confident cougar!  High stepping in stealth mode, John stalked it.  When he was within 50 yards, he realized that this old boy was about to mount a female.  Two cougars!

He turned off the safety, gingerly raised the barrel, took aim through the scope, and expertly blew that big Tom right off of the back of his woman.  185 lbs. of muscle and mean collapsed and fell to the ground.  He thought about letting the cat have his fun first, but he thought, “Oh, this cat is screwed already.”  With daylight fading, he really had no choice but to pull the trigger.  BOOM.   John gutted it and flanked the hide over his shoulders for the walk out.

The next morning, he transferred his trophy from the outfitter’s truck to the roof of a rented Alero and headed for the border.  There was six inches of fresh snow on the road and a blowing arctic wind swirled mercilessly with whiteouts; visibility was less than 20 feet and it was pitch-black-out-early.  No moon.  He had lots of luck on this trip, but it was mostly bad.

Now it is one thing to travel internationally with a rifle, a load of bullets, and some raw meat and quite another to do the same without identification, luggage, or money and projecting an aroma much like Pig-Pen’s from the Peanuts Comic Strip.   The fire had reduced all of his worldly possessions to ash.  He had no real shelter, no water, and no  civilization for a week. There were tracks as wide as I-75 in his under britches and his socks smelled of something that died a long time ago.  He was technically destitute in a foreign country and had to prove  he was a U.S. Citizen to the Consulate in Vancouver by knowing the full names, dates of birth, and cities of birth of both of his parents and his wife.  Successful, he was then photographed in his filthy clothing and his sprouting, grey beard.  New Passport in hand, he had what he needed to claim a seat on the next flight home.  I was thankful not to be anywhere on that airplane.

With his usual luck, the next best flight home hopscotched across the country in every direction with three big layovers and four connections lasting two days.  He landed in hot climates wearing his only shirt, a heavy woolen one, which caused beads of sweat to fester between his shoulder blades and roll down into his butt crack.  He soldiered on in his wet pants and heavy boots, arriving in Detroit 20 hours later.  I saw a lady being wheeled out with an oxygen mask and wondered, “Coincidence?”

 

 

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