I can’t sleep

My back is killing me, so I got up to take some Advil, and sit on something hard. I guess it’s been getting worse for the last month or so, but today I really aggravated something. I went up to the camp to see if Mom and Paul needed anything done, and ended up raking leaves. Oh, by the way, it’s Monday night. You probably won’t be reading this until Wednesday, because my most beautiful, kind-hearted and talented fiance did Tuesday’s post for me. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about how lucky I am to have her in my life. Anyways, I was up at the camp, and Paul was out on his watch; he’d gone up the week before to set up his blind in the honey hole. Mom had said she was going to rake up the leaves, so I grabbed the rake and helped. She is looking so tired and run-down lately, that it just tears my heart up, and there’s nothing I can do about it. It’s crazy how deep the ripples of cancer go when you think about it. While the person battling this whoring disease is getting the shit beat out of them, everyone who loves them is in a state of constant worry, and their family, friends and co-workers are going to feel the stress and lack of sleep that is inevitable in that situation. The primary caregiver is having to bear the brunt of everything, because they are on the front line, cooking, cleaning and basically being at the beck and call of whoever is sick. That’s in addition to running interference with everyone who calls, asks about or stops by, when the patient can’t or doesn’t want to see anyone. They also still have to do their regular duties, and try to get enough sleep to function. It takes a very strong heart and mind to keep that shit up, and my hat is off to anyone who has taken on that role, to ease someone else’s suffering.

While I was up there, I went over to Jim’s to have a beer with a couple of old friends, and I was wishing that I was back deer hunting again. I miss those days so much, that it almost felt like I was back there; sitting on the back porch, sucking back a few cold ones with the boys after an unsuccessful hunt. A little bit pissed that there was no meat hanging on the pole, but happy that there wasn’t anything to gut and skin on such a beautiful day. Curt and Jim reminded me how much I hate gutting big game. I remember the first deer we got up there. It was a clean kill that Brent got across the road from the cabin, and in the process, busted it’s shitbag. By the time we got it back to the camp, and had shared around the bottle of rum and cans of beer in celebration of a successful hunt, we started into gutting it. Now I don’t have a great stomach at the best of times, but with a belly full of booze, and my lungs full of cigars, shoving my arms inside a deer carcass wasn’t the place for me. I think I laid a trail of puke from here to Sunday, while heading for the trees. No one else could handle the stink of it either, so Jim ended up finishing the job, like he always does. He’s one guy that you could always trust to do whatever needs to be done. I learned so much about life from hanging out with those guys, and it was all life lessons, not some bullshit stories. They led by example, and never asked me to do a job that they wouldn’t do themselves.

I’ve decided that I’m going to go deer hunting next year, and every year after that, until I can’t hunt anymore. I don’t want to shoot a deer all that bad, but I can only hope that as I get older, and learn more things, that there will be some young punk kid that will come to my brothers and I for advice, just like we went to Paul, Jim, Glen, Curt and every other wise old prick that stepped foot into whatever group we were hunting in. I want my turn to sit on the watch, while a couple of twenty-somethings dog a big buck out in front of me. I’ve missed at least twelve years of comraderie, drunk by supper afternoons, and breaking the ice off the pond, so you can clean up enough to head into Apsley for the Hunter’s Ball, where there was a slight chance that a girl would dance with you. There was a much greater chance that your stepdad would wind up punching someone in the mouth, and the four of us would wind up fighting our way to the door, with the one that wasn’t old enough to drink, peeling out of the parking lot with people throwing rocks and beer bottles at us. What can you do when you’re the handsomest, most charming sons of bitches to ever grace the Apsley arena? Those guys were just jealous.

I know that there are a lot of people reading this that are against hunting, and I’m not here to say it’s right or it’s wrong, but I do know that I’d rather eat an animal that lived a beautiful, free life in the wild, than an animal who’s been raised in captivity, fed growth hormones and who knows what else, and then butchered as soon as it’s reached it’s ideal weight. The only problem is that beef tastes so much better than venison, but the farmers get a little up-in-arms when you decide to harvest a six hundred pound steer off their back field. Jesus, I offered them half, you’d think they’d be happy. Oh well, I did manage to run off with the tenderloin. Mama’s gonna eat well tonight.

Thank God, I’m a country boy,

Birdman

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