Two weekends back we celebrated the double Birthday of Fuzzcohort ,Caleb Yarian, and friend of the Fuzz, Josh Walker, with an overnight trip to Ridgeville, SC. Here we played old-world yard games like badminton or horse shoes and  killed targets with a .22 rifle. While we remained well aware that guns don’t kill people, we were extremely mindful not to start the heavy drinking until all ammo had been spent.

(Above: Kristen the Teacher demonstrates to the group how not to hold the target.)

(Above: Dulaan kills this target / pose with the .22 rifle. Yay! Bulls-eye!)

(Above: This Luger is obviously too deadly gangster to shoot. But in truth, its too dirty, and nobody dares to put their fingerprints on it.)

Ammo spent, we left the woods to visit Duke’s BBQ. Duke’s is a weekend only, all-you-care-to-eat-but-beware-big-eyes buffet. It is good all the way down and if you should decide to visit, make sure to b.y.o. spoon, b.y.o. cash, and see the business card shelf:

(Above: We aren’t sure what “honey doin'” is, but we like it.)

(Above: Post Duke’s real-country-store digestion session.)

(Above: Most who play rail-chicken die, but win. The few who survive mourn during a back-o-the-truck, back-o-the-woods ride home.)

Upon our return, the celebration of life takes place with heavy drinking, interrupted only by a tour of Neighbor Tommy’s 40 years-in-the-making taxidermy shop. The inquisitive city-folk in us fired more questions at him than bullets at the range, and however parched we were for answer-juice, we could not drain him. For his brain-fountain of knowledge proved to be a never-ending gusher. Learning ensued:

Neighbor Tommy tells us: squirrels are among the most difficult woodland creatures to stuff (probably too squirrelly). As well are fish, due to the painting process required which involves layer after layer of translucent paints.

Neighbor Tommy tells us: pets are out of the question (why shouldn’t we enjoy Brother’s lovable face forever?). You see, the prefabricated forms used with the popular game (deer, snakes, moose, etc.) don’t exist for our cuddly domestics. One alternative to form stretching is to use of wet wood pulp, creating a moldable paste. The process is pretty straight forward, however the anatomical structure becomes questionable looking even for the most seasoned taxidermists such as Neighbor Tommy.

Know-How Tommy tells us: about a wolf pack attacking a buffalo at an animal stuff-off competition (or something). Unfortunately, I was absent taking photos and missed most of this seemingly titillating story. Fortunately, the unrelated shots remain:

(Above: We didn’t ask any questions about this little guy.)

Tell-All Tommy keeps animals with beating hearts as well. Plenty of chickens, two roosters, a bunch of chicks that were a total surprise to him, pheasants, large quantities of high-quality quail, and a duck that thinks of himself as a rooster. He also fosters two glorious deer who live in a fence built for a tennis court, but hardly ever play tennis. Blake and I wandered beyond this and into the woods where we found two old school buses. They must have been there for a long time because all around were grown-ass trees, making any attempt at a tow-away escape futile.

Later, back at the country house, awkward, haunting things took place which our memories have replaced with dark, but happy voids. In the morning, we ate 1000 tiny chicken eggs and walked to the pond where the legendary white catfish lives. Catch him and you get a wish, for he is a catwish!

(Above: Helen sacrifices her body to build a bridge to Catwish Pond.)

Believe it or not, Helen noodles the catwish out, and not taking the myth seriously, squanders all infinite possibilities by wishing for a pair of XL boys long-johns in place of pants “with red stripes!”. Regardless of her disbelief, her wish came true. And we laughed. And it was at her and not with her and it was good.

(Above: Helen’s new pants and our tired dogs.)

The end.