Thanksgiving at Post Oak
By A. Ray Lee
Clint and I met Francis Luce at the Birmingham airport and drove south to the Little Dixie Motel, where we had made arrangements to sleep the next three nights. Francis and I had a growing friendship beginning some years earlier when Effie worked as a student secretary for him at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida. He had been campus chaplain and was now an instructor.
Over the years we discovered we had more in common than Christian ministry. We looked forward to meeting each year for a few hours away from pressing responsibilities.
This would be his third Thanksgiving hunt with us at the Post Oak Club. He had hunted in the Everglades, taking turkeys and hogs. His goal had been to score a triple in a year, but deer had always eluded him. He would not reach his goal this year but would later, when he took a nice young 5-point buck.
He had read about hunting clubs such as the Post Oak. When I invited him to be my guest, he jumped at the chance.
We soon left our bags at the motel and drove out to the clubhouse to visit with local members who were preparing for the Thanksgiving dinner we would enjoy the next day.
In a small, tin-covered shed adjacent to the main clubhouse, a fire pit had been prepared, and the aroma of roasting pork was tantalizingly raising thoughts of tomorrow, when the tender meat would cover platters on tables heavy with all the good things that make Thanksgiving dinner so special.
The next morning, hunters began arriving at the clubhouse early. There would be a large group for the first hunt of the season and the dinner to follow. This was before bow hunting became popular, and the deer had not been disturbed in 10 months. The first hunt usually produced the best results of the season.
At 8 a.m. the hunters eagerly piled in the pickups, hoping today they would get the “big one.”
The weather was favorable. The dogs were fresh and the deer moving. Several shots rang out, but as sound of the dogs and drivers became silent, the anticipation of the men increased as hunger brought to mind the feast awaiting them. All were ready to call it a morning.
No one on my stand line had seen a legal deer, but when we arrived at the clubhouse, there were two nice bucks hanging from the skinning rack, being ignored as all headed for the tables laden with food.
After a Thanksgiving prayer by local pastor and club member Anthony Patterson, we stood by makeshift tables outside while we enjoyed the occasion.
Shortly after noon Saturday, Clint and I dropped Francis off in Birmingham with a cooler of venison to catch his flight back to Florida. Then we hurried home, where Effie and the girls waited with a delayed dinner of turkey and dressing.