Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Blaze of Glory Orangey

Once again, it's that time of year when Minnesota hunters hit the woods in search of a trophy buck. That is, all except for my dad. His reason for hunting? Purely for the meat. You won't see him pass up a doe, just because "the big one" might be out there still.

I have fond memories of hunting season. No, I've never ventured out in blaze orange clothing, sporting multiple layers of clothing to keep warm, trudging through snow to the perfect deer stand, and lugging a heavy gun on my shoulder. Quite the contrary. My parents used to hunt with my Grandpa, which meant that my two younger sisters and I spent lots of quality time with Grandma.

The trek to their house was filled with excitement. We always were thrilled to visit my grandparents in their small, one-room, lamp-lit cabin. You see, for most of our growing-up years, my grandparents made their home in a secluded cabin in the north woods of Minnesota. While they decided to build their home without electricity or running water, that was part of the adventure for us girls.

Some of my favorite memories... standing in front of the wood stove on a chilly evening, hiking the boardwalk to the creek out back, the smell of Grandpa's shed in the "boneyard," the sound of the red hand pump, feeding the deer and seeing them on the edge of the woods just waiting for us to leave so they could make their way to the feeder, the moose antlers hanging over the wood stove, Little Red (resident red squirrel), playing thousands of card games on the porch, sitting in the "dark" watching the lamplight flicker, making "craft projects" and using so much tape Grandpa would say, "I should have taken out stock in 3M," playing "house" with our dolls under the table, and Grandma's pancakes!

Okay, back to hunting season.

Once Dad got off work, we would make the 30-mile trip to my grandparents house. After a yummy supper, we do the dishes (with water heated in the tea kettle, of course) and spend the evening in the light of the flickering lamp on the table, listening to the wood crackle in the stove which radiated its heat through the house. Before we knew it, it was time to hit the hay because the hunters would be up in a few hours to prepare for the day of hunting.

In a matter of a few hours, it was opening day! As I mentioned before, it was basically a one room house, and no matter how quiet their voices were, it was inevitable that my sisters and I would wake up as Mom, Dad, and Grandpa prepared to leave. Of course Grandma was up making breakfast, lunches, and multiple snacks for their day out in the elements. Knowing the fire had long since burned out, Becky, Erin, and I would stay snuggled in our sleeping bags and only sit up for a quick hug and kiss before the hunters were off.

After a few more hours of sleep, we'd no doubt hear the familiar squeak of the stove door and a thump as Grandma started a fire. I can almost hear her saying right now, "Girls, just stay in your sleeping bags until it warms up in here." We'd giggle and wiggle as we waited for the temperature to rise and would often jump into bed with Grandma to snuggle before we got the okay to get up. In didn't take long for Grandma to ask, "What do you girls want for breakfast?" I really don't know why she always asked this question, because she knew we would chime in unison Pancakes!

Thus would begin our fun-filled day of cartoons (yes, they had a battery-operated TV), games, craft projects, and so much more. Later in the afternoon, we would keep watch to see the hunters returning, hoping we'd see a deer in the truck as reward for their long day in the cold. The evening was filled with stories of the day, every detail told with exact preciseness so we could feel like we were experiencing the day with them.

After quite a few years of not hunting, my Dad got back into it a couple years ago. As I said earlier, he's not obsessed with getting a huge, mount-it-on-your-wall, trophy buck. This year was no exception. A run-down of his day:

5:15 AM Wake up call
6:00 AM In deer stand
6:30 AM Daylight
7:30 AM Shoot deer
9:30 AM Arrive at home
10:30 AM Deer hung and skinned
11:00 AM Out hunting once again

For not being a trophy-buck hunter, he sure got a nice deer. An 8-point buck! Biggest one he's ever shot. Way to go, Dad!

Doesn't he look proud?


ben and erin said...

ahhh... the fond memories of gramma's house. i can smell it all now.

way to go dad! i hope he wore more orange than just that hat...!

Anonymous said...

way to go marv!!! awesome job!!!

Rae Thompson said...


That my dear, brought tears to my eyes. Please send it to your grandma. The impact we have on our families and loved ones as they grow up adds a very unique dimension to our life here on earth. You captured the very essence of Phyl and "Uncle" perfectly! I have many simaler memories, different time different place.

Love, Rae

jaclyn said...

thanks for sharing. i would love to see pics of that one room cabin. sounds way neat! what a different way to live.