Old Sassafras John rocked to and fro
Before the fireplace.
The firelight merged with candleglow
To light his kind old face.
His aged fingers toyed along
The gold chain on his vest
As he told his favored story,
The one he liked the best.
It happen many years ago,
In eighteen eiglity-three,
I’ll pass along the story
As old John told it to me.
“I was huntin’ down where Hamer’s woods
Runs down along the crick;
Where the oak, and beech, and hick’rys,
And the walnuts grew so thick.”
“There was so darned many squirrels there
You couldn’t believe your eyes.
I tell you boy, it really was
A squirrel’s paradise.”
“‘Twas a cold an’ misty mornin’,
An’ the fog hung thick an’ dense,
When I saw the darndest critter
Playin’ on the ole rail fence.”
“He shinnied up a hick’ry,
Jist as soon as I was near;
An’ his cussin’, an’ his barkin’
Sure was music to the ear.”
“I edged aroun’ a big ole oak
The better fer to see,
An’ I saw a big white squirrel
A-starin’ down at me.”
“He was big, an’ fat, an’ sassy,
An’ purty tho’ to boot.
I raised my gun to blast him out,
But, shucks I jist couldn’t shoot.”
“He crossed from that ole hick’ry
An’ he ran down the ole fence rail,
An’ the light o’dawn was gleamin’
On his bright cream-colored tail.”
“I’ll bet I’ve hunted that ole boy
A hundred times or more,
Oh how I’d like to see him
As I did in days of yore.”
“I’ve looked fer that ole squirrel,
Searchin’ ’round that very spot.
I wonder if he was a ghost
Of some critter I had shot.”