Sunday, June 13, 2004

My first deer ever was taken with a Marlin M336 .30-30 (if I can find the serial number of that gun I would, foolish youth sent it on it's way in a trade...[:I]) with a Williams Foolproof Receiver Sight. My dad bought it for me (although I'd thought I'd saved enough for it and that it was MY money that crossed the counter) and it was bought used from a Western Auto (remember those?) in Harrisonburg, VA. I still go by the spot I shot that deer every year, usually carrying Dad's gun... Anyway, it was a buck that field dressed at 120 pounds and had a little 5 point (eastern count) rack. My dad drove it off a clear cut and I shot it at about 40 yards. I think that was 1970... We found a 20 gauge Foster slug just under the skin and just behind the rib cage and that wound was all healed up. Lots of fine memories in that one hunt...

I often wonder if Dad knew just what that one event would mean to me over the years. In Korea, when fall came and I couldn't go home to hunt, I'd often day dream of that hunt. Of course, it wasn't just killing my first deer or first buck or using my new-to-me rifle, it really was about sharing the whole experience with my dad. I have to say that I got punished about as much as any other kid I knew and that my dad wasn't one to spare the rod but I've no bad memories of him at all. I deserved every spanking I ever got. What I do remember best are all the times we were in the outdoors. When dad kept me from going over the side of the 120 foot fire tower, or when we were in the 16' open motorboat crossing Lake George in 6 foot waves (Dad couldn't swim) with water coming in the boat and all of us bailing... Come to think of it, Dad wasn't bailing, he was sitting in his usual position, slightly hunched over (he was 6'+ tall) with both hands firmly grasping the seat. Maybe he was scared, it didn't seem so at the time. I remember the long hikes in Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia. I remember the fishing even when I was 6 at Spruce Knob Lake in WV or on the river on Grandpa's farm. I remember the sight of my dad coming in from fighting a forest fire still wearing his grimy white T shirt (they were ALL white then and with no logos) to take me to the Elkins, WV Forest Festival. I remember oooohing and aaaahing over the live otters in the tank at the WV Game Commission display while Dad talked with people he knew (probably about the fire). I remember seeing parades from his shoulders and having trouble standing afterwards. The thing about Dad was that there was a lot to remember about him. I guess I was kinda lucky.

No comments: