Deer season has long been a kind of vacation in the Ozarks. Sawmills shut down, as did my alma mater of a high school.

Families move to the woods to harvest Missouri’s largest game animal and relax. In my day, the dogs did most of the work; we ventured out to crossings and purely as a humanitarian act disposed of the cruel beast trying to lead our family pets astray. Womenfolk worked up the carcass when we returned to camp.buck

Now things have evolved somewhat, with the plethora of seasons and the abundance of game; and for most it is a weekend pursuit.

Still, those short of tooth and blessed with time use it to renew acquaintances and catch up on visiting old friends and neighbors.

Being still a bit long of tooth but short on responsibilities, I wandered down to call on my old friends the Shallowfords. The bus with a stove pipe protruding from the side was the centerpiece of their deer camp. Located amidst the thin stretch of water from which they got their name, it marked the site of their former homestead.

When season was over, the bus would be towed a little over a mile back to the ridge they now called home. The engine and transmission had been removed and sold a decade or so back when scrap metal was high. The cavity now made a fine place to store firewood from the rain.

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