The Hicks family always bought fireworks for the Fourth of July holiday. It was an exciting and fun time shooting roman candles, pop-bottle rockets and crackers of all sizes. We were very disappointed when the State of Michigan outlawed fireworks, and considered getting some out of state, but breaking the law was not our kind of solution.
Then Daddy discovered that fireworks could be purchased for “community display,” and he officially organized the “Appleseed Corners Community” consisting of the Hicks, Yonans and Yeoman’s families — our neighbors. Walter Yeomans was a crop farmer, and the Yonans had a large commercial apple orchard. Their orchard and our small orchard across the road from them was the basis for the “Appleseed Corners” name. They joined us for a back porch barbecue of hot dogs and hamburgers, and legal fireworks on the Fourth of July – what fun!
Walter Yeomans probably knew Daddy had been trapping muskrats in our pond, and selling the pelts. He asked Daddy if he thought the traps might be big enough to catch a fox that was nosing around his chicken coop. If so, could he borrow a couple?
Sure. Of course. But, now that a fox was brought up, Daddy said he had seen a hole under a big tree at the back of our property across the road and adjacent to the Yeoman’s that very well could be the fox’s den. Daddy exclaimed, “We can get him there!” The Appleseed Corners fox hunt idea must have sprung into his mind – and planning began. A date set, Daddy called and invited the Yonans to join us, I think Alan came too. Mom and Daddy, Walter and Lucille, Nars and Olive, and me, Bobby, were the total company for the “hunt”.
I may have been 9 or 10, because I faintly recall having my bugle and blowing “Attention” as we gathered in our driveway and piled into a pickup truck and one car. Daddy had his 10 gauge shotgun, and instructed everyone to be very quiet.
After driving down the lane to about thirty yards from the tree, we dismounted, and Daddy waved at Walter to follow him as he moved toward the big tree – the others followed at a distance. As Daddy rounded the tree he fired his shotgun at the base, and yelled, “I got him! Walter – grab him, he’s going down the hole!” Walter was quick to respond and leaped to the hole at the base of the tree – saw the fox tail protruding – and grabbed it – yanked it hard – and then stood there holding Mom’s fox fur neckpiece high in the air!
Daddy was laughing uproariously, and the others joined in as the reality of the joke hit Walter. I think he finally broke down and started laughing too. Daddy had gotten Mom’s fur piece, left over from the fashions of the ‘20s, from the trunk in the attic, and put it in the hole at the base of the tree the day before.
The “Great Appleseed Corners Fox Hunt” was over, and I presume considered a huge success by everyone… except maybe Walter.
Did Walter trap the fox? I don’t know. But for sure, the fox never returned to the big tree!