Occasionally I get a chance to do something real interesting. You know
what I mean, one of those days that will linger in your memory for the rest
of your life.
Many times the reason you remember that day is because something went
wrong and you had to work hard to overcome the problem or survive the day.
Sometimes the day lives on in your memory because it was a day so nice; it
buries the average days you usually have in your already crowded mind.
Sometimes it's both.
Such was a day in mid November when my son asked me to join him on the
opening day of the prairie deer season. I didn't have a deer permit for
the area, but he wanted someone around who could help him retrieve a deer
if he was successful. He also wanted me to spend some time with his two
young sons, Nathan who is seven and Cody who is four. In other words, he
needed a babysitter. What grandfather wouldn't want to spend the day with
his two grandsons in the great outdoors? I agreed.
Very early the morning of the hunt, my son arrived at my house to pick me
up. I expected the grandsons to be asleep, but they were wide-awake and
ready to go. Their whooping and running around the yard probably woke the
neighbors for two blocks in every direction. I was wondering if I had
enough energy to survive the day.
Four hours and a million questions later, we arrived at a wooded section
of hills in the northwestern part of the state. While dad searched the
hills for a deer, grandpa (the kids call me "Pa") answered a million more
questions. I never questioned it before, but why do deer like to live in
such steep places? Wouldn't it be easier if they just lived in a hay
field? Why does my face turn red when the youngest grandson puts his
sticky hands on the lenses of my binoculars? Why does Pa need a nap when
the grandsons want to explore? Can mountain lions open car doors and eat
you while you nap? Like I said, a million questions.
Exploring a new world can be a real adventure. We found one heart shaped
rock, so we needed to find another. One bag of pinecones isn't enough; we
had to collect one for each of the boys. I'm told that orange vests sized
for adults, look like Jedi robes on young boys.
"Pa, don't you think this big rock would look nice in our front yard?"
"Why don't we cut a Christmas tree while dad hunts?" "Nathan found a deer
horn; I want one too!" "Do coyotes eat little boys who can't run fast
Exploring is a wonderful and sometimes humorous task when you do it with
little boys. "This is juniper. Pull off a few needles and smell it.
That's what juniper smells like. This is sage. Notice how different it
smells than juniper and pine?"
We were having a great time when Cody held up a handful of small nuggets
and asked what they were.
"Oh, those are deer droppings Cody."
"Can I keep them Pa?"
"I don't think that would be a good idea Cody."
"But Pa, if the deer dropped them, he didn't want them anymore; so why
can't I keep them?"
"Well Cody, your mother probably doesn't want them in the house."
"But Pa, I can keep them in my bedroom. She won't mind if I keep them
there." When a four-year-old pleads his case, his volume control
occasionally gets a little high.
It finally occurred to me that Cody didn't know what deer droppings were.
From the funny smile on Nathan's face, I could tell that he knew what
Cody's new treasure was, but he wasn't telling anyone. Big brothers are
like that sometimes.
"Cody, do you know what deer droppings are?"
"Yea, something a deer dropped."
How do you explain something like this without laughing?
"Cody, deer droppings are deer poopy."
"Oh!" he said as he dropped his new treasure and rubbed his hands on his
pants leg. The rest of his discoveries were pointed out while they
remained on the ground.
We also discovered we had a flat tire and the spare was very low, but a
passing hunter came to our rescue with a tank of air. Hunters are usually
willing to rescue other hunters in need, especially if those other hunters
have little children with them.
We didn't return with a deer that day; but we all had a great adventure.
It was a day I'll remember for a very long time. I'm sure a couple of
young grandsons will remember it too.
How about you? Isn't it time you took your children or grandchildren on a
little adventure? The treasures you find will be more than pinecones and
pretty rocks. ~ Al Campbell