This is the final excerpt from my story, Unwritten Rules.
Along with the dog rules are the people rules, handed down from father to son, and just as absolute. The first people rule is, “Don’t slam the doors!” As soon as the trucks pull up to the first likely spot at sunrise, the first one out the door is Mitch’s dad.
He whispers hoarsely, “Don’t slam the doors! It’ll scare the birds.”
Yeah right. For 364 other days of the year, cars and trucks travel the same roads and I would guess occasionally stop. I bet the doors even get slammed, but on the 365th day of the year this means hunters with guns are going to shoot them.
Now the whole time he’s whispering this, the dogs are prowling back and forth, sniffing and whining, anxious to do what has been bred into them for generations. The rest of us are banging and clanging, getting rigged up. Putting on extra jackets, loading our guns and putting everything we think we might need in our pockets. Gearing up and the dogs don’t scare them away, but car doors do.
Which brings me to the rule, “Pockets, hunters have to have lots of pockets.” So far this is the only rule that makes any sense to me. There is a pocket for your Kleenexes, very important, you know for runny noses or the call of nature. Even though I try to avoid going outside unless there is no other alternative. You have to have a pocket for your hunting license; you don’t want to be caught without it. Conservation officers have absolutely no sense of humor. I also think that having a pocket for my camera is equally important, even though I’ve been threatened a couple of times if I didn’t put the camera away. Then there’s the dog treats, they have to go somewhere. Gum and lip balm also need their own pocket just as much as extra shotgun shells.
Then there’s the ever-popular “Pheasants don’t care what you look like” rule or more commonly known as “Nobody bathes before hunting” rule. That was the statement made to me, when I set the alarm clock for an hour earlier than we needed to get up. Not me, I don’t care what I’m doing or where I’m going, I always shower, put on makeup and fix my hair (for all the good it does me) before leaving the house. I was brought up on the old adage, “always wear clean underwear, because what if you’re in an accident.” My mother also always said, “Vanity, Thy name is Susan.” Whatever!
And lastly, there’s “Sneak up behind the birds” otherwise known as “The long way around” rule. If it’s more likely the birds are in the draw or field ahead of us, then why on god’s green earth do we go almost a mile to the left and circle around to come up on the backside of the draw and work our way back across the field with the sun in our eyes?
This from a bunch of men who will drive around in a parking lot for 15 minutes looking for a parking space by the door, so they don’t have to walk any farther than they have to.
Another hunting trip looms on the horizon and I can’t wait to learn more new “unwritten rules”.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my stories, they really have happened. Come back and look for more to come.