[Vfw-times] Adventures in Chattahoochee Hollar - Mystery Bag (5/?)
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Heartsh0t at aol.com
Thu Jun 15 20:48:57 CDT 2000
The three boys approached the tractor.
âCan we go fishinâ now, Daddy?â Travis asked.
âNot today, Travis. Itâs starting to get late, and you boys will need to
for bed soon.â
Travis ran his arms into the deep pockets of his overalls. Feeling the dead,
forgotten fish, he brought it out.
âWhat can we do with this?â
âWe still have ours, too!â Wadell and Strogie said, reaching for their fish.
Mr. Foxley looked at the three boys.
âCome here,â Mr. Foxley said, getting off of the tractor. The boys
the man. He took out his pocket knife and digged three holes around some
bean sprouts. He then took the fish and buried one in each hole, and
back up with the dark soil.
âThese fish will serve as fertilizer,â he told the onlooking boys.
âGo and tell your brother itâs time to quit and come inside.â
âOkay,â Travis said, and ran with his friends to the next field. Mr.
his tractor up again and rode it home.
Travis, Wadell, and Strogie enjoyed a ride on the mules as Johnny led them
back to the barn. When the boys arrived back at the house, Mrs. Foxley stood
on the porch and greeted Travis and his friends at the door with her hands on
her hips, and a dish towel draped over her shoulder.
"Okay boys, it's bath time. I've just about have your water ready. Go out
"Oh, Mommy, can't we skip tonight?" Travis squealed. The muskrat brothers
"Are you serious, boy? We've got church tomorrow! All three of you
scalleywags need a good scrubbin'! Now get out there on the back porch and
get your clothes off, all three of you!"
The boys went around to the back of the house. On the back porch sat a large
galvanized metal wash tub. Several dirty children could fit inside that tub
time. By the time Mrs. Foxley came back outside with some more warm water,
the boys were already inside the wash tub, splashing soapy water at each other
and laughing. She poured the water into the wash tub from a kettle she had
heated from the stove, and poured in a little more bubble bath. Then, she
tossed in some lye soap and set some towels in a rocking chair near the tub.
"Don't get any of that soap in your eyes, and be sure you scrub behind those
ears!" Mrs. Foxley said. "I'm going to inspect you when you come out, and
those ears and the rest of you better be clean!"
The boys went back to splashing each other when the vixen went back inside
to heat some more water. Around the corner of the house, Anna heard the
voices of her younger brother and his friends laughing and having a good
She peered around the corner and saw the boys taking a bath. The youngsters
were only visible from the chest up inside that huge tub. The temptation to
a bucket of cold ice water on the boys stirred up inside her. She chuckled
idea, and then thought better of it when she remembered the incident with
at lunchtime. She turned back around, away from the boys. As she
walk away, she heard the back screen door open and close, and then heard
startled cries coming from the boys. Anna quickly peered around the corner
once more and saw her older brother, Johnny, standing over the boys with an
empty bucket, laughing.
"Hey, that's cold!" Travis squealed. "We're gonna get you back for that!"
"Yeah, and you're gonna pay!" Strogie added.
The trio tried to splash Johnny several times, but he ran off the porch and
stood too far away.
"You chicken!" Wadell yelled at Johnny. He pointed at Johnny and looked at
Travis. "He's standin' over there so he can't get wet!"
"Bawk-bawk-bawk-bawk," Strogie said to Johnny, tucking his arms under and
flapping them like a chicken.
Anna stood at the corner, laughing, watching the spectacle. Johnny went
back up onto the porch and walked over to the boys and splashed water in
their faces, thus beginning a water fight. In about a minute, most of the
had been splashed out of the tub, and Johnny was soaking wet. The screen
door opened and closed as Mrs. Foxley came out with more warm water for the
tub. She looked at Johnny and at the boys.
"What are you boys doing?"
She looked at Johnny and the boys and started to laugh. "Looks like you've
already had your bath," she joked with her oldest son.
"Hey Mom, I thought I'd mess with them a little bit."
"It's okay, I'm glad all of you are out here having a good time," his mother
âIt's almost time to eat though, so go and get some dry clothes on."
Johnny picked up a wet towel. "Ummm, Mom, we need some dry towels out
here. These have gotten wet."
"Okay, I'll bring out some dry ones." "Travis, you and your friends need to
and finish with your bath. It's about time to eat. I'll bring you some dry
out here so you can dry off."
"Okay!" Travis answered, splashing Wadell in the face with some water.
"Travis! Don't do that son! That bar of lye soap has been in that water,
will sting his eyes!"
