Hunting season starts this weekend, and it’s got me thinking about the time I went “hunting” with my dad. We traipsed through the woods for, like, FOREVER ~ he with his rifle on his shoulder and me looking like an escapee from a juvenile detention center in my humungous blaze orange jumpsuit so big on me the crotch hung to my knees. I watched that rifle bob and swing as he walked, my eyes big as dinner plates at the thought that we were plotting to kill something. Like Bambi’s mom, and I had no clue how to feel about that. Well, yeah, I did. I just didn’t know if I had the right to feel differently about a thing than my dad.
We finally reached the spot.
A sawed off tree stump in a clearing with tall grass that divided in the wind. Just a moment before the breeze passed and it fell inline again. Obedient. Uniform.
We took turns on the stump. First me, fidgeting and fighting down the nausea. Then Dad, the rifle propped on his knees and pointing away from me. I was perched on the stump when the deer stepped into the clearing and looked at us. No rack. Just rippling tawny muscle and flicking white ears. A real beauty.
Dad knelt, quiet as could be, and put the gun on the ground. The deer saw his movement. Twitched, like she was confused. I sure as hell know I was. Dad stood up and pointed something different at the deer who stood, head held high and proud.
Click. He nailed her. The perfect picture.
“We can go now.” He put the camera back in his camo bag and picked up the rifle. “Don’t tell nobody,” he said, turning his back on me and walking away.
And I never did. Until today.