December 14, 2014

The Buck Stops Here

*warning: this post contains a graphic image that may be disturbing to some readers*

I am a city slicker, my husband hunts.

We have reconciled that difference in our marriage and it all works out in the end.

His annual deer hunt with his brothers is something he starts counting down for approximately 11 months and 26 days before the big event.  That would be approximately the day after the previous deer hunt ended.

It's usually completely harmless.  He goes up to our cabin with my oldest son and all of the other menfolk and they drink A&W rootbeer and eat Double Stuf Oreos by the pound.  They walk around the woods carrying their rifles and stay up late into the night watching old western movies.  I'm pretty convinced there isn't any hunting that really goes on.  But he comes home rejuvenated and a more energetic father and husband - so I absolutely support his annual getaway.

Yesterday, he had a friend invite him to go hunting on some property locally and he jumped at the chance.  Another opportunity to let him walk around in the woods for a few hours and come home happier than when he left?  Sure, I supported it again.

Until. . . I was at a restaurant having lunch with my mom and I received THE text.  The text that I have always dreaded.


Following the text were some proud images.  I was eating lunch.  I finally had to put my phone away.


So the few hours of a happy deer hunt turned into an all day adventure as he had to drive down in the Shenandoah Valley to a deer processor to drop off his trophy of the day.  Since it would be too late to drive back home, he took a few of the kids with him to spend the night at the cabin since the processor is not too far away from it.

Does this sound foreign and unsettling to you?

Let me ease your mind a bit.  The established rule in our household is that we eat what we kill.  We can buy our meat as a product of a cow in a slaughter house, or we can eat our meat from a completely free range natural source that had a better life not stuck in a small pen.  Like I said, I have reconciled that in my mind, but seeing the process is something I just assume avoid.

One of the children that he brought to the cabin via the deer processor was my little 5 year old daughter -- the human sponge.  I have never seen a person as observant and aware of every element of life and her surroundings as she is.  Her wheels are always turning and she wants to take in everything she sees.  She is also addicted to deer jerky.  With good reason.  Let me tell you, I can never eat jerky sold in stores after having the amazing jerky produced by this deer processor.  It is full of all sorts of spices and flavors and, after just one bite, you will never be the same.  She was excited for her dad's successful hunt knowing that some yummy eats would result.

She insisted on going into the game processor's store because she wanted to take in the all that this entailed.  She meet some burly hunters and chomped on a piece of jerky offered to her by the butcher.  I can't imagine that many cute little girls stuck to their dad's leg frequent his shop.  Prior to that, as they pulled in, she insisted on seeing the dead buck under the tarp on tow carrier.  She understands the circle of life and was not phased in the least.  Quite the contrary.  She wanted to touch it.  {insert that none of this would have taken place if I was there.  Remember - city slicker with an absurd addiction to hand sanitizer?}  She took a hold of its antlers and gently moved the head and started her deep chuckle belly laugh at herself.

"Look Dad, I am making him say 'yes' and 'no'," she told Alan as she rocked its head up and down and side to side with the antler.

How GROSS is that?! Where does she get THAT from?!

Seriously.  She is cut from a different cloth. When I relayed that story to her older sisters they practically lost their cookies.

Alan had to take a picture. Don't worry, this won't be going in our next Christmas card.

But, I gotta love her little mind that is unphased, courageous, curious and stealth. Nothing is going to pass her by in life, including the Buck.