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A Day In The Woods, Coming of Age in Texas 1966

A Day In The Woods, Coming of Age in Texas 1966

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A Day In The Woods, Coming of Age in Texas 1966

152 Seiten
2 Stunden
Apr 26, 2019


    At twelve years old, Bo is unexpectedly promoted from child to man during this special hunting weekend in the woods of East Texas.  He faces a series of tests: corralling his wayward brothers, protecting his mother's shotgun, keeping track of his prized knife, and meeting his demanding father's expectations.  He may even impress the girl he likes—who happens to be the only girl on the hunt. 

Travel back to a time when families hunted together and dogs were held in higher esteem than children; at least the children thought so.

Fans of movies like A Christmas Story, My Girl, and The Sandlot will want to read this instant classic today.

Apr 26, 2019

Über den Autor


A Day In The Woods, Coming of Age in Texas 1966 - Doyle Carver

A Day In The Woods

Coming of Age in Texas, 1966

Doyle C. Carver

Copyright C 2019 Doyle C. Carver

First Edition

All Rights Reserved

ISBN-13: 978-1-7338779-0-9


To my Father, who worked six or seven days a week for so many years yet still found time to carry his boys with him on his days off.  While he may have been sunburnt and calloused he still taught me to make a fancy tie look good. He knows this is a fictional story, but not by much.

Thanks, Daddy, I mean, Dad.

Table of Contents

#1 Hurry Home

#2 Awake!

#3 Riding to the Woods

#4 Waiting at Squirrel Camp

#5 Into the Woods

#6. The Chase

#7 Dinner Time in the Woods

#8 Passing

#9 The Kill

#10 The Gift

#11 Loading Out

#12 Home Again

#1 Hurry Home


Mr. Bugeyes was in a mood. You would think he would ignore the noise coming from the back of the bus. As usual, my brothers were creating some sort of trouble back there. They did it every day, yet he never failed to get annoyed about it. Bugeyes threw irritated frowns at them. He had a big rearview mirror above his head, and when he looked back at us, his eyes were impossibly large, hence his name.

The boys calmed down a bit, at least till he stopped looking, then renewed their spit wad attack on some hapless kid who should have known better than to sit that far back in the rear of the bus—their territory—and to even think of mounting resistance.

Everyone admitted they were a fierce team of mayhem anywhere they went. However, they didn't want to annoy Mr. Bugeyes to the point that he told Daddy about their behavior. If the bus driver complained, it would mean an instant whipping wherever they were at the time. Daddy didn’t mind it being public either.

Brody, the middle brother, was the ringleader. When trouble arrived, it was generally at his command. He was basically different from everybody else in the family in that he had blond cotton-curly hair, while we all had brown straight hair; maybe wavy on a good day. He was also a head shorter than me, even though we were eleven months apart. We had an uncle he was the spitting image of; everyone said. So, we supposed to ourselves he was legit but we still used that against him when we could.

The other thing that set him even further apart was his lightning wit for insults and his uncanny ability to do things older than his years. When he was a baby, he could whistle before I learned to, even though I was a year older. He was lightweight and agile and could skip, jump rope, walk across creeks on tree trunks, and even do cartwheels a couple years before I could do any of those things. He learned to tell time, yet hated to read; never thinking beyond any joke or mayhem he conceived. He almost always got caught and got more whippings than any kid I ever knew. It occurred to me he was unbelievably tough. He had to be.

My other brother, Brady, was the youngest and the ultimate follower, in that he did whatever Brody dreamed up and was in tow for every misadventure. As a little boy, he was agreeable to just about anything, good or bad. Though he was a year younger, he was about an inch shorter with the same light build as Brody.

They represented a boyhood team of maliciousness and were caught together many times, sometimes even by the local police. Dad whipped them both often. Many times it was obvious that Brady just followed Brody.

One thing about Brady was that he was meticulous and would sometimes clean things, even when not asked. If given a screwdriver, he would totally dismantle anything it fit. We thought surely he would be an engineer or a mechanic someday. Another thing I almost forgot was that he stuttered pretty badly some days. We were so used to it, we honestly didn't notice till an outsider would bring it up. The condition ran in my family, as Daddy and all us boys stuttered when we were younger. Brady was the only one to be stuck with it as he grew older.

I’m Bo, the older, wiser brother, calm and collected most of the time. I was tall compared to them and everyone else in my family. Skinny too, with glasses I was constantly pushing up off my nose. I made good grades and never got in trouble, at least compared to my brothers. I was a great reader and a barely middling football player that I'm sure should have joined the school band instead. Dad liked football, so I stayed in it, attempting to impress him. At the moment that strategy wasn't working very well. Keeping him impressed. Maybe this hunt would change things.

My window was down about halfway as it wasn't overly cool. The bus got stuffy if all the windows were closed. Dust, grit, and exhaust fumes came and went. Someone threw a paper airplane out at a kid as he got off the bus. He checked to see if the bus driver was looking and waved a middle finger as he walked away, which was dangerous since somebody could report him.