"Okay Mommy!" Travis answered. He looked at his friend. "Uh...sorry
The vixen returned back inside the house, when Wadell started bawling. Travis
got up close to Wadell to see if he had gotten any of that soapy water in his
eyes. When Travis got up close, Wadell pushed Travisâs face away, and Travis
fell down inside the tub. Wadell laughed at Travis and pointed at him.
"Heh heh heh, you thought I got soap in my eyes!"
"Oh yeah...?" Travis said. He then splashed water at Wadell.
Johnny stood back laughing, as Mrs. Foxley returned outside with the dry
and bedtime clothes for the children. Johnny took a towel and went inside.
Anna, who was still watching from the corner of the house went back around to
the front of the house and went inside.
"Okay boys, let's get out. It's time to dry off and get dressed. Be sure
your dirty clothes with you." Mrs. Foxley said, chuckling.
The vixen laid the towels and the clothes on the rocking chair and went back
After supper was finished and dishes were washed and put away, the family
congregated in the den for family altar. Mr. Foxley read from the book of
in the Bible. After prayer, everyone went outside to enjoy the night air.
Mr. and Mrs. Foxley sat in the porch swing and the children sat in the rocking
chairs and on the porch. Johnny quietly strummed his guitar. One by one,
stars appeared in the night sky. All sat and listened as Mr. Foxley spoke
time when he was a boy, working this land his father gave him. He spoke
what he could remember from the turn of the century, and how the way of life
was during the first world war. After about two hours, the Foxleys sent
children to bed.
Finally alone, Mrs. Foxley sighed and put her head on her husband's shoulder.
Mr. Foxley cuddled her, and both looked out at the calm night. Travis came
back from downstairs and peeked outside the door. Mr. Foxley's ears swiveled
around as he heard the screen door open behind him. Smelling Travis's scent,
he knew immediately who it was.
"Yes son, what is it?"
"Come out here where we can see you."
Travis came outside on the porch in his pajamas. Wadell and Strogie were
still standing inside at the door watching. The vulpine couple looked at
son lovingly, and then smiled at each other.
"Umm...about today," Travis spoke. Mr. and Mrs. Foxley turned to face their
again. "When we were at the store, somethin' strange happened."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, when me an' Anna an' Wadell an' Strogie got to Mr. Max's store, there
was this raccoon man staring at me." Mrs. Foxley looked at her husband, and
then turned to face Travis again.
"He seemed to know my first name, and then he asked me if my name was
"What did you tell him?"
"I told him I was, and then when I did, he acted like he had seen a ghost or
something. He ran out of the store and took off the fastest I've ever seen."
"I asked Mr. Max how he knew my name, but he said he didn't know."
The Foxleys sat up in their chair.
"Did you ask Mr. Max who that man was?" Mrs. Foxley asked.
"Yes ma'am. He said the man's name is Mr. Simon Ringtail. Mr. Max said
he moved here about two years ago and said he was living alone. Mr. Max
said that he thought the man didn't have any family around here."
The Foxley's looked at each other and then back to their son.
"Hmmmm....the next time a stranger tries to talk to you or asks your name,
him you're not allowed to speak to strangers and walk away." Mr. Foxley
Travis looked down at his feet and then gave his father a worried look.
"Don't worry about it. He probably just overheard your name from
News travel fast in this small town."
"Yeah, maybe he heard about my accident or somethin'."
"Could be....I'll talk to Mr. Max about it tomorrow. Don't worry, we won't
anything happen to you!" Mr. Foxley told his son.
Travis, feeling relieved, smiled at his father.
"Come here," Mr. Foxley said.
Travis went to his father and gave his father a hug. He hugged his mother as
well, and then went back inside the house. When both parents were sure he
had went to bed, they both looked at each other.
"Do you think that could be him....the robber?" Mrs. Foxley asked her husband.
"It's got to be. S. J. R. ....Simon Ringtail." "Besides, you heard what
said. Mr. Max said he moved here two years ago and has no family."
"What are you going to do, Jack?"
"I'm going to go talk to Mr. Max tomorrow after church. He might be able to
me where this Mr. Ringtail lives."
"Oh, Jack! Please don't rush into anything!" "Let the police handle it."
"It's okay Chey, I'll be fine."
Mrs. Foxley gave her husband a worried look. Mr. Foxley put his arm around
his wife and cuddled her to reassure her.
"Everything will be fine. Don't worry about it. I just want to find out
who he is."
Mrs. Foxley sighed and looked at her husband. She nestled in his arms and
put her head on his chest.
"I just don't want anything to happen to you, that's all."
The vulpine man smiled at his wife and hugged her and kissed the top of her
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