Are you old enough to remember when meeting planners of national associations would ask me to tell 300 of their associates true stories about you and my other Maine friends?

If you ever saw me so engaged, you might remember my story about the moose hunt. As I recall, my moose hunt story was often applauded by John McDonald, Kendall Morse or Gary Crocker whenever we got to take turns telling stories on the same platform.

You’ve heard of people from away who shot a moose without any idea of how they were to carry it the three miles from the swamp out to the road. How Mainers have circumvented this problem is what this story is about.

Although the moose hunt story certainly loses some of its flavor when you have to imagine the New York hunter blasting away at brown blankets blowing in the wind, when on stage I always employed the vernacular and, for the sake of authenticity, I shall do so here. You already know that when I say “door” I pronounce it as “Dough-wah,” so you can provide your own “eye dialect.”

When the plates had been cleared away, folks in the audience would be asked to stand and then turn their chairs toward the podium before sitting. A wise speaker provides for the comfort of his audience, and it is hard to concentrate when 300 people are looking at you over their shoulders like roosters with their necks sticking up out of a bottle.

After a few words about The Almost Perfect Woman and our blissful domestic life, I’d say something like this:

“You know that there are so many moose in some parts of Maine that they get in the road and cause accidents. The state is trying to cut down on the number of accidents by eliminating some of the moose, and they do it with a yearly lottery. They sell 50,000 or so tickets for $5 each, take them up to the State House in Augusta where they put them in a big, round drum. They crank that drum around to mix the tickets up. And then one of them crooked legislators reaches in there and draws out the names of 1,000 of his lawyer friends and they’re the lucky ones with a license to harvest a Maine moose.

“Shooting a moose is not like shooting a deer. Most of you have seen a deer running through the woods. They’re very graceful and they seem to sail over small bushes and blown down trees. In the fall there’s people up here from New York and they’re blasting away at trees and houses and cars and kids on bicycles, and it’s not the time of year you dare to come out on the back porch of your trailer wearing a pair of white mittens and wave at your neighbor.

“If they ever do shoot a deer they have to lug it three miles through the woods to where their car is. And there ain’t a one of them that has a car big enough to hold a deer the size of a dog. They can never cram all of that deer in, and whenever you see them going down the highway you’ll always see a deer’s head with its tongue hanging out, halfway out of the trunk.

“Shooting a moose ain’t like that, and there’s fellows up around Millinocket that’s got it right down to a science. The real pros might have to look at 30 or 40 moose before they find one that looks good, and then the first thing they do is walk over and muckle it right by the antlers and yank them right up and down. They want to make sure they’re on there solid. Imagine how embarrassed they’d be if one of them antlers should fall off the mounted head some night when there’s a crowd sitting around playing cards in the living room.

“Then they take one of them wooden tongue depressors and check the teeth and gums, eyes and ears. Then they go over the hide to make sure it ain’t got no ticks or bugs. They don’t make their decision until they get back to the hindquarters, because that’s where most of the meat is. And only when they have found the perfect moose do these moose hunting professionals take a little grain out their pocket and walk that moose right over to the pickup truck. There’s experts up around Greenville who’ve got it down to such a science that they can get that moose to put his front feet right up on the tailgate of that pickup truck, so when they shoot him he falls right in.

“Last fall my next-door neighbor, Gramp Wiley, won the moose lottery. He was leading the perfect moose back to his pickup truck when a huge bear suddenly appeared on the path in front of him.”

… Because of editorial constraints, I’m going to have to stop here – just when things started to get interesting. But isn’t that the story of life?

The humble Farmer can be heard Friday nights at 7 on WHPW (97.3 FM) and visited at his website:

www.thehumblefarmer.com/ MainePrivateRadio.html