This year rosy-fingered Dawn opened the curtains of the night upon a brilliant cloud free day and most glorious weather for a delightful poodle shoot. In the East, the great doors of that brilliant stable swung open to let the blinding-white horses of Helios leap forth to launch that streaming chariot of the sun across the blue heavens.

Dawn then gave Padraic the traditional Wake-Up Wack upon the pate so as to get the man stirring about his business tending to the 'Shoot, for Dawn O'Reilly was a mighty woman and not to be trifled with at any time of day or night.

The day began quietly while a selection of musicians calling themselves the "St. Charles Atonals" performed at the main stage bandstand located in the middle of the baseball diamond. A spirited rendition of "Sha-boopie" done with Jew's Harp and oboe turned out to be a real crowd pleaser . Musical accompaniment was provided by Rex Suru on tuba, Kirk Johnson on harp, Professor Schickele on Hardart with Inflatable, Karen Rega on broomstick-washtub bass, and Ken Collins of St. Charles on the Banjo-Bandsaw Anomaly. Mr. Collins' 20 minute solo on the Bandsaw Anomaly can only be described as "extraordinarily unique".

Padraic took a few moments to read the Rules and introduce the Special Guests for this year's event: The Marin-Based Chapter of the Native Sons of the Golden West.

The annual White House Representative, "Buckshot Dick" sent apologies for his inability to attend.

Libations and offers were made to honor the gods, and wise Athena, Goddess of the Hunt, sent down a token in the form of an owl who perched upon the buckeye tree with imperious mein while gusty Boreas sent a gentle sirocco across the lagoon.

With a jolly crescendo from the horn section of the Hoophole High School Marching Band and Classical Orchestra, the line of hunters then moved out into the field under a blue sky -- the annual Island Poodleshoot and BBQ had begun. Soon, the merry sounds of the hunt drifted across the Island: shouts of "Poodle there!", the sharp crack of freshly oiled Winchester rifles, the occasional sputter of automatic weapons and the frequent Whump of percussion grenades adding to the Holiday Cheer.

Javier quickly won the First Bag of Day award with his Mauser nice shot by the Old Stone Wall near the Old Same Place.

Down by the Cove, Wally -- armed with his modified Bear Pistol -- got into a sort of contest with the lithsome Mary Beth Whittamore, who had brought her vintage "Hunter's Pet", which is a sort of .410 caliber bicycle gun once made by W. Stevens and designed for black powder use. Mary Beth had employed her significant welding skills, however to up the caliber to a .555 with a reinforced chamber of titanium alloy, proving there is no end to caliber size and no limits to feminine capabilities. Here is a picture of Wally with his Bear Gun equipped for 50 cal explosive shells.

The two friends had great fun potting poodles hiding behind palm trees. Wally would simply blast the trunk away to reveal the Fifi behind the former tree and so with his next shot, would bag his game.

Jim Kitson, of Santa Clara Street, earned a Style Award for his ingenious Poodle Trap Au Bufano which consisted of something that looked like a Primitivist Sculpture of iron, heavy ship timbers from the wreck of the Forlorn Hope and several round stones, each weighing in at some two hundred pounds. At the base of Jim's erection, a slice of Mama Reebop's Sweet Potato Pie had been set on a pile of kibbles all neatly arranged on a lace doily. French perfume, used to scent the trap, was offered up to the Grey-Eyed Goddess and to Short-Haired Eris, Goddess of Parking and Discord.

When the game took the bait, several of those stone balls rolled off of the top of the sculpture, making quite a nice furry pancake for the Bar-B-Que and all the gods were well pleased.

Mary Beth, preferring the more delicate approach, would enrage the beast by setting fire to pink ribbons, a sight everyone knows a Fifi cannot abide. As the animal charged, Mary Beth would pot her game on the run. The two took bets on numbers of devastating head shots and many were the decapitated carcasses brought to the "pit" that day. There is nothing lovelier than a pretty lady blasting away with a .555 pistol.

Over at the BBQ, Kirk and visiting Mike Rega put on a spectacular demonstration of "deep fried poodle" on their special Southern Poodle Cooker. It was so much fun, and the meat so moist, others also wanted to try their hand at it. Click on the pic to watch the movie. Sometimes the kills are not quite killed before they go into the pot, hence the need for the hoe chopper there.



Everything was going really well, with all the folks giving thanks to the gods for a successful hunt, enjoying their fried poodle, BBQ poodle, "pulled" poodle, puppy stew, kimchee poodle, and poodle-kabobs when Paul showed up at the pit with his game.

PADRAIC: Paul, what the hell is that?

PAUL: Its my catch.

PADRAIC: Paul, that aint no poodle.

PAUL: Its poodle enough for me to eat it.

PADRAIC: You know the rules.

PAUL: I don't care about the rules. I am going to cook and eat this thing.

PADRAIC: Where did you get that thing and why did you kill it? Was this some sort of accident?

PAUL: It was no accident. It bit me and now I am going to bite it. Happened over by Washington Middle School. Damn things should be ona leash . . . .

PADRIAC: Let me just look here at this tag . . . Good God, it says "Sweetums" / Oliver Howitzer 62 Fernside! This aint no poodle; it's Mr. Howitzer's rottweiler! You just killed somebody's pet!

PAUL: Its not a pet, its an ungoverned monster with teeth that bit me. It was all self defence.

PADRAIC:What are we gonna do now? What if Mr. Howitzer sees his dog like this?

PAUL: Throw him on the 'Que -- I'll make him disappear fast enough. I'm hungry!

PADRAIC: O, I do not think this will end well . . . .

Yes, the gods are mysterious in their ways. They treat us like flies for their sport. Grim visaged Fate stalks the earth in pursuit of the intractable Mr. Howitzer, but all who attended this years Annual Island Poodleshoot and Barbeque had a grand time, save for a dog bite or two.

That's the way it was this Thanksgiving on the Island. Have a great week.