Remember Your Roots and Keep Them Colored

Hunting is not for sissies

By Trena Eiden
Posted 11/24/20

My hat’s off to folks who willingly get up at 4:30 a.m., gladly eat cold sandwiches, and joyfully puff and pant and sweat and swear. You’re not my people.

Gar and I hunted from the …

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Remember Your Roots and Keep Them Colored

Hunting is not for sissies

Posted

My hat’s off to folks who willingly get up at 4:30 a.m., gladly eat cold sandwiches, and joyfully puff and pant and sweat and swear. You’re not my people.

Gar and I hunted from the pickup for a week before our hunters came. When we hunt alone, we aren’t hardcore. Getting out of the truck to walk merely means we have to potty, though this year I made Gar cut dead limbs. He texted our kids: “Mom is working on Christmas projects so we brought back a pickup full of trees. Hunting with Mom is like hunting while also going to Hobby Lobby. We hunt awhile then jump out and do arts and crafts.”

Last year, we could get bucks, three points or better. What we saw were so many two-point forky horns, they could have started a club.

This year was any buck, so we only saw does. Knowing this, they weren’t fearful. In fact, we got so acquainted, we exchanged recipes and talked about the joy of raising children who leave you when they grow up. Jab to offspring everywhere.

Last week, our oldest son, Tug, and his boys — Garrett, nearly 12, and Dane, 8 — came to hunt. The youngsters hike a lot with their dad, but they’d never hunted. The first morning, they had their boots on, but Tug noticed their laces weren’t very tight so he was re-lacing them when Garrett asked if we had toe warmers. Frowning, Tug replied, “Toe warmers? This isn’t a spa. Besides, you’ll be in the pickup with Gramps, who’ll have it so hot you’ll be down to your underwear in a few minutes.”

As you’ll recall, Tug, the greyhound, is the son who, last fall, happily let me, the dachshund, nearly die climbing a mountain that I should have been drug up, tied behind a mule. Instead, I clawed up on my belly. I’d decided never to tempt Jesus again, but after a couple days, the grandsons asked if I would come with them, and who could turn down grandsons? Well, I could because I’m like that, but on this day, and against my better judgment, I relented — partly because I was enticed with chocolate Gar said he had in his backpack.

I made chili the night before, so in the wee morning hours, I took it from the refrigerator and thanked all the angels in heaven for whoever invented crockpots. Then I bundled up, knowing we were hiking, because Gar told me, “Dress warm, we’re hiking.” But then he said something that was such a blatant fabrication, I can’t believe I fell for it: “The mountain we’re climbing won’t be nearly as steep as the one you whined about last year.” I let that snide remark pass and in good faith relied on his word. I now know he’s quite a blatant liar and I’m thinking up something spectacularly evil to pay him back.

The evening prior, I’d asked Gar if he had something orange I could use. He assured me he did. That morning, as we got to the point of interest known only to men on a mission, I asked Gar if he’d give me the orange item. Wearing his headlamp in the total darkness, he tried to hand me something while saying, “I brought you a hat.” I said, “Like a hunter’s orange cap, complete with a brim?” He said, “Yep.” Enunciating like a teenage girl, I said, “Oh, no you di-ent.” Not understanding, he said, “Ya, I did.” I bristled a bit and, sounding completely unreasonable to a man, replied, “You brought me a slicker, a neck warmer, a vest or an armband, but you did not bring me a hat. Now dig in that bag for something else because I have standards. They’re low but I have them.” And so, God bless him, he did.

We hiked a hill so steep, I’m pretty sure nobody else hikes it — like there’s an escalator in the back for sane people. Gasping, I turned to tell Gar I was dying, but I didn’t have air. We rested a moment, then I made the statement. Amusing only himself, he chortled, “I won’t let you off that easy. You’ve got hunters to cook for.”

Even in five layers, I was freezing at the wind-blown peak, and there was no promised chocolate. Instead, there were caramels, so hard I could have rubbed them together to make a fire. I didn’t, because Gar would’ve used my fire for warmth. I guess I showed him.

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