Joe Crater, our neighbor, took his dog, Ol’ Boots and walked into the woods behind his house one afternoon intending to hunt squirrels for a while. The woods stretched for miles behind his house. It was easy to get lost, even for a fellow who’d grown up there, like Joe. He didn’t remember leaving his compass home till he reached for it a few minutes before just before dusk that cold, fall afternoon. Rattled, he walked the direction he thought was home as it started to drizzle. He thought he recognized a landmark in the distance a time or two, only to be disappointed one he reached it. Finally, as dark closed in, he realized he was just getting more and more lost. He’d expected to be home long before night, so he had no flashlight. He only had his gun, his dog, and the clothes he stood up in. He decided he’d better make a fire while he could still see to gather wood. He gathered a sizeable pile of deadwood and fallen brush, knowing he’d make it through the miserable night if he could just stay warm. Fortunately, his Zippo lighter was handy. It was a long, wet night. As soon as he could see well enough to walk without stumbling, he walked till the woods thinned enough to see the lights of a farmhouse. He was so turned around by now, he couldn’t begin the guess where he was, but had no qualms about walking up to a stranger’s house and knocking on the door, after the night he’d just endured. The dog must have passed just as bad a night as Joe since he broke and ran when he saw the house. That wasn’t like Ol’ Boots.
Exhausted and chilled to the bone, he knocked on the back door of the stranger’s house, hoping someone would give him a hot cup of coffee. A woman in a housedress, flannel shirt, and frazzled hair opened the door. She looked like she’d been “rode hard and put up wet.”
“Where in the world have you been all night?” she demanded. “I been worried crazy!”
After the night he’d just passed, he was in no mood for jokes. “Lady, don’t give me no trouble. I been lost in the woods all night and my wife’s gone be worried to death.”
She looked at him like he’d lost his mind. “Joe, it’s me, Louise. Where in the world have you been? I was just fixin’ to send for yore brothers to go lookin’ for you.”
He was so confused it took some convincing that he’d stumbled up on his own house.