Hunting. There was no hunting in our home growing up. Daddy had long left fishing & hunting behind. Daddy didn't even own a gun. Growing up I knew plenty of folks who did hunt. Mostly squirrel and deer. Both of my brother in laws did. I loved when they'd give Mama some squirrel and she made dumplings or fried them. And I really enjoyed deer meat as well. My sister Sarah could fry the best venison I ever ate.
In High School, it wasn't unusual at all to see rifles in gun racks in trucks in the parking lot. No one opened fire on classmates. But lots of fellows went hunting early in the morning or directly after school when season was open.
After Daddy was gone and mother married Polk, Jr., we had a hunter in the house. So the supply of squirrel and venison increased. Oh, but he liked to eat the brains of the squirrel. I couldn't stand it. He was nice though, and would sit the heads to one side and wait until I left the table to eat them.
Then I grow up and marry my redneck. And he was raised in the woods. Eating, not only deer and squirrel, but also rabbit and coon. So, I was thrown wide open into a world that revolved around hunting season. Club dues, rifles, shotguns, shells, camouflage, deer dogs, muddy roads, early mornings.
In the first years, we belonged to the largest lease the local timber companies had. It was legal to hunt with dogs in Texas. I still don't understand them outlawing that. You hunt with a dog, a deer is almost never waisted: shot and never found. Luckily, Pete is one of the best around at tracking a deer himself. He can spot one drop of blood on a talla tree leaf. If you are familiar with these red, brown leaves, you'll understand the level of skill I'm talking about.
After they did outlaw the dogs, and when Bubba was preschool & kindergarten, Pete joined a lease and paid extra for a camp permit. We hauled a tiny camper in there. We'd spend evenings by the fire. Folks would stop by after their evening hunt to have a cup of coffee before driving out. Sometimes others would come by later and we'd all play 42 and cook over the fire. Other nights, we'd put all the guns in the camper and just ride in the truck or on a three wheeler. Just to ride, just to look and shine. Occasionally to visit another camp.
When we camped, it was all blankets, coal oil lamps, a couple of butane burners, a drip pot, and roaring fires. No cell phones. No electricity. And no noise at all. At the time, I had a job at the front desk of a local oil distributor. The phone would often be hectic. Lots of walk in sales. Lots of phoned in orders. We lived on the side of a farm to market road that had ever increasing traffic. And the newer stereos that got louder and louder were coming out. By the end of a week, I was thrilled to pack a couple of coolers and head up to the deer camp. To unplug, unwind and enjoy the quiet and the peace.
Pete encouraged me and even got me to hunting for a couple of years. I only shot one deer. A doe. But I blew her heart out at 100 yards.
Times change. We live in Caneyhead now. I have my peace and quiet and woods all around every day. When I come home in the evenings and turn on our little road, my soul says, "AAaawwhh! This is nice." Now, when Pete and Bug tear out and go hunting I stay home and sleep in. Watch silly old movies. Play online. Or catch up on housework.
I have no desire to hunt again. I enjoyed it at the time. Spent a lot of the time on the stand in reflection and prayer. May be why I never killed but one deer. But I think my hunting days are over. I'll just congratulate them when they bring home their kill and fry up a big platter full for us all to enjoy.
What about you? Ever hunt? Ever camp with no running water or electricity?