Deer Run Trail, By David R LewisNodaway Trail, by David R LewisOn the Calico Trail, by David R LewisOn the Payback Trail, by David R LewisOn the Ogallala Trail, by David R LewisOn the Killdeer Trail, by David R LewisOn the Cutthroat Trail, by David R LewisEndless Journey Toward an Unknown Destination, by David R LewisIncidents Among the Savages, by David R LewisFear of the Father:  Call Me Crockett, by David R Lewis

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The Hunt

Amos Beals was an immense man, at least to my little kid eyes.  Distantly related to my grandfather, Amos lived out in the country on a hardscrabble farm and was perpetually clothed in a railroad engineer’s cap, bib overalls – or “biblicals” as he called them – and brogan shoes.  A shirt was optional, depending on the weather.  He had hands the size of my baseball glove, a sudden roaring laugh, and a speech impediment that sometimes made him difficult to understand.  He had three sons, all significantly older than I.  His eldest was Max, who I hardly knew because he was off in school at the University of Illinois learning about animals and husbands, or something like that.  Bobby, the middle son, was a quiet and thoughtful young man with quick dark eyes and a gentle way about him.  He was a genius with horses – a horse whisperer long before the term was coined – who taught me to ride when I was very young.  Dale, the third in line, was a raucous blonde-headed fireplug – reckless, fearless, hard-charging, and my favorite.  He burned brightly and died at only 31 in an altercation between his motorcycle and an immoveable object.  The prospect of going to Amos’ place on a Sunday afternoon made suffering through church even more painful.  An hour is a very long time in the life of a child.

Amos and the boys were country to the bone.  They kept hens for eggs and fried chicken, cows for milk, butter, and cream, cattle and hogs to butcher for meat, an orchard for fruit, and a garden for veggies.  They fished in the summer, trapped in the winter, and hunted all year long.  Between the house and the barn was a low shed with fenced pens on two sides.  The north side housed the bird dogs, the south side was where the ‘coon hounds stayed, and the beagles ran loose.  Such was their country life until Amos ran afoul of prosperity.  Success sneaked up on Amos Beals, a man who was fully ready to work from dawn ‘til done just to get by.  When his eldest son, Max, announced his intention to marry, Amos went down the road a ways, cleared an acre or so of cornfield next to the road and, with the help of Bobby and Dale, began to build Max a three bedroom house with an attached garage.  As they were pouring the driveway, a fella from the city drove by, stopped, and offered Amos about three times what the house cost him to build.  Amos took the money, went down the road a little farther, and began building Max a four bedroom house with a basement.  He sold that manse at a very handsome profit as he and Dale were planting a maple tree in what was soon to be the front yard.

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