As far as I know, my family tree did not include a deer stand. Not until about ten years ago.
When Wade and I married, it was my first experience with the obligatory November beards and purposeful camouflage attire. Now, this time of year doesn’t just bring to mind pilgrims and turkeys, but elusive fluffy-tailed deer.
As a new bride, I thought it would be romantic to wake up early and spend some quality time in a deer blind. Call me country. Or naïve. I prepared with an early bedtime, laid out my new muck boots and pink-trimmed camo. I packed a couple thermoses full of hot coffee, a shrink-wrapped granola bar fit for the trail, and tons of questions. But you can’t take coffee out to the deer blind. And you can’t make noise opening a snack, much less conversation. It’s freezing and lacks restroom accommodations. So, this gal just went to Cracker Barrel.
Knowing Wade loved to hunt, my parents accepted a friend’s old dog in need of a new home. The Labrador Retriever was of champion retriever bloodlines, sure to be field-ready after just a little work. But Kato was like the Seabiscuit of dogs: happy to cuddle with the cat all day and would hardly even chase his tail, much less any game. When it was time to sight-in rifles, Kato hit the deck, shivering, crying, even covering his kind eyes with big white paws.
The dog and I bonded during deer season beside a crackling fire, warm and out of the harsh elements. He enjoyed organic treats because of a sensitive tummy issue, and I sipped coffee, because cozy little cabins make you want coffee, coffee, and more coffee.
Kato was never a great sportsman’s dog. And actually, my parents’ poodle probably has more potential for such than Kato ever did. But Saint Kato had redeeming qualities like so many old dogs do.
I’ve considered heading out to the woods this year, even forgoing a chilly morning’s coffee in hopes of seeing what all this anticipation is really about. Then again, it’s hard to teach old dogs new tricks. It’s even more difficult to convince this gal to skip her coffee.