Entry Twenty-nine: Sitting in the Stand

[A story in many parts: Part Ten]

I had been immersed into a very funny subculture. That refers to funny “ha ha” as well as funny “strange.” For example, the only topic of conversation the entire weekend was hunting.

"I gotta' buddy who went down to Peru…"

"I 'member that one time in Texas…"

If they weren't talking about their own trips, they were talking about a trip they heard about from someone else. I believe that's why they listen so intently to each other's stories. If they re-tell someone else's story enough times it could eventually become one of their own. And they were always zinging each other, reminding each other about an undersized kill, a missed opportunity or any bonehead thing that anyone ever did. That did not bode well for me, the rookie.

There is a certain etiquette and courtesy in their story telling. Everyone gets to tell one story and then they wait while everyone else shares. If someone hesitates, they lose their turn. The elder statesman of the group gets to end each round. In that particular group, the elder statesman was Daryl, and he could spin the stories and lay out the ribbing as well as anyone. He was not only the oldest member of the party, but he apparently had the most money, which meant he had the most hunting toys. Everything from cammo wraps for your gun to odor-less soap to bathe with (so the animals can't smell your scent of Irish Spring). And it isn't cheap. I was thumbing through some of the leisure time reading materials the lodge had laying around—outdoor magazines and hunting supply catalogs—and the prices were shocking. Scopes, guns, ammunition, little camaflogue buckets to pee in; they had thought of everything. I gathered from the tales being spun that the guys hunting that weekend weren't restricted to hunting in the south. A lot of them had taken hunting trips to places all over the continent. Moose hunting in Canada. Bear hunting in Montana. Elk hunting in Colorado. The costs incurred to take the trips must have been enormous. Then, just when I thought they had run out of hunting stories, they started telling fishing stories. The energy in the room would get resurrected and everyone would get cranked up all over again. It was quite entertaining and pervasive. No moment was lost. On the way back from lunch one day, we listened to a book-on-tape called "Life Lessons from a Deer Stand." I had entered my dad's world and it smelled of gun powder and stale canvas.

All words and images ©2005/J. Colle

No comments: