Just recently I moved into Flowers Manor, a delightful retirement complex in Clarksdale, Miss., and one of the dreams of the late Mr. and Mrs. Roy Flowers, who resided in Coahoma County and farmed thousands of acres of fine Delta land with great success.
Mister Roy, as he was generally known and remembered, believed in returning some of the signs of success. His sponsoring and building Flowers Manor is one of the finest possible examples of providing just what the doctor ordered for folks needing a little extra care or perhaps for singles or couples who simply have had enough of the rat race and want to take it a bit easier. Flowers Manor provides the highest-quality service to its patrons, and I have yet to hear a word of criticism from any of the wonderful people who live here. Very unusual for this day and age!
What most people don't know about Mister Roy is that along the way, he developed into a rabid quail hunter and not only hunted as often as possible, but even began buying and rearing high-quality quail dogs.
His farmland bordered land farmed by my Uncle Mabry Dorr, who along with my Dad (then residing in the hills in the little town of Oakland, Miss.) spent quite a lot of time hunting quail in both the Delta and the hill country near Oakland. This was made somewhat easier by the fact that Mrs. Flowers, the former Elsie Calloway, was born and reared in Oakland.
Quail were plentiful back in those days of the 1920s and 1930s, and both the Delta and the hill country were filled with covey after covey found all along the banks of bayous, wasteland, and cropland. Tenant farming of that era provided much feed by way of corn, pea patches, and wild food.
Finding quail was fairly easy at that time, but to break the monotony, Mister Roy and my Uncle Mabry would swap hunts with my dad out in the Yalobusha County hills. Dad had plenty of good riding horses available, which was a real plus.
When Dad visited the Delta to hunt, he stayed with my Uncle Mabry at his home on the Greene Estate. When Mister Roy and my uncle went to the hills, they slept at the venerable old two-story hotel in Oakland, owned and managed by an elderly lady, Granny Matthews.
However, it fell upon my mother to feed the three of them, plus a yard full of bird dogs belonging to the three of them. In those days, commercial dog food was almost unheard of, and most hunters fed dog bread to their dogs. Dog bread was made of corn meal, buttermilk or water and perhaps a tad of grease from former cooking.
Once Mister Roy showed up with a newly acquired highbred pointer dog and it is said that he remarked to my mother, “Mrs. Anderson, my dog Sport eats biscuits and I doubt that he will eat dog bread.” It is also said that my mother smiled at Mister Roy and said, “Roy, if your dog Sport boards at my house he will eat dog bread or maybe go out and catch himself a rabbit!” That ended the discussion of dog food.
Hunters today find it hard to believe that quail were so plentiful back then that three hunters often brought in as many as 50 birds bagged on a one-day hunt. Birds were so plentiful that no one could imagine that region almost devoid of quail, but that is just what has happened over most of the quails' Southern range.
These traditional hunts made by the three men went on for many years, and I am quite certain that these three gentlemen had much to do with the fact that I took up hunting at an early age and made it almost a “way of life.”
Those were the days and those were the men and women of a long-lost era. I strongly doubt that their likes shall pass this way again, but I am grateful of the fact that they touched me on their way.