Yesterday marked the opening of the 2008 gun deer season in Wisconsin. This has always been an important event in my family. My Dad went to college in Stevens Point and he and his buddies have hunting land about a 20 minutes East of where we now live. Each year the week before Thanksgiving my Dad would pack his bags and head North for the week. We'd spend the week at home with my Mom, going about our normal routine and waiting for a call from Dad to hear if he got a deer. I remember these weeks vividly; and I remember them being full of anticipation. Dad would always come home the weekend after Thanksgiving and if it was a good year, there would be a deer in the back of his truck.
Because I was raised by an avid hunter one of the things I looked for in my future husband was that he loved this sport. This may seem odd to some, but I could not imagine being married to someone that didn't hunt. In addition to hunting, one of my Dad's other hobbies is taxidermy. As anyone who has been to my parent's house knows, the trademark items in their house are the mounted animals. They currently have deer, geese, ducks, fish, rabbits, squirrels, and a coyote. When we were younger there were much, much more (including a sea gull....don't ask :) )
When I found out Collin was a hunter, I made a mental check by that qualification box and I knew for certain that he would fit into my family just fine. (My brother actually made reference to that fact in the comments to this post.)
But here's the thing about hunting and specifically about opening weekend, although it is not something I directly participate in (I used to beg my Dad to take me with to which he told me 'when you are 13' -of course 13 came and went and I was never able to go with. Years later I understand why....this is a guys thing. Not that woman can't hunt, it's just that they like their time with the guys) I get just as excited as the boys do. I can't wait to hear the updates as to who got their deer and how big they were. I love the stories about their drives or the one that got away. I'm thankful that my Mom was a good role model for me growing up. She always accepted that my Dad would be gone for the week, she never argued about the fact that my Dad wouldn't spend Thanksgiving with us, she just accepted this hobby for what it is and supported my Dad and his hunting trip. I feel like I can be a better wife to Collin, my hunter, now because of her influence.
So, I'm happy to report that Collin got a deer this opening weekend. It is an 8-point buck with a 14-inch spread. He plans to have my Dad do a European mount for him, which is a mount of the skull and horns. I can't wait to have it done and get it up on the wall because each animal we add makes our house feel more like a home.
25 years ago today my Dad missed his first (and, to date, last) hunting season as he stayed home to welcome his son into the world. As soon as my brother made his debut, my Dad's hunting buddies were on the phone telling him he could come up now, the baby is here. Dad didn't leave home that year (I think my mom would have killed him) and I know that if he had to miss one season the birth of his newest hunting buddy was the perfect reason to miss. My brother shares my Dad's passion for hunting, so you can only imagine how he spent his big day. I was going to do an acrostic for my brother for his birthday but instead I'm going to direct you to Kira's, my sister-in-laws, new blog. She has a much better post up; one that brought tears to my eyes.
Happy Birthday Justin! I feel so lucky to have gotten you as a sibling. You are not only my brother, but my friend. Here's wishing you a wonderful year!