Keeping up with the Jacksons

It’s been a long, cold, desperate winter up in the Drizzle Creek District—or so I’m told by the occasional late-migrating snowbird who, replete with frostbite, flutters by along the beach here in Florida and stops to roost for a night or two.
The latest one, a renown liar … er, story-teller in his own right, Jimmy “The Song” Jackson was by the other day, and I guess the warm air made him wax poetic about this past fall’s moose camp.
That is, when I could drag his attention away from the wild game wandering up and down the beach in their best Spring Break attire.
The Jackson Clan all originally hail from the Bailiwick, where a rock scrabble upbringing on assorted stump and rock farms produced some pretty canny and resourceful characters, even if, as some would claim, they are a little warped.
This becomes evident during their annual moose camp—the location of which shall be kept confidential to protect the guilty and the innocent (if there are any) alike.
The number of attendees varies depending on who squeals, but reports in excess of three dozen are rampant. These include true Jacksons, as well as various cousins, in-laws, assorted cronies, and the odd vagrant.
Moose hunting is apparently involved. However, one cow moose split 39 ways makes for a pretty small sack of meat.
Average price of the harvest is estimated in excess of several thousand dollars per pound. How does that grab all you beef farmers?
Jimmy the Song allowed how lethal weapons and ammunition may be severely curtailed in future camps, substituted with paint ball guns and long lens cameras. A solid hit just behind the moose’s shoulder, he claims, would be adequate proof of hunting prowess, especially if accompanied by a close-up photo of the enraged moose chasing you out of the cut.
Unsuccessful escapes from the moose would be celebrated with an impressive wake.
Opening morning starts with the Old Boar of the Camp, Glen, rousing everyone for a pre-hunt breakfast. This is problematic as Glen seems to be unable to tell time, either due to a missing or broken watch, or an unsynchronized bladder.
So by 4:30 a.m., everyone is up because Glen is. The only reason he needs.
The hunt part of the exercise is generally over by 8:30 a.m. with the tag filled. With three dozen rifles gunning for one moose, it’s just about inevitable and it’s back to camp for the important stuff.
Yes, this is simply a social occasion, where the rites of passage are conferred on the uninitiated of the Clan. And the elders get to show off their toys.
First there is the big-screen TV with satellite connection to all the sports channels. Next there are the easy chairs and loungers arranged in a circle around the TV and the campfire.
The campers are, of course, equipped with hot showers and soft beds. What’s the point in roughing it if you can’t be comfortable?
The four-wheeler races and power-pulls take up the better part of opening day, with preliminaries and scouting forays filling the pre-opener. A quick tally of rolling stock and accessories came in at around a million bucks.
True patriots, doing us proud reviving the economy—and the auto industry—one four-wheeler at a time.
So you see, keeping up with the Jacksons will take some doing, not to mention sheer physical and mental determination. A lofty goal to shoot for.
But what will be new in the hunt camp for 2009. Jimmy the Song has a surprise.
I know what it is. The rest of you will just have to wait and see.

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