Well, today started out slow, until right after Arthur and I pulled out of the driveway on our way to hunt. I was running a little late, but I could probably make up for that on the road. One time-saving advantage was that I wouldn’t have to stop halfway to pick up my brother and his horse. He stopped by Friday afternoon while the farrier was replacing Arthur’s mangled shoe, and said he didn’t think he could juggle his schedule to hunt this weekend. He left telling me to enjoy hunting, and that he’d call if a miracle occurred.
The call came just as Arthur and I pulled out. "Where are you? You got any Ace?" So I found a driveway to turn around in, headed home and grabbed a bottle of Ace from the barn. As I ran back to the truck, I apologized to Arthur and told him to hang on, then blessed my 7.5 liter engine as we hauled ass.
Brother was actually ready to load when I pulled in his gate, and we got to the meet and got tacked up just as everybody was heading out. We passed some stragglers and the second field, and soon caught up with first field. So much for a slow warmup. I thought somebody was joking when she said "Hey, look over there! Is that really a whole pack of coyotes?" Sure enough, over on a hillside we spotted at least six coyotes scampering around. Time to tighten the girths and snap the chinstraps.
Things got wild pretty quick when the hounds picked up the scent of the scattered coyotes. Heading into the first jump, Arthur had a moment of doubt, probably a combination of slick ground and pilot error. The slight hesitation was just enough for him to end up with his front feet on one side and back feet on the other. I managed to stay in the saddle, and as he got all his feet back on the same side, Laurance yelled back "Hey brother! Gate’s open!" DUH! Right beside the coop was an open gate, which seemed like a reasonable alternative at this point.
Aside from that slight bobble, Arthur and I performed fairly well most of the afternoon. Things got a little confused as hounds and people got somewhat scattered, but we managed to stay with a small group with ample flasks (one member designated us a "stellar field"). I’d splurged and given myself a bottle of Woodford Reserve for Christmas, and had that in my flask instead of the usual Wild Turkey 101. General consensus was that it was definitely smoother, so I may have to make a habit of that. My brother accused me of becoming a yuppie, which was insulting enough until somebody else compounded it by pointing out that the "Y" no longer applied to me. That was almost as bad as the time I told an undertaker my motto was to live happy, die young, and leave a good-looking corpse, and he retorted that he hoped I was still happy, because I wasn’t young any more and I never was good-looking.