Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Mistletoe Hunt

Once upon a time there was a tree that grew in a multiflora rose briarpatch on the side of a ridge road that shall remain nameless to protect the green-gold wealth it harbors.



The hunter packed gun, shells, gloves and mate into his chariot and sallied forth in search of treasure of the golden green variety.

The trusty hunter looked far, far up into the blue sky and saw the prize he was seeking--mistletoe. But how to get to it? The tree stood over 40 feet tall, and the hunter was not even five and a half feet tall. The trunk rose as straight as Cupid's arrow from the forest floor, surrounded by the steel-thorned roses.

With shotgun in hand, the hunter made his way gingerly over the road bank, too aim, and fired.

The shot echoed between the hills, but no one noticed. Not because no one was listening but because these days the forest is full of deer hunters and the sound of gunfire is frequent.

Success! The pellets of shot loosen sprigs of mistletoe which the hunter picks up as his mate takes photos with a camera that has a grandchild's finger smudge on the lens (sorry, friends!).
Hunter and mate are aware that they made a folkloric faux pas but not bringing a sheet to keep the mistletoe from touching the ground. Both are hopeful that the druid guards of superstition were not paying attention to the goings-on on a remote ridge in West Virginia at the moment.



The hunter's mate uttered encouraging words from the safety of the road ("There's some." "You missed a piece under that stickerbush.").



The hunter returned with a satisfying gamebag. The holidays are guaranteed to be filled with teenagers doing body contortions to avoid being caught by Granny (or worse, Poppa Larry) under the kissing ball. Granny Sue will nonchalantly stand in the doorway, supposedly unaware of the green magic hanging over her head. Poppa Larry, the great hunter, will lurk in corners waiting for the unsuspecting teens to stop under the mistletoe bough to answer a text message.
The holiday season has officially begun.

13 comments:

Angela said...

Hey Granny Sue!

I learned something new today! I had no idea that mistletoe can be found in the trees in West Virignia! Wonder if I have some growing in yonder woods? It is hard to spot? I'm not sure if my man would be Romeo enough to get it down for me...... You lucky girl!

Nance said...

I learned several new things . . . that mistletoe is found in trees in West Virginia, that mistletoe evidently shouldn't touch the ground and that Larry is a marksman. Thanks for a good story!

Granny Sue said...

Angela and Nance--mistletoe is plentiful here; I have seen huges bunches of it in the trees along the Ohio River and other places. You might not notice it at first--it looks like clumps of leaves at the ends of branches, usually, and usually near the tops of the trees although I've seen it on lower branches too. It likes oaks but will live on other trees too.

According to folklore, the mistletoe should not touch the ground. AND you should keep this year's mistletoe and burn it in your yule fire next year. I write a post about mistletoe last year that included a lot of the lore about it. I'll find it and re-post it.

And yes, Larry is a pretty good shot, as our freezer attests :-)

ELLOUISESTORY said...

Enjoyed the life-story-folktale connection. Reminds me to watch for the magic everyday.

Granny Sue said...

So often it's the little things like this that make the memories, isn't it, Ellouise? Nothing earth-shaking, and yet the tradition is so rooted that gathering it makes me hark back to long ago days and the beliefs in mistletoe's great power. There is something very satisfying about continuing old traditions, a feeling of honoring our past.

Anonymous said...

Guess where else mistletoe grows...Texas! The live oaks around Chris' house are full of it. I always smile when I remember Mom and Dad going looking for it in the woods at Christmas time. I don't remember if they actually found any....maybe they just enjoyed the peace and quiet. tm

Tink said...

Good shootin Larry! Didn't know you were a "south paw"! It's amazing how some traditions survive! Nice post.

Granny Sue said...

I remember that, Theresa. I believe they did find it because I remember fresh mistletoe in the kissing ball. Of course, she might have bought it somewhere too, after looking and not finding it. I seem to remember people coming to the door to sell it. Do you remember that?

Granny Sue said...

Tink, Larry and I are both lefties. It makes it easier to dance together :-) and easier to set things up in the house.

Mary said...

Lefties unite!! thanks for sharing the "hunt" with us!

Janet, said...

That's exactly what Andrew did last year. He "hunted" for mistletoe and shot it down. Maybe he'll get me some this year, too.

Granny Sue said...

Mary, I'd forgotten that you were a leftie too! It is so much easier to be married to a right-minded person :-)

Janet, if he doesn't let me know. We will have plenty to spare, I think. Larry's thinking about going over on the river and getting some to sell at the farmer's market.

Jaime said...

Oh... I didn't want to miss that. It was after I took off with Amy and Andrea that i realized I was suppose to go with you Mistletoe hunting. Dang it! I'm defnitely cursing myself, I need a longer attention span.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...