I’m still trying to decide about Bend n’ Hickory—a road that I have wanted to build a house on for years. What has stopped me? A few things have influenced my decision like dense woods, deep ravines, bears, wolves, coyotes, mountain lions but not necessarily the wild turkeys. They are afraid of their own shadows.

My two little dogs are the reason for my hesitation. After living three months on a college campus that is bordered by a national forest, I had many introductions to the local wildlife (excluding the students) and ended up choosing to live instead in the “city” (if you can call it that). The other night when the house was quiet and everyone was sleeping, the dogs heard a strange noise outside. It was a wild noise that could have been something straight out of one of Jack London’s novels— a low growl that rolled into a soft howl. Wolves? I wondered. Oh, God, please no! A pack of wild dogs! Double Oh, no! They might get Chipley! Or he might just go with them. He has the discernment of a wide-eyed college cheerleader.

Since moving to northeast Georgia, I’ve heard “tales” of  little dogs being snatched from owners by coyotes!! I’ve also come to the conclusion that mountain “folk” love to scare the heck out of me because it is just plain fun. They tell me this stuff and I end up believing it.

The next day I was talking to Cocoa’s Vet, who owns a barnyard of animals (Cocoa loves going there because the sniffs are so full and rich), and she said it was probably just coyotes passing through my property. “Years ago,” she explained “‘they’ brought in coyotes to chase away the wolves.”

“Oh,” I smiled trying not to flinch or run or scream. “What a comforting thought. Just several coyotes.”

“That’s right,” she grinned. “But don’t worry. They usually keep on moving. I don’t think they will bother the dogs—unless . . . .”

“Unless what?!” I suddenly realized that “Funny” was losing its appeal.

“Oh, don’t worry,” she patted my arm. “There’s usually enough for them to eat in the woods and the forest.” There it was again—a little glimmer in the eyes. A silent “gotcha” that I have seen all too often. She walked out of the room smiling from ear-to-ear.

“Dear, Jesus, help us” I said as Cocoa and I got back in the car. “You are not going outside again at night, do you hear me, not without a flashlight and a big stick.”

So basically, why should I mark living on Bend n’ Hickory off my list? What is there to be gained? Whatever is there, is certainly here, too. The above photo is of a small waterfall near an area where an old power plant was once located off Bend n’ Hickory.