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Sunday, February 20, 2011

No. 1 "You'll freeze to death this winter!"

My Uncle Teff (Telford Willis) was, like so many of his neighbors, an avid hunter of loons. The fact that loons eventually became a protected species only seemed to enhance the excitement of bagging one of these migratory birds. In early Spring of each year, hunters would line the south shore of Harkers Island to prepare a one-sided gauntlet that stretched at least two miles long. Each hunter would in turn take their chances at shooting the birds as they flew just beyond the tide-line each morning looking for food.

On one particular morning a gallant loon made his way eastward along the shore as hunter after hunter fired their shells in his direction. But because the tide line had formed a bit farther out than usual, most of them would either miss the bird entirely, or else their shot would break only a few feathers that would flutter out, but failed to pierce the skin, as the loon continued his path towards Shell Point. When eventually it came abreast of my Uncle Teff, he arose from his perch and fired two shells that he was confident would hit their mark.

But, just as with the other marksmen, a few feathers flew out and down, while the bird kept flying as if nothing had even touched him. Greatly frustrated by his failure to bring down the loon, Teff finally jumped up and raised his fist in the direction of his prey and shouted, "Fly dern ye, you may live now but you'll freeze to death this winter!"

7 comments:

  1. We had visiting High Council Speakers today. One spoke of keeping a history of your people, and how to neglect this duty is to ensure that your memory is all but gone in a couple of generations. Made me think of you, with fondness, of course. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, for doing this Pa! I love it even in its infancy, and I'm sure as it grows, I'll love it even more! Remind you of anything? ;)

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  2. Joel .. you have talked about this for years; so glad to see it coming through. It is in your heart. All of Harkers Island - past, present and future - long to hear your stories, because they are our story too! I kin ye Brother - from another mother.

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  3. He's actually already got 120 written... so it is coming together!! Thanks Leah- Thanks Karen- The best is yet to be!! (In more ways than one~)

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  4. Can't wait! Want to reserve my copies!!!!

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  5. I can hear the words "fly damn ye..." although I cannot say I knew your Uncle Teff...simply beautiful. Love it too! Never did like loon tho..lol.I would eat the dumplings and rutabagas instead :)

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  6. Wonderful! Glad you are doing this . .. glad you have time to do this! I wish my dad would find the time to record his tales . . . perhaps I can help him with that this summer! :) Love you so much, Joel. Can't get enough of you and your wisdom!!!

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