It’s hard to stay inside on a warm November afternoon. In order to get my work done, I’m breaking things down into baby steps. Write a page, and then go rake leaves for twenty minutes. Write another page, and then go ride my bike for twenty minutes. If only the afternoon was as long as it were in summer. This day is like an appetizer, instead of an entrée. It’s enough to entice, to excite the appetite, but not enough to fill you up.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been going to a hunter safety class. I’ve raised a few eyebrows amongst my friends who can’t help but wonder why I’m doing this. See, I’ve never hunted before. No one in my family hunted when I was a child. I don’t even have a gun. This time of year, when hunters prepare for pheasant and quail or deer hunting, I find myself curiously attracted to the idea of hunting. I’ve mentioned it to friends that hunt, only to be met with rolling eyes and chuckles, or worse yet, incredulous guffaws! “Yeah. Right! I can just see you hunting!”
This year is my year for “taking the bull by the horns”. I decided to learn to hunt by breaking it down into baby steps. That is why I was in a hunter safety course for the past two weeks. My plan was to go through the course, get a license, borrow a gun, and go hunting. Simple. The class was full of junior-high and high school aged kids, mostly boys, who outnumbered the adults about four to one. For me, the class was interesting. For some of my classmates, it was a formality. I know how to merge onto an eight-lane freeway during rush hour. They know all there is to know about where and when and how to hunt game birds. You learn what you need to know about the place where you live. Since I’m relatively new here, I still have much to learn.
Of everyone there, I was clearly the oldest person to pick up a gun for the first time! What I learned from that short exercise is that I’m very good at learning the rules, but I need a bit of practical experience when it comes to actually handling a weapon. It was heavier than I expected, and my impressions of how to hold one, based entirely on Hollywood movies, were off a bit. Clearly, when I’m back home for Thanksgiving, I’m going to have my brother take me out to do some target shooting. He, after all, has learned how to hunt, and has guns, and perhaps even a stake in seeing me learn how to do this right.
When my grandma was alive, she used to tell us stories about how her mother could shoot crows off a fence from a hundred yards away. She also shot snakes. Those stories always shocked me. I heard many about her over the years, enough to know she was not a rustic woman. In fact, she liked fine things. Some might have even thought she was a little too “well to do” in her tastes. To those doubters out there, it goes to show even the most lady-like are capable of learning how to hunt.
I passed my class. I have my hunter safety card now. Step one of my baby-steps is complete. In a few weeks, with the help of my brother, I’ll know what gun to purchase. I may not actually hunt for a while, but the process is begun. Now, back outside for that bike ride I promised myself!