Pennsylvania Game News - October 2021 - 44

in that old gun. "
" What's that tinkling in your pocket? "
Tom fished out the brass bell and
handed it to her. " It was on the collar of
Sam Hartmann's dog, Smoke. "
" What a pretty bell, " she noted. " You
know, we need to think about getting
another dog. "
HAT EVENING, Tom built a fire
upon the setter andirons and sat
back in his stuffed chair, revisiting the
events of the day.
I couldn't have, he thought. I could
T
not have forgotten the gun, did not hang
it back up onto the wall.
Tom was noted for precision in his
work, for not letting the smallest detail
slip by. He was focused; every task,
no matter how menial, was steeped
in process. Forgetting his magnificent
double-gun would be akin to letting a
dog behind.
He started to put things together, two
by two. Two birdhunters, two birddogs,
two bells, a double on ringnecks taken
on Halloween days, years apart.
Tom's eyes bored deep into the fire,
awaiting some answer, some explanation
to flush from the thicket of flames
where it held tight between the iron setters,
somewhere deep within the smoke
and shadows.
two years later
T
two years later
OM PARKED his Suburban where
the old Hartmann house once stood.
The air was damp and ragged mist
drifted through the narrow hollow. He
uncased the Fox, loaded it, and watched
his young setter course through the
patch of weeds where the flower garden,
once fenced in by wrought iron, had
stood. The dog stopped and looked at
him, its brilliant white coat glowing
spectrally in the dim woods.
" Hunt 'em up, Sam, " Tom commanded.
" Hunt 'em up! "
The setter headed for the grape tangles,
the bell Sam wore from Smoke's
collar signaling the start of a new season
while calling forth old partners to join
in the hunt.
44

Pennsylvania Game News - October 2021

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Pennsylvania Game News - October 2021 - Cover1
Pennsylvania Game News - October 2021 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - October 2021 - Contents
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Pennsylvania Game News - October 2021 - Cover3
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