Part Two – The Wall
There was no sign of the late afternoon sun and the sky was an unbroken blanket of gray that seemed to meld with bare limbs of the skeletal trees. This kind of gloomy November day was perfect for hunting but we would be short on time and Dad tried to waste as little of it as possible with a heavy dose of foot on the gas since picking me up after school. Reaching the end of the dirt driveway we parked the pickup next to the old barn and quickly checked in with the owners, an old couple who were sitting in their kitchen, cozied up to the wood stove.
Getting back to the truck, Dad retrieved his semi-automatic .308, removing the the 5 round clip from a pocket in his old red and black plaid hunting coat and jammed it into the belly of the rifle. After chambering a round, checking to make sure the safety was on and the gun secure, we hiked up the farm road that led to the fields. Probably because it would get dark early Dad chose a spot for us to sit on a tumbled down stone wall that cut the big field in two. In the old wall there were alders growing up through the lichen covered stones , and even though the leaves were long gone, they offered enough cover for us to sit undetected.
It was dead silent with only a slight breeze but not overly cold. The conditions seemed perfect, at least to me but I wasn't about to offer my opinion! Dad was dialed in, on high alert, and I didn’t dare to move, even to breathe. This was a great spot, prime territory and Heaven forbid that I make any sound that might destroy this special moment that Dad was allowing me to share with him. But what if I have to go pee? When was the last time? Please God……
The slight breeze would occasionally gust up making one of the old apple trees creak or rustle the dead leaves lying on the ground. And with each one of those sounds I was positive that a deer would emerge from the shadows. Anticipating the same reaction from Dad, I looked up at him, nothing. He was attentive but cool and collected and not easily fooled by false alarms.
Calm down I kept telling myself. The ol' man had everything under control.
Next – Part Three – The Gun