“My name is Dalton Reeves, I’m eighty years old and a retired high school football coach and teacher, originally from South Carolina,” our huntsman said, introducing himself to his field of foot-followers—mainly foxhunting guests and members participating in Belle Meade’s “Gone Away with the Wind” Hunt Week—some of whom were out beagling for the first time.
“I’m very happy to hear that I’m following an eighty-year-old huntsman,” I replied. “It means I’m not likely to get left too far behind, the prospect of which has been worrying me.”
“No worries,” Mr. Reeves assured me. “I’ve got two knee replacements and one new hip; I don’t travel too fast any more.”
That said, by the time Mr. Reeves brought the beagles in four hours later, I had been back to the deer camp meet three times to stick my boots into a fire blazing in an outdoor pit to thaw my toes. I also had a bite of breakfast and took a side trip with John McNeil, Sr. to the Rock House—thought to be the oldest house in the state of Georgia—previously a part of the McNeil property, over which the beagles were hunting, but now in the hands of the historical association. In between my retreats to comfort, I enjoyed along with the rest of the field several hours of hound music—some with voices that represented the beagle version of the booming “aroos” of the Penn-Marydel foxhound.To read more, log in above or click here to subscribe.