Yesterday was opening day for deer hunting season here in Michigan. As a child, I have few memories about hunting except this was a time when my Mother and I caught the bus at 5 Points and rode to downtown Detroit,to spend the day shopping at Hudsons.
We would eat lunch in the Hudson’s cafeteria. There was a special floor just for children to shop with no parents. The items were inexpensive and there were clerks to help find items for all the people on my list.
I have one memory of my Dad skinning a rabbit. He had it hung from the basement ceiling. I asked for one of the rabbits feet. Instead he handed me the fluffy tail to hold commenting,”The feet weren’t lucky for this rabbit.” Later , I recall seeing a bowl of rabbit meat soaking in water and salt. Mom remarked,”the meat must be soaked to remove all the blood.” I don’t remember eating the stew.
I do recall a story Dad told about the last deer hunt that he and Grandpa Turnbull were on together. Grandpa Cliff, had experienced two strokes. Though physically he was sound, He had memory losses. He would repeat the same story over and over to my Dad.
They decided to drive to the Upper Peninsula to hunt at Warner’s cabins, owned by friends from town. It was a long trip and Dad was regaled with the same hunting stories until Grandpa smacked the dash remarking,”I have already told you this, Bruce please stop me if I do this again,”
They got to the cabins late in the afternoon and unpacked. They would hunt early the next day.
In the morning, Bruce took his Dad to a deer blind that offered some shelter from the snow and wind. Grandpa was left with a thermos of hot coffee, blankets , a chair and a place to prop up his gun.
“Dad, if you need me, fire several shots in the air and I will come to help.”
“Bruce, I will be alright, just go hunting.”
So with his Dad snug and safe from other hunters, my Dad went off to hunt while walking the woods. He didn’t see any game. After several hours, Dad decided to go and check on Cliff.
As he entered the clearing, imagine his surprize to see a deer, a nine point buck hanging in a tree.
“Dad, how did you dress that deer?”
Grandpa sheepishly admitted that after he shot the deer, he tried to hoist the large deer into a tree. Two hunters, hearing the shots, asked if Grandpa needed some help.
That would be great.”
So the three of them hoisted the deer and dressed it.
When my Dad came back, Grandpa was finishing the last of his coffee. Bruce loaded the items form the blind and tied the deer to the hood of his car.
All the way home and for the rest of Grandpa’s life he told and retold the story of his last deer hunt.
All too soon, Grandpa died several months later. My Dad said that he would give anything to hear his Dad tell the hunting story one more time.
This Thanksgiving take the time to appreciate and listen to those you are with. The stories will be the memories for the future. Remind others of the people who are gone by sharing stories about the family members no longer with us.
This is a poem from the Weekly Avocet that was published last week. The Avocet is a great to get your poetry out to others to read and comment. For information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
It was a breezy October day.
Blowing the last of the rains away
a scarf dangles around my throat.
As I rummage for a warm coat.
Rushing outside to my woods,
I turn the wind with my hood.
Soon, I find a fallen tree.
A throw (a depression) at the base waits for me.
Snuggling in, my back at the base,
Looking around, I see empty space.
Hues of red and orange form a lacy canopy.
I sit quite still to wait and see.
Soon a wind starts to blow.
Leaves are plucked , swirl like jeweled snow.
I watch until I am covered with leaves.
Smiling, I feel one with the trees.
All too soon, I feel the cold.
Shaking off leaves, I turn to go.
Stopping I reach for a golden leaf.
This one I will keep
In memory of falling leaves.