|GOING HUNTING AT THE CRACK
Dad always enjoyed hunting and fishing! After reaching the point in life when he
could no longer drive, other than frequent walks along the well worn paths leading to
the wooded ridges along the Hutchinson mountain ranges and nearby creeks, he made
convincing arguments for others to take him. Often saying that he hated to travel when
requested to visit relatives, Dad made exceptions to that rule when the trip included
hunting and fishing.
Brother-in-law, Gary Gammill, and I became partners in a used portable camper that
fit neatly into the bed of a pickup. Thinking it needed broken in, Gary located a "hot
spot" about 200 miles distance to open the squirrel season that fall and , after loading
Dad one Friday afternoon, away we went.
The sun was slowly creeping out of sight when we arrived on location, having passed
a number of other hunting camps on the way into the area. Forgetting all about Dad,
Gary and I concentrated on setting up camp and fixing supper. It was pitch dark
before we decided to locate him, which wasn't really difficult as judged by the
laughter coming from a distant camp.
After introducing ourselves and handling other acts of camp diplomacy, those
fellows threatened bodily harm when we suggested that we had to cart Dad back to
our base camp. As Dad always said, "Going hunting and fishing ain't always about the
hunting and fishing!" I now realize that I never fully appreciated the life-lessons he
tried to teach.
Dad, always "early to bed and earlier to rise" soon suggested "lights out", if we
intended to get in a good day of hunting. Neither, did it take long before Gary and I
realized that we failed to pack and alarm clock. Overhearing us, Dad questioned our
need of an alarm clock and immediately pulled out his bottle of 'Milk-of-Magnesia'
and asked, "What time do you boys want up in the morning?"
Without waiting a reply, Dad turned the bottle up and gulped down his normal dose.
I'll always remember the image of him standing there in his long-johns and holding the
bottle up to the light as he gauged the remaining volume and, then, took one last swig.
Seeing the question on my face, Dad advised, "Now, I'll just bet I'll be able to wake
you boys about 5 O'clock!"
Just as reliable as a crowing rooster, I woke up to the sound of Dad fumbling with
the zipper on the tents mosquito netting. "What's wrong Dad?" I asked. His grunted
reply, which needed no further thought on my part was, "If you don't help me get this
damn tent open, you'll find out what's wrong!"