I want to tell a story about a man that I think is a hero. They called him Get Hot, but his real name was Clarence. He was my grandfathers brother, I was a young teenager who’s father had left. Times were hard and I could have done some bad things except for Get Hot. One day out of the blue he stopped by our house and asked me if I wanted to go coon hunting, I had never been before and said sure. I did not know what to expect but the idea of a man asking to go hunting was exciting to me.
As it turned out over the next few years I hunted just about every night when season was in, he even gave me my first dog. I can remember very cold winter nights when he was getting on in years and could not walk to the tree any more he would say, go get him, I will be here when you get back, and off I would go. One of the last hunts I had with him will always be in my heart. It was a new years night. The air was so cold you could almost here your voice freeze when you spoke. The dogs treed at the river bank and we walked to them, it was a very large boar coon and very heavy. By the time we made it back to the truck Get Hot was very tired and so was I but the dogs were not ready to quit. They would tree and we would call them, then they would hit again and tree again. Sitting there in the truck and watching the light from the town across the river bounce off the clouds because they were so low and hearing the geese honking as they flew over is still a very vivid memory.
This man did not have to take a kid hunting or answer all the questions a teenager can have or put up with a smart mouth, but he did. I was not there when he passed and I will always regret that, but in my heart I know he watches from on high each night I hunt my dogs. And I can still hear him say, Go get him boy. Some day I hope to see him again and thank him. I hope heaven has a place for coon hunters, if so I know he is there, with King, Lot, & Midge.