Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A favorite winter memory

Mama Kat's writer's challenge for this week allowed me to choose to write about a favorite winter memory. I figured I would also combine it with Christmas and kill two birds with one stone.

I remember the winter season around Christmas the year when I was 9 or 10 with special fondness. That was the year that I got my first shotgun for Christmas and my brother got a rifle. It snowed afresh a few days after Christmas. We were living in a small Nebraska town at the time, across the street from Grandpa and Grandma J. The fresh coating of snow and subzero temperature made for perfect rabbit hunting weather. The snow meant that the rabbit tracks would be visible and easy to follow in the overcast dimness of the day.

Grandpa, dad, my brother and I went down to the creek bottom and began hiking along the creek looking for fresh tracks. Looking back on it today, I realize that grandpa and dad didn't even bring their guns, a pretty sure hint that they were doing this for us boys rather than for table meat. Over the years I have become pretty certain that the whole hunting trip was more to instruct and check out how responsible my brother and I were with our new guns than to bring home anything edible. At the time, no such thought even entered my head. My senses were full with the crispness of the day, the joy of traipsing along the creek bank, eagerly looking for signs of game, the seemingly endless variations in shades of gray and brown in the dim overcast light, and the time spent with grandpa and dad.

Although we saw several rabbits, they remained safe from both my brother and I. Our aim was pretty poor, even considering how excited we were and the fact we were using brand new guns. My brother and I tried out each others guns with no better result. It didn't matter to us. We were hunting with grandpa and dad. The world was a good place.

After several hours of walking along the creek, it was time to head back home. We were happy and tired. And I think we all got something out of the hike and talking. Sadly, it was one of the only times I would ever go hunting with my grandfather. The next year we moved back here to the town where I now live and about 100 miles from grandpa J. By the time I was old enough to drive, he and grandma had begun to suffer ill health. They were eventually moved to a house down the alley from where we lived so that there was someone to take care of them.

(Writing this brought to mind how different my two grandfathers were and yet how they shared certain things when it came to the grandkids. I'll have to use that as a topic in the future.)

Editted to add: The next post, Grandfathers, does just that.


  1. LOL! I have to say the idea of a 9 year old remembering Xmas because he got his first shotgun is one that is just surreal for me!

  2. So nice. I was always jealous of my brother for the time he spent hunting with my dad. It's great that you have that memory.

    Here is a funny one though. My niece is now ten and two years ago wanted to go hunting with my brother and dad. They didn't take her to actually hunt, just out to where they go to see everything. Now, two years later she has done a complete turn and is against the whole idea. She asked my brother to promise that he wouldn't shoot baby deer, mommy deer, and any deer at all if it was around other deer because she didn't want the other deer to see it. My brother promised (with fingers crossed) She was still so mad at my brother and cried when he got a deer.
    The eight year old niece simply said "It's sad that you shot it, but I do really like to eat them!"

  3. Visiting from MamaKat's writers workshop posts...

    I must say, I was relieved the story didn't end in bloodshed! Thanks for sharing your winter memory and your special memories of your grandfathers.


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