The Great Prairie Dog Hunter

It was the summer of '51 in that little house in Oklahoma. And life was good to the adventurous ten year old Texas boy. I had come over to my brother's home with Mom and Dad, and since school was out I got to stay with my little nephew Rodney and his parents, my brother Harvey and his wife Viola. They had settled in Oklahoma following the war and lived in their first home, on the street directly behind Vi's folks on the eastern outskirts of Midwest City. There was adventure in that Oklahoma air, it seeped thru David's pores, lit the twinkle in his mischievous eyes, and got him into more "fun" (spelled trouble) than he could visualize.

What with trips down to John Wampler's (Vi's Dad) Indian land to gather honey from his hives, following Mr. Wampler thru his wonderful garden with it's well tended vines and row crops. And then, just to the southeast of the house "The Creek!" Not the traditional live flowing creek, it was just seasonal and carried off the run-off from spring and fall storms that hit the near-by runways of Tinker AFB. But to the local kids it was a "woods" a "swimming hole" and the best play area in the whole universe... that is until you came home with red underwear from "sliding into the creek on accident"... but that was boys, and this was summer.

Then on one hot afternoon, after having been grounded the umpteenth time for "sliding into the creek on accident" David and his little nephew Rodney saw.......
THE PRAIRIE DOG!!

In the pasture between the house and the woods was a small prairie dog town which became the object of Dave's attention... now why would that little critter jump down it's hole every time little Dave came to visit with him? Didn't he know how good a pet he would make? Why didn't he understand that Dave just wanted to pet him? But jump down the hole he did and that was just the type challenge no ten year-old could resist!  Where there exist a will in a small boy, there lays a way! That dog-gone critter could not stay in that hole if the hole was full of water! So with Rodney's help and company Dave got the garden hose and turned on the water... seems like hours but was really minutes and the system of holes filled with water and in no time flat up pots a wet prairie dog.Waiting with out stretched hands was a ten year old boy with mischievous eyes and a loving temperament. There-in-after came the world's record high speed prairie dog inspection! I took all of ten seconds for Dave to grab the prairie dog, the enraged wet prairie dog to turn his head and bite Dave, and Dave to drop the prairie dog. And even less time for that wet prairie dog to run over and jump down the nearest neighbor's hole.Left us both with a tale to tell! Generations of prairie dogs talk about the time great-grand-pa got drowned out and captured by a monster, and how with the valor of a true prairie resident he turned and fought for his life!! And to this day I can look at the scar on the inside of my knuckle on my right thumb and laugh at the fun of that summer.

It becomes a fond and loving memory of my Brother Harvey and Sister-in-Law Viola; both now gone on to glory. That little boy, Rodney, went on to grow up and serve with valor in the Navy in Vietnam, and has a little sister, Janet Carol, and little brother, John Olin, who are now married with children of their own. How I wish I could give them my memories of the love of that summer, the spanking I got from their mother, the gentle nature of their grandfather John Wampler and that rascally prairie dog.

~ © Dave L. Griffith ~

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