Friday, September 26, 2008


Slowly, slowly, ever so slowly the light gray smoke wafted up from the chimney above the roof of the cabin. Set in very large oak hardwoods, the cabin was somewhat low roofed and close to the ground. It was the way Ouachita Mountaineers had built many years ago, making the cabin easy to heat. To the experienced Mountaineer it meant that someone was at home, that the fire was being tended, and that the cabin was warm enough to suit the occupants, for the wood stove had been shut down very low. The cabin was a bit hard to see, the way it was kind of “nestled” in the trees, making it look as if somehow it just naturally belonged there.The air in the high mountain pass was so still that the plume of smoke rose straight up until it cooled enough to gradually disappate into the gray haze of evening.A single light burned in the kitchen window, a CHRISTmas candle. It obviously had meaning for those that lived there.Smiling to himself as he gathered up a arm load of firewood, enough to make the night on. He had checked the kennel. The hunting dogs had plenty of fresh water, the feeders were full, and the bedding was fresh. The yard was full of vehicle tracks. Tracks made mostly by mud grip equipped pickup trucks, with an occasional car’s narrower track amongst them. The smile was prompted by his memory of the visitors of the past two days. There had been old military friends, kin folks from outlying countys, Daughters, Sons, grandkids and on and on. It was as if they had been drawn to this humble, old cabin in the forest by something. He did not have to think long to know exactly what it was. The fellowship shared by the common daily experiences of life in the Ouachita Mountains.As he carried the wood into the cabin, the warmth and aroma of the CHRISTmas ham they had shared still lingered in the air. A light wood smoke scent was there as he placed an extra stick of wood on the fire. Smiling at his wife they sat before the fire and chatted about the events and the visitors. About how the children had grown and other events of the festive meals.Outside a quiet and calm was settling over the high mountain pass, the hunting dogs in the kennel gave a few “booger barks” at a distant howling coyote, before settling in for the night.It was CHRISTmas eve and all was well in the Ouachitas.

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