Willie was driving us down the highway near the lease when his phone vibrated. He made the usual rude comment that cant be repeated in this publication, then unclipped the device from his belt.
"Theres no use in me looking at this," he said. "I cant see the screen without my glasses and I cant drive with them on."
"It isnt safe for you to drive and try to read text messages anyway," I said.
He glared across the truck cab. "I didnt say I was going to look at it. I want you to look at it for me." He thrust the phone in my direction.
"Its your wife," I said, squinting at the tiny screen. Like Willie, my eyes arent so good and even the highest magnification in my trifocals wasnt strong enough. I pulled the glasses down on my nose and tried again. "You want me to read what she wrote?"
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"Why didnt she just call me?" he asked. "I hate this text message stuff."
"I dont know. Why dont you call her and ask?"
"Because shell get mad and complain for five minutes that I called her instead of answering her text. Just read it."
"Get milk and soap on the way home."
"All that trouble for milk and soap," Willie griped.
"It wouldnt have been any trouble if youd just not answered the phone. No one said it was a law that we have to immediately check these infernal devices the minute they ring."
"Theres the game warden," Willie said and raised his fingers from the steering wheel in a wave. I waved also, just to be polite.
The passing game warden raised his own fingers, then pulled quickly onto the shoulder and whipped around to follow.
"Willie looked into the rear view mirror. "I think hes coming after us for some reason."
I turned to look through the back glass. "He saw your bucks foot sticking up over the truck bed. Bet he just wants to check it."
"Okay." Willie pulled over to the side so the officer could examine the buck.
The game warden coasted to a stop behind us and we met him behind the truck. "Morning boys," he said.
We exchanged pleasantries for a while, shivering slightly in the chilly sunshine. I handed Willies phone back to him when my own vibrated. While they talked, I raised my glasses to see better and examined the little screen of my own Blackberry.
"Your wife wants you to get bread, too."
"Why did she tell you?" he asked.
"Because you didnt answer her text a minute ago."
The game warden raised his eyebrows. Willie held up his hands. "I wasnt texting while I drove. He was reading it for me."
Married himself, the game warden laughed and then stepped up into the truck bed to better read the deer tag Willie had attached to the bucks antler. After a moment, he unwired the tag and dropped back onto the ground.
"Uh, sir, I believe youve used the wrong tag." He looked apologetic.
"Are you sure?" Willie asked, frowning and beginning to worry.
The game warden fished in the pocket of his starched shirt and retrieved a pair of reading glasses. Perching them on his nose, he checked the tag again. "Yep. This is the wrong one."
Willie produced his own glasses and peered at the offending tag. "The writing on here is so small I can barely make out the words. Here Rev, read this."
The game warden took out his ticket book as I attempted to read the type. We all looked up when Doc and Jerry Wayne pulled up behind the game wardens car. "Theyre with us," I told the officer.
"Morning gentlemen," Doc said. "Officer." They joined us on the safe side of the truck.
"Are you under arrest?" Jerry Wayne said hopefully.
"Itll be for getting old," Willie sighed. "I used the wrong tag on my deer."
I handed the tag to Doc, who produced his own pair of reading glasses. "I cant see this. Jerry Wayne, can you read it?"
Jerry Wayne is the only one of us who doesnt wear glasses. He played the trombone for a moment to get the tiny words into focus, and then handed the tag to the game warden. "Yep. Wrong one."
"Sorry Willie," the officer said, handing him the ticket. "I dont have a choice."
"I know," he sighed and propped his reading glasses on his nose again. "I cant hardly read this ticket, either."
We passed the ticket around until it once again wound up in Jerry Waynes hands and he read it to us.
"See you later boys," the game warden said. "And Willie, Id get those groceries for your bride before you get home, too."
"Oh, yeah," Doc said. "I meant to tell you. She called me and said she wants eggs, too. Yall need to answer your phones."
"Fine," Willie said. "And while Im at the store, Ill see if they have stronger reading glasses."