Bang. Bang. The gun shots woke me from a deep sleep. It was daybreak and my mind immediately began to scan its data bank for the date of hunting and fishing seasons. This is the opening day of duck hunting season. I smiled and snuggled deeper into my bed and thought of the hunters out in the cold, damp air.
When I was working I was aware of the all the opening days for hunting and fishing. If I had the audacity to schedule overtime on a weekend that was one of these sacred days there would be a rebellion. The crews would always make themselves available for emergency calls but no scheduled overtime.
For those interested bass fishing begins the 3rd Saturday in June. I was unlucky enough to plan work for that weekend and was soon told to find another date.
Deer hunting was another biggie. Whole crews could be decimated during any one of the several deer hunting weeks. It was agreed that they would return for emergency work. I have witnessed grown men, having suffered a heart attack rushed out of the bush and into waiting ambulances. The second week of hunting they would be back into the camp ignoring how far away from a hospital they were.
Growing up in a family of hunters and fishermen I was well attuned to this mentality. My father, grandfather, uncles and their friends would be at a fever pitch planning for the trip into the camp. Dogs, clothing, guns, ammunition, fuel, food and libations were assembled ready for the pilgrimage. As a child I would sit quietly in a corner and listen to the tall tales they shared on their return. There was a smell they brought with them as well; a combination of a week without bathing, wood smoke, fried food, wet dogs and gun oil. It became an easily recognizable fragrance for me but hardly one that would be bottled and found on the shelves of the local Shoppers. After my dad passed I found a pillow that must have been with him at the camp and it evoked many memories for me. It was some time before I could bring myself to dispose of it.
As I sank back into the warmth and softness of my bed I heard more shot guns being fired and the memories of other hunting and fishing seasons invaded my mind. My last thought before sliding back into sleep was to send a small prayer to the early morning duck hunters wishing them a fun, productive hunt and most importantly a safe one.