Fox Huntin' in the East Tennessee Mountains
Reflections of my past...
When I started work for the USPS in Bluff City TN 37618 in 1973 I was all eyes and ears. I was classified as a Part Time Flexible Employee. I come to find out that all that meant was that I was the new kid on the block. I didn't know anything about working the mail. But I was soon to learn, and not only about the mail and the Post Office but also a few other things about life in general. My Tudor or trainers' name was Charles (Peppy) Smith and he was a Part Time Flexible or PTF just like me, but he had twenty-two years experience. Peppy soon became my best friend and taught me things in the first two years of my postal experience that I carried throughout the nearly thirty-five years of my federal life.
he was for certain the life of that little second class office
Peppy was a 'card', a 'hoot' anything else you can refer to that would signify humor or laughter. You couldn't be around Peppy for five minutes until you would be laughing. Peppy was a fun person and everyone in town liked Peppy. Patrons would come to the front window of the post office and ask to speak to Peppy before they would ask for the postmaster. If there was not enough 'chatter' going on as we were working, Peppy would crack a joke, or say anything that would get the rest of us laughing as we worked. He definitely was not the fastest to work the mail, I soon learned the scheme of things and could work faster, but he was for certain the life of that little second class office.
I don't think Peppy ever intended to be more than what he was right then
The postmaster that hired me later told me that Peppy was slow, would never progress within the postal service, but I don't think Peppy ever intended to be more than what he was right then; a PTF and the life of our local office. His mother had been postmaster earlier and had hired her son to help with the mail and he just stayed on after his mom died. He had even tried to run the post office as postmaster but found that was just too much for him. He was satisfied with being a PTF clerk and working the mail.
I was about to learn some more from Peppy...
Peppy had another love besides the post office. He liked to fox hunt. He even ask me to go once and of course I was all for it. He had never married and lived in the old home place with his three hound dogs that he had paid top dollar for. I was about to learn some more from Peppy. He said he would get everything ready with some more friends and we would go this Friday evening after supper. I told him I only had a 22 caliber rifle but could borrow one from my brother-in-law if I needed something stronger. He said I wouldn't need one. They never killed the foxes. I was about to learn the fine art of fox hunting in the local mountains.
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The dogs were barking feverishly
It was nothing like I imagined. You didn't ride horseback and someone blow a silly little horn, nothing like that. I meet Peppy and his friends about 6:30 PM and I rode with him in his truck. The dogs were barking feverishly, ready for some action. You couldn't hear one another speak for the barking as we drove up the mountain road to a clearing about half-way up. We pulled up to an open area and tied the dogs to some trees as we begin to start a fire with firewood one of the others had brought.
huntin' dogs video
"that was neither one, that was Jake"
I guess it must have been about 7:30 when they decided to turn the dogs loose and then everyone just sat around the fire and talked, whittling and chewing tobacco. I kept waiting for something to happen and after about twenty minutes I heard one of the dogs let out with a yelp. "That's ole Bob on that south slope..." a few minutes later another dog started barking and Peppy said, "Yea, that's Blue follerin' suit--" and the guys just kept whittlin' and spittin' looking in the fire while listening for the sound of their dogs. When we heard the dogs again, no one spoke and I was wondering, well? So I ask, "was that Bob or Blue?" The guys just about died laughing. What did I do? Peppy just calmed the other fellows down long enough to say, "that was neither one, that was Jake." Then the guys started laughing again while whittlin' and chewin'.
I don't know what they got the biggest kick out of that night. Listening to their dogs as they chased something up the next ridge over, or laughing as me because I didn't recognize the voice of one of their prize fox hunting dogs.
© 2010 SamSonS
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