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Uh-Oh... That Time's Coming Again

Walt C. Snedeker

Just when things begin to look normal around here, I have to go and notice that since Summer Is Definitely Here, then it is obvious that Fall Must Be Just Around The Corner. And we all know what that means. Well, some of us know what that means. For those of you who are somehow out of the loop, it means that deer huntin' season is almost nigh.
It follows, then, that preparations must be made. And soon. Why, it's only four or five months before opening day! The Fabled PC is tolerant of this sort of behavior. She no longer tells the boys that "Daddy is going out to murder Bambi". The boys are both grown up and gone, now. Strangely, neither one of them has ever had the slightest desire to go deer hunting.
Being able to respond to unusual situations is necessary if one is to qualify as a competent hunter. Back when the boys were little, I took them out quail hunting. When a flock (insiders call it a covey) of them suddenly took off right in front of us with a roar, I nervously jerked the trigger. Unfortunately, all I hit was a frog. My boys had to be reassured. I spoke in a calm, manly way:
"Well, at least I knocked his feathers off."
Folks that know us say that as couple, we remind them of psychotherapy. She's "therapy".
She sighs a lot when I begin my preparations, but deep down she knows that I have to get out and do my Nature thing.
This year, the plan is to use a new strategy. Instead of trying to sneak carefully through the woods (and every year getting terrified and lost), the services of a guide will be retained. This expensive decision was arrived at mutually between my dainty bride and Your Humble Obedient. It's not that I am not a good tracker -- oh, no. Last year I followed these tracks into a cave -- and shot a train. But the Fabled PC has insisted that I get a little more organized. I suppose that it comes from the fact that for forty years, I've gone different places without anything to show for it except the usual pats on the shoulders and head from the Forestry Service folks when they have found me and delivered me safely back home.
But this year is different. Not only am I going to be hunting deer, but I am also getting set up to bring home a bear. The advertisements for the hunting lodge have woven a spell which is irresistible. I've reread them a hundred times already, trying to glean hidden extra tidbits from the phrases. "Best Hunting In North America!" "We'll Take You To Your Very Own Deer Stand!" That means that if I don't climb down, I can't get lost. Much. Wow. I wonder if they'll get a few hundred South Carolina natives in a long line to drive the deer past me...
Now I realize, Gentle Reader, that you may not be one of those people that secretly feel as if they were born a couple of centuries late. You may even have a bumper sticker that reads: "Support The Right To Arm Bears!" But all I have to do is look at that stuffed bear in our living room that reminds me of my uncle. When folks ask me what it's stuffed with, I confess: "my uncle".
But I would much prefer to finally come home with a deer. For the last 35 years of wedded bliss, each deer season I have dreamed of being able to drag this monstrous deer into the kitchen -- horns, hooves, and all. I'd plop it on the kitchen table before my astonished redhead, and wander into the shower, saying casually over my shoulder: "Medium rare."
Hasn't happened yet. (*sigh*) But now it looks like I can sit in my Very Own Deer Stand and do more than just collect dust. I will have a good chance of coming home with a genuine buck.
Speaking of bucks, all I have to do now to get up enough money to be allowed to sit in My Very Own etc. is collect about six and a half tons of aluminum cans from the roadsides of Broward County between now and October. That looks to be a tad difficult.
Another way to raise the dough might be to advertise as a handyman-for-hire. For some reason, my darling redhead is adamant that I shouldn't even consider doing this. I just don't see why she is so worried about our liability insurance limits...
Ah! An inspiration! Just yesterday, as I was stopped on the Commercial Boulevard off-ramp from Route 95, a raggedy guy came up to my car window and asked me for $2 for a sandwich.
"I dunno," I answered, "lemme see the sandwich."
Out of curiosity, I asked him what his take was on an average day. His answer was, "Oh, about twenty to thirty bucks. An hour."
I'm moving in on his territory for the next couple of months. So if you see a somewhat out of shape haggard-looking guy standing there with a "Will Hunt For Food" sign, toss him a few bucks, OK?

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