Thursday, October 27, 2011

First Freeze!

We had our first freeze last night and just like that the garden has been put to sleep which makes me realize that I like to live in a climate that has seasons.  In Oregon we have all four and now at the end of October we are in the thick of Autumn where the leaves turn crimson, other shades of reds and oranges, Fall palette colors.  The rains have not begun yet and the leaves fall into fluffy piles at the garden edge, along the roads, everywhere.  It is deer hunting season which takes me all the way back to the third grade and Miss Westen's
writing assignment: "What did you do over summer vacation?"
   I have mentioned this in earlier blogs but I never finished the story, told you what I really wrote about or how I came upon the idea. 
   We had one gun in the house, a single shot, bolt action Walther Rifle, .22 caliber.  It was a heavy instrument and pretty safe as far as guns go.  Shoot it one time and it was always empty.  No extra bullets, no magazine, nothing in the chamber, just the one shot and always empty.  As a child I could barely carry it let alone raise it to my shoulders and take aim.  I was allowed to fire it for the first time the summer I was in the first grade although I had gone target shooting with my dad and my older brother many years before then.
I knew the procedure, this gun shooting ceremony we did every year.
   We cleaned the rife twice every year, once before we used it and then laboriously and in detail after the shooting.  We would take it all apart, not quickly and blindfolded like a military person might be able to do, but with reverence and respect, polishing each piece and placing it on a cotton cloth placed on the table.
   We always did this at the kitchen table, my dad, my brother and me, always talking and cleaning the rifle.
We shot penny's and these wounded coins would be polished and lined up on the table along with the pieces of the disassembled rifle.
   We did our hunting at a cousin's farm and that was always pretty safe too.  The Walther Rifle would be behind the back seat of the Rambler Station Wagon, our family car.  The bolt action would always be separate and in its cloth covering in the glove box and my dad was always in charge of the bullets, a box of 50 that, after I was in the first grade would be shared amongst the three of us.
   We always shot at the same place, a little knol near a falling down fence, shooting against a hill.  We would place cans on the fence posts until they just became too easy to hit and then we would shoot penny's, hooking them with a bit of wire to the post.  I got pretty good at this and by the third grade could hit a penny from as far away as I could see it, maybe a hundred feet.
   On many occasions we would go shooting just before Christmas and this became a tradition.  There was a grove of oak trees on my cousin's farm and way up high, in abundance, perched near the very top, were the wild Mistletoe!  These could have been lions for us.  We always talked of the dangers involved in encountering an angry, wounded mistletoe!  A clean kill would be a good shot at that little place where the stem was connected to the oak tree.  It was all in fun and there was never any blood.
   This was one of the occasions in my life where I sensed that what was, isn't necessarily the way you have to see it. I discovered that it was pretty easy to become Peter Pan or to become Hemingway on the greatest hunt ever. Easy to make mistletoe lions and fearful of the wounded ones.
   So I made up the whole damned thing!  I have never been hunting in my life, never killed an air breathing creature although from time to time I have been known to strangle a fish.
   My little story about "what I did last summer" was all about something I knew nothing about.  I think it was titled, "My deer hunting adventure" or something like that.  One day I will retell that story but it was all a lie.

I am often HERE


conservativelybohemian said...

I got a kick out of your version of "the one that got away," Jerry. I love seeing or hearing of a child with a fabulous imagination. I never had much of one, always too literal and not taken to flights of fancy. Maybe that is why I love books so much. They had the ability to transport me. Have to tell you that hitting a penny as a target is an amazing feat!

Kay said...

wonderful post!