Evidence for supper at the Strider house


   Commentary by Arnold Dyre

   One time when I was a boy squirrel hunting, I ended up shooting a deer. Trouble was, it was not yet deer season!  
   No, I did not mistake the deer for a squirrel, and I did not shoot it by accident. I was just a boy, the temptation was just too great, and I broke the law.
   I felt pretty bad about it as soon as I did it, but the deed was done. The deer was not very large, and I dragged it to the house and presented it to my mother. She gave me a sharp butcher knife and told me to dress it, which I did.
   That illegal deer sure was good after Mother did her magic to it. It was so good that she took some of it to work with her at the Corner Drug Store in downtown Grenada, where she shared it with one of friends and co-workers, Ada Strider. They had some of it left over, and Miss Ada took it home with her and fed it to her husband, Sheriff Jesse Strider.
   I later learned that the Mister Jesse really enjoyed his supper that night and, when he found out that the deer meat had come from Daisy Dyre, it was not hard for the High Sheriff of Grenada County to figure that Daisy’s boy Arnold Douglas Dyre was a person of interest.
   Perhaps fortunately for me, the sheriff apparently did not say anything to the Game Warden Charles Clark but, instead, caught up with me himself. Sheriff Strider was always kidding around with me, and he started out in his usual jovial manner before telling me, “Arnold Douglas, Ada brought home some mighty good deer meat that she says she got from Miss Daisy.”
   Lord, I knew right then I was in trouble. I fidgeted a bit but just nodded. The sheriff continued, “Did you kill that deer last year or did someone else give ya’ll that mess of meat?”
   I wondered if the sheriff was trying to give me a way out, but I sure was not going to try to put it off on someone else, and I was not altogether sure he would not know that I had not tagged a deer the season before. I stiffened up straight and looked Mister Jesse in the eye, and told him the truth, “No sir, I shot the deer while I was squirrel hunting.”
   Mister Jesse asked, “What did you shoot it with?”
   I told him, “A double barrel shotgun.”
   The interrogation continued. “Was it a 12-gauge?”
   “Yes, sir.”
   “Did you use buckshot?”
   “No, sir. I didn’t have anything but squirrel shot.”
   “Was it a doe?”
   “No sir, it was a young buck with short spike antlers.”
   The sheriff seemed to be thinking it over and then told me that he reckoned I might have maybe killed that deer in season in a couple of weeks if it was dumb enough to get close enough to me to get shot dead with squirrel shot, and that he did not figure that a whole lot of harm had been done. He told me how much he thought of my mother and father and how all my sisters were so pretty and smart and went on to say that he expected me to go on to make something of myself someday.
   When he could tell he had made me pretty sad about shooting that deer out of season, Sheriff Strider declared, “Besides, I already ate up the evidence!”

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