Memories don’t always have to be made with the eyes

My dad is someone who enjoys hunting for deer. Ever since I was a little girl, every fall, I remember him getting up early, rounding up his gear, and then heading out with my grandpa or some of his friends, then when he was old enough, my brother. I am such a daddy’s girl that when I was younger I couldn’t imagine spending any time away from him – therefore Dad needed to take me hunting too; sometimes mom would come along as well. When I was very young and mom and I would tag along. On these days my dad didn’t so much hunt, as spend the day driving around the woods with his daughter and wife – me honking the horn as often as I could. I’m sure this scared all the deer away which was quite counterproductive considering the goal. My dad is such a family man that this didn’t bother him in the least bit because he was spending quality time with his family.

As the years progress and kids turn into teenagers, such as happens in life, going hunting with Dad was no longer a priority. When I think about it, I can’t even imagine how parents must feel when their children start to be more independent and say, “no” to favorite activities with mom and dad that they used to love. Anyway, continuing the story. There was a day when I was an older teenager, maybe still in high school, and thought Dad would enjoy if I spent the day with him hunting. We walked into the woods for a bit and Dad found an area he thought looked good to sit down and wait. By this time in life I had grown not too fond of sitting out in the cold anymore and was wearing I don’t even know how many layers of clothes; enough to make me so warm that I became sleepy it turns out. Somewhere in the sitting and the waiting I fell asleep. A while later I awoke with a start when my dad said my name and to “look.” The way he said this was fairly alert so I jumped up and started looking around rapidly. My dad said, “Right there, don’t you see them!” I continued to look around frantically and didn’t understand why I couldn’t see anything. A few seconds later I finally woke up enough to realize that I had my hood pulled down over my eyes to the point that my entire face was almost covered. My dad, who had witnessed this entire event of me searching around yet having my face covered, was now in possession of quite the story to share.

It turns out that while my face was covered there were three big elk walking right into the area where we were. My dad, always loving wildlife, was being quiet and letting them get as close as possible without putting us in any danger. My dad said that at one point the biggest elk noticed us, stopped, huffed, and stamped her foot a bit. A few seconds later is when my dad said he made the decision to stand up and scare them off because they didn’t seem to want to leave. That’s when he said my name so I would get up – not only to get up for safety, but to hopefully see these giant animals so up close. Well, it’s a good thing there was no threat of safety because I’m sure I would have ran right into a tree.

Over the years I’ve heard this story so many times, and it’s been told to so many people that I can’t even count. I’m sure that it’s one of my dad’s most cherished memories, and no matter how many times I hear it I never get tired of it being retold. Sometimes the best memories are those that you don’t even see with your eyes, but just experience.

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