Of course I had to comment on the H-A-I-R. Cade just shrugged and said that's the way he and his skater buddies wear it out in Southern California. I said he looked awfully 1974. He mumbled something about cavemen and barbers.
|Cade and Cate in camp. Yes, the names cause all kinds of confusion.|
I get my grandson a few days every hunting season, and a couple weeks every summer, during which we set out jug lines for catfish, talk about hunting dogs, and make elaborate plans for our next squirrel hunt.
When Cade was eight, I told him I'd get him a .22 rifle when he turned 12. I thought I had plenty of time. This past September, it occurred to me that he'd be 12 when he arrived for Thanksgiving. A few weeks later I visited a certain gun shop. When the avuncular fellow behind the counter asked if he could help me, I said, "My Grandson just turned 12."
He nodded and said, "It's time, then."
"May I suggest a bolt-action? We wouldn't want to encourage hasty aiming."
"My thinking exactly."
Half an hour later I walked out with a new rifle and the realization that I was about to lay a firearm - not a BB gun, not a pellet gun - in my grandson's hands. How did my father handle the task with such apparent equanimity?
Of course Cade did fine. He'd been handling air rifles for years while I harped on safety.
|We need to work on form, but he's getting there.|
For our hunt, I let Cade carry my light 20-gauge. Gray squirrels can be a challenge for even expert riflemen. He'd have a better chance with the shotgun. He carried his shells, but could load only after Cate treed and we were in position.
|Ferns growing on a gnarled post oak.|
|We hunted a certain creek bottom in Anderson County. This phone camera photo doesn't do justice.|
|Good hunting, good country, great company.|
Cade is back in California now, and his .22 is locked away in the safe. The best hunting of the season lies ahead, in late December and January. But the best part of the season ended the Saturday after Thanksgiving.