My wife and I often pass the hours spent in a hunting blind by making up animal conversations for various situations. On a fall turkey hunt years ago, we had our hunting blind set up near an old feedlot. The owner had round bales stored there and a tractor path wound around through the bales. The turkeys followed the tractor path through the bales and into the pasture surrounding the old feedlot. We put a couple hen turkey decoys just across the fence into the pasture and settled in to our blind. The resident cattle soon came to see what was up, and became enamored with the decoys. You could almost sense their thoughts, so we named the cows Clara, Elsie, Audrey and Bessie, and imagined their conversation something like this; “They look like turkeys, but they sure don’t move much,” Clara thought starring at the decoys. Elsie added “Turkeys stink but these things smell like tractor tires or something. Let’s all run at them and see if they scatter and make those same funny noises turkeys make when we almost step on them.” Audrey weighed in “No I’m pretty sure they aren’t real turkeys – if they were they’d be eatin’ corn out of our poo right now.” Bessie said “Girls I’ve got an idea – let’s all back up and try to pee on them and see if they run like they usually do.”

Perhaps the funniest animal conversation we ever conjured up came about at an old farmstead where we hunt deer. The abandoned farmyard sits back a long lane and we park our pickup there and walk to the nearby deer blind. We know deer routinely wonder through the farmyard and around the old buildings, so we tried to imagine how they would react to our truck sitting there if they wandered through as we sat in the blind. Here’s the scene: One morning as we sit there in our deer blind, two deer, Bucky and Chloe wonder through and come upon our pickup in the drive. “See Bucky,” Chloe states “I told you I smelled them again.” Bucky rests his chin on the hood of the pickup and replies “Yup, sure enough. Hoods still warm, they’re here somewhere.” “What doofuses,” Chloe retorts with disgust as she turns and begins to walk away. Meanwhile Bucky jumps up and sprawls out across the hood of the pickup with his front legs sticking out in front of him and his back legs out behind him, rolls his eyes back into his head and hangs his tongue out the side of his mouth. “Chloe hears the commotion, and just as she turns around Bucky calls out “Ohhhhh Chloe, they got me!” “You get off there this instant,” Chloe scolds. “That’s not funny at all anymore, especially after you got shot in the butt last season!”

The nursing/retirement home where I used to work has two dementia units and I often marveled at the strange things the residents there with dementia would say and think. Making up animal conversations may see pretty weird and even goofy, but I can only hope that filling my mind with silliness like that now will help me ramble on about silly stuff like that when I get dementia rather than being mean & nasty and cussin’ all the time!

Steve can be contacted by email at stevenrgilliland@gmail.com.