I guess I should start this by saying I probably shouldn't be telling you this story at all. Just for the sake of "saving face", I'll change his name. We'll call him "Mike". Mike is my husband and coon hunting partner.
Have you ever met someone so graceful that when you watched them move you could hardly believe your eyes? Well, being a coon hunter's wife, that's how I perceive Mike. I can't tell you the number of times we have gone out hunting and I have come home soaked from head to toe. There are always logs to cross, or slick banks to slide down and for some reason, Mike never falls. He is always so graceful in the way that he seems to glide across even the smallest of logs. It has always made me a little envious. Until now.
This actually took place this past January. Being from South Carolina, you never really know how the weather is going to be. I have seen summer-like days in January, and snow on a softball field in March. This just happened to be one of those cold nights in January. The kind of night that you would really like to say, "No, Boo, you go ahead and I'll stay here and cook." (The only reason I went was because there were too many pup's to work and he needed a hand).
We started out like we always do, down toward the river. Hoping there maybe a coon catching some dinner, we hurried along. As luck may have it, there he was, on the other side of the river. Being the kind of man Mike is, he tried to find the easiest way across. The river this time of year can be extremely deep in places. Not only that, it is very cold. (Trust me.) Well, Mike found a rather large oak tree that reached all the way across to the other side.
"I can do this", I thought. There went a couple dogs on across. They did well. As I began to cross, I checked to be sure there was nothing else on the log behind me that might run up and knock me off. All clear. As I neared the end of the log, I glanced back again. There behind me, just beginning his cross over was Mike. I gave him my little "I did it" smile, and he grinned right back at me. The cat was on the prowl.
I heard the sweet music of a treed dog, the rustle of leaves as pups checked back, and then I heard a very loud splash. I looked behind me again and saw no one. I looked into the water and just below the surface, almost under that big oak tree, I saw a light. For a moment I thought, "How weird." Keep in mind; I have never seen a fully clothed coon hunter under water with his coon light still burning brightly. It didn't take him long, and up he came. When he surfaced, the look on his face was worth a million dollars. I couldn't help myself! I began to laugh. Oh, I tried not to. All he could say is "I'm sssoooo cold".
I helped him out and we began grabbing dogs and heading for home. He was cold. Very cold…..just as I had been so many times before.
Now when I pass by that old oak tree still lying across one of the deepest parts of the south fork on the Edisto River in Ridge Spring, SC, I still smile. That's the spot where Mr. Grace became Mr. Soaking Wet.
But ya know what? Now when I fall in, he's always there to help me out, and we hurry and catch the dogs and head for home. He hasn't given up on me yet!
Until he reads this!