We rumbled on over to our neighborhood, turned left on Warely Road, and we were home. As Mr. Bugeyes slammed open the doors, we bailed out. He abruptly drove off without letting us cross the road in front of him. He was mad. He got that way sometimes, and it wasn't always because of my brothers. This got him in bad trouble a couple years later when he nearly ran over Brady.

We ran into the yard to our squirrel dog Buck, who was barking and whining like crazy watching us from his doghouse. The chicken pen was behind him, so all the hens ran up to the fence, making a racket to help welcome us home. Buck jumped all around in excitement, or at least as much as his leash would let him. The leash was about fifty feet long and allowed him to run back and forth in the yard. He was a traveling dog and would run off if we didn't tie him up.

Nobody fenced their yards in those days. Fences were reserved for cattle, horses or chickens, maybe. We loved on him, as was our ritual, and checked his water and food along with the chickens, then ran into the house to catch the last of The Three Stooges before it ended. It was only thirty minutes long, so we had plenty of time to go outside and play or finish whatever chores Daddy had given us the day before.

While the Stooges were funny, I don't remember that we ever actually laughed at them. We did carefully memorize a few of their routines and mimicked them later outside. None of us could really do Curly Joe’s laugh, though we all tried. We play-slapped each other upside the head and poked each other in the eyes in such a way that none of us got hurt. We had watched the funny men for a long time and knew they weren't really hurting each other.

Momma came in at the end of the show and stood in the dining room doorway. Her brown hair was ratted and poofed up on the top of her head. She wore a button-up blouse tucked into high-waisted jeans that only reached down as far as her calves. Her arms were crossed sternly as she leaned against the frame. She wore those two-pair-for-three-dollar tennies from Payless.

Where's y'alls homework?

I immediately started digging in my satchel while Brody and Brady hemmed and hawed and scratched their heads with a pitiful blank look on their faces. I showed mine, got a curt nod, and stowed it back neatly in its folder. The boys dutifully took their bags to the table and began to show Momma whatever they had.

I had knocked my homework out earlier in the lunch room. I didn't want any interruptions this evening. I still had to do some reading, but Momma knew I was a fast reader and could even do it on the bus if I had to. Somehow I had the same love of reading that she had. My brothers didn't though. They couldn’t care less for it, even though we were all read to as children. I always looked forward to it, while they avoided it to the death. 

Our extra town entertainment was to go to our little county library and find books for us all to read. We would spend half a day there. I discovered Louis L'amour, Heinlein, Andre Norton, Asimov, Clarke and on and on. My fallback was Dr. Seuss, though it was too young for me by that point. I tried to get an armload to carry home and then read them one by one before the time I had to turn them all back in.

Momma was a heavy reader too, but I can't remember the kind of books she read. I just never paid attention. I do remember her spending a long time getting ready to go to the library, or to the feed store, or to school events, or really anywhere. She cared a lot about how she looked. She would pile her hair high on her head in beehive fashion and then wear what she called pedal pushers. Her clothes were brightly colored and modern to us. We just wore jeans and shirts year-round. Boys’ clothes were always utility and important only in the work or play they allowed us to do. Momma’s clothes, though, were straight from Sears Roebuck, or Montgomery Ward’s, or even Penney's. She didn't have many, but what she did have was beautiful to us boys. She would model them sometimes for fun, and we would clap and ooh and ah for her.

She was the epitome of a powerful, beautiful female and was how we judged all women we knew. When Momma was grouchy, we tried our best to clean up around the house, make her a snack, or bring her wildflowers from the field out back. Sometimes she would tell us that it was her special time of the month and that she didn't feel good. It was all a mystery to us, so we loved on her as best as boys could to make her special time better.

Still working on homework, my brothers assumed their most helpless looks and started scribbling on papers and glancing back at Momma. Finally, I reminded her that we had chores to do outside that required daylight, chores that Daddy had ordered. She reluctantly let us go with promises to check our homework later.

While my brothers didn't mind me hardly at all, they didn't want to make Daddy mad and tentatively followed my orders to get ready for the next day. We got out the game vests and made sure they were empty of shell casings, trash, or anything else that didn't need to be carried into the woods. We pulled out Daddy's old metal Igloo and began to wash it out, making sure there was no sand or grit in the bottom. I ran in and reminded Momma we needed extra ice, so she placed more ice trays in our little freezer. We would probably need to buy extra on the way out in the morning, but we always tried to save money where we could.

I went back outside and found my brothers were gone. I noticed our single running bicycle missing and wondered which one got it first. No matter, I could do better by myself than spend all my time corralling them. I filled up a couple of old milk jugs with water, either for Buck to drink, or for washing our hands. I made sure to get Buck's hubcap water bowl and added it to the pile.

I assumed Daddy had plenty of shells for his .22 caliber rifle and that it was clean and ready to go. If not, we would probably clean everything tonight before we went to bed. Regardless, that was not my arena. I didn't have the key to the gun cabinet because Daddy considered it totally off limits to us. The most he would allow was for

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