When I answer the phone, my voice rasps and breaks. MPB is not fazed.
"Guess whose little brother just shot a big ole bear!"
"That's right! Mine! They have some person from the state coming, supposed to maybe be a state record!"
"Oh, MPB, how very..." Cough.
"Don't you get all snooty over hunting with me."
"I'm not. I'm dying here. But I was a Junior Bowman once. Shooting glory was all mine. Targets, though."
"You sound a little better, actually. Less dying."
Cough. Cough. Coughcoughcough.
"I take it back. So we're having bear at Thanksgiving. I've never had it. It's supposed to be fantastic."
"I haven't had it, either. What have you eaten before, MPB? Home-killed-wise, I mean."
"Usual stuff. Squirrel, rabbit, duck, deer. You know."
"My mother never cooked turkey for Thanksgiving that I remember. We had every other bird under the sun instead. Duck, pheasant, quail, Cornish game hens before they sold them everyday at the Teeter. Not hunted, though. Ordered at the butcher."
"Well, I'm cooking a turkey breast, but we're also having bear."
"Let me know how it is. Hey, what's he going to do with the skin?"
"Rug for the country house. I wanted him to get it stuffed, standing up, claws out, you know, taxidermist, but that runs upwards of $15,000."
"So we're getting a rug. OK, I gotta go. Get well."