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JUST A LAUGH
by James Lee Jobe,posted Jul 18 2010 7:18PM
We needed to cross the rain-swollen creek by walking on the fallen tree trunk, only about twelve feet across, but also a good twelve feet down into the creek. I was 12 and JL was 47, and we both had loaded 12 gauge shotguns. JL's was a beautiful Browning over-and under double barrel. "My argument," he'd say. The rain had picked up, and then had picked up again. We'd given up quail hunting hours ago. We were just walking in the Davey Crockett Forest, swapping stories. But we had to cross this creek. Our transportation was on the other side, a couple of miles more. For an hour we'd been telling jokes, outrageous, foul jokes that couldn't be repeated around women. JL was clear about that. And you have to understand, JL could crack me up with just a facial expression, and I could crack him up, too. So many times we laughed until our sides ached, and there was no longer any sound to our laughter. Hysterical. "Now, Son, this serious now. We gotta cross. Look serious for me." I crossed my eyes and wiggled my ears a little. I could do that, a little. "That does it. You go first." And he nudged me out onto the log. I can do this without laughing, I thought. A step, another, a third. Then I did it, I screwed up: I looked back. JL Jobe, my father, had turned Stetson hat sideways, crossed his eyes, and was making a guppy expression with his mouth. I lost it. I immediately went into a spasm of laughter out on the tree trunk, leaning out one way, then over compensating and leaning way out on the other side. JL pitched his expensive shotgun to the far bank, raced out to me, disarming me and grabbing me all in one motion, pitching my shotgun to the far bank also, as we both sat down hard on wet tree trunk. We both laughed so hard we couldn't move for 10 minutes, and then we crawled across on our knees. "Hunters," JL muttered in between laughs, "Big hunters." -Jobe