Rabbit Hunting, Chapter Six

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Rabbit Hunting, Chapter Six

Rabbit Hunting

Time was moving very fast for us now and we had so much to do before Frank would leave for Army Basic Training.  We only had eleven more days to spend together before Frank would leave.

I knew some of Frank’s family from the church but others who lived in close nearby towns wanted to meet me and were inviting us to their homes for supper.

Frank and I had a great time at his Uncle and Aunt’s home in Sweeny, Texas and after it got dark we left their home then headed back to Van Vleck.  Frank turned left off of highway 35 onto the Pledger highway and then turned right onto Old Van Vleck road.  

Frank asked me if I had ever been rabbit hunting.  I told him that I had not.  We had not gone very far when Frank pulled the car over and stopped. Frank opened his car door, got out of the car, shut the door then said to me through the driver’s window which was rolled down, “Slide over Nancy, you are going to be the driver.” 

I did as he told me. Frank told me that I would need to slowly pump the brakes when he tapped on the windshield because the brakes had a little problem. Frank also told me that I would be driving without the car head lights on.

I was thinking, “Really Frank?”, “Are you kidding me Frank?” but I just shook my head in agreement.

Frank walked back to the trunk of his car, opened it, got his gun and a spotlight out then shut the trunk.  

Frank walked back up to the car on the passenger side, reached in the rolled down window of the passenger door with the cord to the spotlight, unplugged the cigarette lighter and then plugged the spotlight in to the cigarette lighter hole then he climbed up on to the hood of the car, leaned back against the windshield, turned on the spotlight and placed his gun across his lap. Frank tapped on the windshield to let me know to put the car in drive and start moving. 

I was straining to see without the head lights on and trying to keep the car on the road when suddenly Frank tapped on the windshield.  I pushed the brake to the floorboard but the car did not stop, so I quickly stomped the brake again which made the car come to an abrupt stop and Frank went quickly sliding off of the hood of the car then the car rolled a little forward. 

I was terrified and horrified at the same time!

“Did I just kill him?”

Suddenly a bright light shone through the driver’s window and into my face.  It was the Game Warden.

As I looked into the light I kept saying over and over, “I killed him! I killed him!” and at that same moment a hand reached up on to the hood of the car and Frank pulled himself up from the ground.

“Thank God, Frank was alive!” The Game Warden asked Frank if he had been shooting from the road.  

Frank looked at me and then looked at the Game Warden then said, “No Sir, I didn’t get a chance to.”

The game warden asked Frank if he was alright and Frank told him he was.  

The game warden did not give us a ticket but as he was leaving, he turned back and told Frank, “Son, you might want to get a better driver!” Then the Game Warden laughed all the way back to his car which was backed in a side road we had passed.  The Game Warden had evidently seen the whole ordeal. 

On February 24, 1968, Frank and I attended the Sweetheart Dance at the High School Cafeteria. We danced and enjoyed talking to our friends but afterward went to a quiet place to be alone to talk.  This would be our last night together before Frank left the next day for basic training. 

We talked until the wee hours of the morning and I got home way past my curfew but neither one of us cared.  We were fixing to spend ten weeks apart which was nearly more time than we had been a couple and we were both totally overwhelmed by the fact that we would be separated from each other.   

The next day Frank, his parents, brother, sister, my parents, brothers, and friends went to the airport to see Frank and Jimmy off.  We watched them board the plane and take off. Tears rolled down my face as the plane flew off but I also knew that I was strong enough to handle the ten weeks ahead and Frank was too! 

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