I knew it was Christmas when Johnny and Grayson Ramey made their annual appearance.
"Can we hunt fur awhile?" asked Johnny with tobacco stained teeth. " I have some young dogs I want to run."
"No", said Daddy. " If he smells a deer, and takes off, we'll have a hard time getting him home."
The Ramey boys gazed at Oscar.
The pack tore toward the pine thickets. Brush and briars crisscrossed along the fencerow where the vegetation had taken over the field.
After much hullabaloo, and gun shots, many rabbits were bagged. The beagles tore through our yard like ping pong balls. The Ramey brothers gathered the beasts by the arm loads, and tossed them into the crate on the truck.
Johnny cranked the old rattle trap, and waved his arm out the window. From the smile on his face, I reckoned they would have rabbit for Christmas dinner.
I turned Oscar loose, and the dog rushed about the lawn sniffing, spraying the bushes and barking. He had reclaimed his turf!
And so it was, every Christmas when I was growing up in my old mountain home; the Ramey brothers rabbit hunted on my daddy's land. It wasn't officially Christmas until their annual homage.