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People

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Melvin Poe celebrating his ninetieth birthday
Douglas Lees photo

Hounds were screaming, and the huntsman was cooking. A cattle guard loomed ahead—a coop to the left and a gate to the right. The huntsman veered left.

"Melvin," someone yelled, "the gate’s on the right!"

"Melvin just kept kicking on, right over the coop," recalled Joe Conner, shaking his head and grinning in wonder.

Conner, who has whipped-in to Melvin for years at Bath County (VA), didn’t resurrect that story out of a distant past. It had happened only weeks before Melvin Poe’s ninetieth birthday celebration.

A month or so earlier, I had recognized the same notes of awe and wonder as I stood chatting with Brian Smith, my farrier, about Melvin’s upcoming ninetieth birthday.

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