Ole Pete’s Great Grandson Rocky

written by Mary Lou McKillip

Well as story has it I am from the famous Pete the Coon Dawg of Jimmy Martin the Bluegrass singer. My master bought me from a coon hunter who said I was the great grandson of Ole Pete. He also said Jimmy Martin said he was still getting royalties from the songs, legions of Ole Pete his coon hunting dog. Jimmy died, but not his fame or his famous Coon Dawg Pete stories or Jimmy’s Bluegrass records and tapes.

My master said I had Pete’s markings and his quick thinking when it comes to out foxing the coons. This saying gives me the big head, but I can strut my stuff by proving to be as good as my old great grand Pappy Pete. I head ever night over the Virginia hills and prove to be the great blood line I am. It is not easy trapsing over the ridges and down in the black hollers. It can get mighty spooky on a foggy night just by lantern light and a old man pitching and growling ever step he takes. I shake my sorry head and let it drift out one ear and then out the other. Why my old master’s braggin and tale toting could cause a good coon dawg to drink. I know it could if I could get Oscar Wise’s moonshine. He just put an extra tad of sugar or sumpin in his corn liquor. The bees sure get higher and higher as they swarm over the jug of Ole Walter’s half empty jug of moonshine. Now old Walter is nye on to eighty ever bit of it. That old coot takes a step and farts every other one he takes. He lets the coons know he is in the woods.

Now back in the log cabin near the Virginia line is the Missus Corrie Lee dipping her snuff and churning. She has an old spit can which no one is allowed to move. Ole Walter growls like a coon dog when she spits snuff on his radio. She’s a ornery one, yes she is and does thing just to aggravate old Walter, by golly she gets the job done too. I look for him to wring her neck one day and I wouldn’t blame him in the least. She can cook, but the thought of her spittin snuff in my corn bread gets this old coon dawg’s skin to crawling. She turns Walter’s radio up so high the buzzards won’t even fly low to scavenge for the sound.

Walter swears he is going to trade me off when I don’t find that old coon as soon as he would like me to tree it. Well I reckon old Rocky is gettin old or at least that is the way I feel at times or just stress from the two of them yakking at each other all the time.

I had a night mare the other night and I dreamed that old coon attacked me and chewed me up like whet leather. I got jumpy and every thing that moved I thought it was the coon grabbing at me. That darn dream had me shook up for all the next day. I thought about going up to the Tennessee border and taking a vacation from coon hunting, but they would have a reward out for me because I was the blood line from old Pete. My girl friend who lives about three miles from Walter and me told the other day she didn’t like getting old. I said, “well heck Sassy honey, join the crowd. Dawg or man don’s like it, but what can a dawg or man do about it.”

I bet the coon is thinking about getting old too and fears I’m going to nab him, don’t you reckon?

Walter got up and he was staggering around like a chicken with his neck rung and then he hit the floor cold as ice. Corrie Lee run to the neighbors’ and got Clarence Mattis and they took him to the hospital and the doctor said he had a light stroke and his coon huntin days were over. Heck, they didn’t know Walter, as soon as he could walk he’d be getting his gun and whistling for me Rocky to climb in his old Chevrolet truck and we’d go rolling up the slopes and down the valley to hunt coons. I reckon he’d be just as well off going huntin as staying home listening to Corrie Lee fuss and fume all day over nothing. Time rocked on and Walter didn’t improve and he lost some of his brain way of thinking. He got like a baby just wanting to sleep all the time. Oh Lord, what would happen to me? I’d just be sold or shot if Corrie Lee had her way about it. I had to butter up to Clarence Mattis and get with his coon dawgs and start to hunt with them. Just maybe Clarence would take me over. Things rocked on and Walter didn’t improve and I was getting attached to Clarence and his best coon dawg Amos. One day Clarence asked Walter if he would sell me to him.

Walter said, “not Rocky I can’t sell Rocky, but I’ll give him to you if you will raise me a pup from him and keep old Pete’s blood line alive.”

I met the charming Missy Dawg and she took a shine to me and we had some fine coon dog pups. Clarence gave Walter one of my pups that was just like me and Pete. Walter called him Pete the fourth instead of naming him after me, I’d proved to be the dawg my great grand pappy ever was.

Clarence had a fine Missus her name was Rachael and boy could she cook. She was clean as a pen and my cornbread was always hot and tasted so good she gave me. I’d come over every day and visit with Walter and the Missus and one day that Corrie Lee spit her snuff square dab in my eyes. I was about to take her well hidden leg off as she swapped by. She was so mean the devil would have her soul before her last breath.

Walter saw what she did and said, “Corrie Lee, you’re so mean you can’t stand yourself, Rocky never done nothin to you, you Ole Heifer.”

She snarled up and rolled her fist at Walter like she was going to hit him and then is when I stepped between them and I raised my bristles and she knew I ment Business. She set her bag of bones down where she belonged. Walter laughed and said, “you like to have got what you deserved you old woman.”

Poor old Corrie Lee took pneumonia and died a week later and no one came on the place. It was sad, now old Walter was left alone. He had a daughter Rosie Lee who sang Bluegrass, she came and took him into Kentucky and sold Walter’s old cabin and buried Corrie Lee.

Now I still miss Walter and Corrie Lee too as I trasped over the hills of Virginia huntin coons with Clarence Mattis and his coon dawg Amos.

Time changes things, but it can’t take our memories away from Dawgs or Man. Just wish I’d spoke up and told old Walter how much I cared for him and old Corrie Lee too I guess. He’d probably had another stroke if I’d told him.

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