FAMILY DUCK HUNTING RITUAL IN THE FALL.
I clamored to join the hunt every other weekend. Mom, Dad, my two brothers and I would drive from our home in Sparwood, B.C and head for my grandparent’s wee house in Claresholm Alberta. Gravel roads back then in the 50’s, winding through the Mountain Pass and then into the Alberta harvested wheat fields.
Wish granted. Dad let me join the hunt. When he hauled me out of my makeshift bed at 4:00 AM I thought “What have I done?” The gas heater in my grandparent’s wee house hadn’t kicked in yet. I shivered with the cold.
Dark outside. Gravel pinging on the underside of the car. Then bumping along tire-rut trails. The headlights shining on the ground frost. Once out of the parked car, I struggled to keep up, climbing over frozen grain field furrows and stubble. Reaching the slough, we hunkered down between weeds and browned grasses for cover. My father sat me on a frozen mud clump. “Wait until I tell you to shoot.”
Ha. I didn’t worry about killing anything. I was too cold to move.
But the best part? Feeling like the only folks in the whole world awake at that hour. Seeing the sunrise. The sound of the ducks flying, their wings flapping in rapid-whispers. Being with my family.
I joined the hunt twice. Then finally admitted I wasn’t much of a boy. From then on, I hung out in the cozy kitchen with Grandma. No contest.
Wishing you all a great harvest season, and great memories.