"Put on some boots and coats and meet me on the front porch," I said.
I went upstairs and put on a shooting jacket over my coveralls and a fore-and-aft tweed hat that I had picked up some years back in Scotland. I got my old Parker 12-gauge out of my closet and a handful of shells. As an afterthought I grabbed the stick seat that I had not used since I had watched Bobby Jones win The Amateur at Merion, the year he took it all.
I joined the boys and Sport on the porch. The wind had quieted and the snow was sifting down, fine and soft.
"Now, men," I said, as we crossed the road, "you come down the field and make a lot of noise."
Ann opened the kitchen door to see what was going on.
"Come on," I called, "You come, too."
When Ann came over I said: "You and the boys spread out and come down through the field. There might be a bird. But wait until you hear me whistle from the bottom end before you start."
So I left them standing in the gentle snow and walked down the field a hundred yards to the fence on the Sullivans' line. I turned into the field of brown brambles and sumac, lightly dusted with snow. There was no bright color, except for the orange and red fruit of the bittersweet vine entwined on the fence. I walked in toward the river about halfway, or 25 yards, opened the stick seat and stuck the end into the hard ground.
When I was comfortably seated with my loaded gun across my knees I whistled and heard in answer some shouts. When the beaters were about halfway down the field I began to lose confidence.
I was keeping an eye on a clump of sumac in the middle of the field, with one open spot, and suddenly I saw a huge bird run into it, scooting low. At about that moment it saw me, ran to the right and with a wild "kuk-kuk" took off for a haven in the lowlands across the canal and beside the river.