The boy walked quietly through the woods, following his father. It was very early and dark…maybe the middle of the night. He could hear all the nighttime sounds. He could smell the earth, the leaves and coffee, Winston’s and Old Spice after shave, all familiar to him. Branches were being bent and slapping back into place, twigs were snapping and leaves were rustling. Why was HE supposed to “walk like and Indian” while his father, more Indian than him, surely wasn’t!
The boy was almost 8 years old, fairly large for his age, and carried his grandfather’s doubled barreled shotgun. It was long and heavy and FANTASTIC! He was going on his first real deer hunt!
The pair walked on through the woods for what seemed like hours, with him being careful not to make a sound. In his mind, he was a Cherokee scout, tracking for Daniel Boone. He needed to be alert and sneaky. Suddenly, there appeared a large clearing and the moonlight shone brightly. They had reached their destination!
His father took him to a tree with small boards nailed to the trunk. At the top of those boards were two 2x4s nailed to the tree trunk with a 1×12 on the top of them, forming a “bench”. He started to climb while his father held the gun for him. It seemed to take forever; the slats of wood were not very stable and added to the tension. When he reached the top of the steps, he struggled to get onto the “bench”. The he looked down for the first time and realized how high up he was! The bench was small and the tree seemed to be moving, but, not wanting to be a “baby”, he dutifully dropped his rope so his father could tie the gun onto it. The boy then hoisted the shotgun up to the platform. Once he had it stabilized, he broke it open and loaded two 12 gauge buckshot shell into the barrels, closed the breach and said to his father, “A-OK”. The he started looking out across the meadow. Now it was time to watch and wait.
– to be continued.