“Where is Doral?”
“Oh, this is the first day of the hunting season. I couldn’t ask him to miss that.”
Richard never knew my dad. Richard was two years old when Doral died. Richard is channeling Doral right now. Richard has his gun has cleaned, he has his hunting gear out, he has been out tracking animals ever since Thanksgiving – as I said, the day that the Hunting Season begins.
He goes hunting with his father-in-law, Chris Turnbull. Between them they have enough tags that they can shoot more than one animal. Apparently the white-tailed deer and mulie season ends at the end of November and the moose become the target on December first. I guess Joan and Miranda will be having Thanksgiving Dinners alone as well.
One late night this week, Richard slipped downstairs to tell me that they had two deer and would be hanging them in my garage. Today on our walk he told me that it is hard not to boast to his friends that he shot a deer on Sunday and was eating it Tuesday night – the tenderest meat he has ever tasted. They are envious.
At this point, my description will get a little gruesome. Language warning. I have a student staying here who has never tasted wild meat nor seen a deer hanging so that it can age. While I was watching Richard doing some skinning he showed me the deer head – having me touch the place where the doe's horns were just beginning to grow. I was interested. I wanted to investigate. How many chances in life will I get to see that.
I couldn’t help but want to show this to my boarder, so the day before the garbage men came, I took Reza out to the garbage bin to show him the two deer heads. We picked them up tenderly and examined the knobs of the horns, the ears, the soft fur, the lashes around the eyes – he in as much wonder as I.
Nature is a wonder thing. As Richard says, a miracle that something that is only two years old has all of the skills to escape most hunters.
Richard is taking the hides of the two animals and trying to tan them. I don’t know why. I think it is just deep within him to try something new. I went out to the internet myself to watch a few u-tubes on how to do this, but it looked like a lot of work to me. As well, the man doing it on the internet was dressed in a loin cloth and had a string of hippie beads around his neck. I just didn’t get it why he needed that kind of costuming for the work.
I asked Richard if he couldn’t he give me a few sausages so that Reza could say he tasted his first wild meat at my house. Richard said he would supply.
I get a lot of lessons on my early morning walks with Richard – many of them about tracking animals in the snow, or about finding good places to hunt, or about planning the kill so that the meat is easy to load, or about the difference in nomenclature of calf and bull, or doe and buck.
I was asking Richard how he had shaved the fur from the skin so that he can tan it and he told me that he had rigged together a tool to do that, but it was heavy … not his best invention and so it had taken longer than he had expected, given the weight of his jerry-rigged tool. It had taken three times as long as he expected. Too long.
The last part of my story cuts to our LaRue Director’s Meeting last night. As we were waiting for our hook-up call to Glen and Moiya I mentioned to Wyona and Greg that Richard has the meat from two deer already this fall.
Wyona said, “Yes. I know. We parked in the back alley. I got out of the car to move the garbage can a little to the east so that Greg could leave the car close to the garage. I opened the garbage to see how heavy it was going to be before I moved it. I saw an eye looking out at me.”
A surprise for someone.