|Sources: galoshes, long johns, pac boots|
Anyhoo, as you might recall (as I've mentioned it a few times in the past) I have two younger brothers. Back in the day mia famiglia consisted of my Dad, my Mom, Yours Truly, my two kid brothers, and our cat, Tommy. Tommy was big, Tommy was black, and one did not mess with Tommy. But that's a story for another day. (I just wanted to give my old buddy a "shout out.")
Now when I had reached the age of 8, my Dad figured it was time that I got to go hunting with him. Which I thought was pretty cool and neat. Even if it meant getting up well before dawn and spending most of the day in the wilds of Vermont. In November. Before algore was invented we would see our first snow in late October and in the northern reaches of the state we'd have a permanent layer of snow on the ground until pretty much April. (Where I lived the "permanent" snow would show up in late November, often after hunting season was over.)
By now I'm sure you're wondering what it was we hunted.
As I mentioned above, BITD it was cold in Vermont in November*. Deer season back then started the second Saturday in November and ran for two weeks and two days. (These days it's set up to end the Sunday after Thanksgiving, which gives the avid hunters a nice, long weekend to go hunting. Of course, if they were really good hunters, they wouldn't need the 16 days would they? But yes, I digress.)
Up before dawn, Mom, though not going with us, would get up to make sure we were properly dressed for our expedition to the wild. We would be clad in 2 pairs of socks, normal underwear, long underwear (the long johns mentioned above), jeans, flannel shirts, sweaters, sneakers (are you kidding Sarge? wait for it), a red jacket, a cap, red preferred, a scarf, and over those sneakers Mom would buckle on our galoshes. (As shown above.) While we weren't exactly dressed like Ralphie in A Christmas Story (below), it was damned close. I wouldn't have liked our chances if we had fallen down a hill. And Vermont is damned near all hills.
Now before the age of 13, we carried toy rifles, just to get used to handling them. As in, "Stop pointing that damned thing at your brother! Only point it at something you want to kill!"
Seeing the evil gleam the guilty brother would get in his eye at that last bit he would add, "If you kill it, you have to eat it too!" Not saying my brothers and I wanted to kill each other, well, not much anyway. It's what brothers do. They fight.
Anyhoo. So toy rifles until we gained some sense and more time at "the range." Now we didn't have a special place to go shoot in those days. Any open space with a good solid berm at one end would do. Provided the landowner was good with it you could go there and kill targets all day. Just police up your brass when done.
In town there was the dump. Though it may have been officially frowned upon, it was a target rich environment. Lots of bottles, cans, milk jugs, paint cans were lying about, just waiting to have holes punched in them. (That was in the days before recycling. Also I don't remember any rats at the dump. Of course we didn't live in the city and the dump was out in the boondocks. Maybe the cops shot them all, who knows.)
Now The Olde Vermonter and I had really cool toy rifles. I had a Winchester lever action cap gun and The Olde Vermonter had a battery operated M-14 at some point. One year, The Musician (baby of the family) wanted to bring the gun he'd received last Christmas, this beast -
|The Ball Turret Gun (Source)|
One other noise source was the galoshes. All those buckles were metal and were constantly popping open. By the end of the day all those buckles were undone and my brothers and I would be waltzing through the woods, galoshes flapping, buckles jangling, guns blazing, and no doubt The Olde Vermonter and I would be having a good laugh watching The Musician trying to untangle himself and his ball turret gun from a patch of brambles that maybe one of his brothers may or may not have gently nudged him into. Now I ain't pointing fingers, just saying that it might have happened. Might have been me, might have been The Olde Vermonter. Who knows?
You noticed that pac boots were mentioned in the title (and shown in the lead in picture), well Dad had those. Didn't have to wear any other footwear with those, nope, they were boots, real live go out in the woods and wade through the muck boots. We all wanted boots like that, but Mom didn't think it practical. We couldn't wear them to school, that was frowned on back in those days. So two pair of boots was an unheard of luxury. Until we turned 13.
At 13 we would carry a real rifle to go hunting with and, glory of glories, our first pair of pac boots. Damn, it was a rite of passage, we were now men, etc., etc. Unfortunately, by the time The Musician would have graduated to pac boots and a real rifle I had graduated from high school, had a job and was living on my own. Didn't hunt anymore either, there were other things to hunt and I do mean cherchez les femmes. Weekends were for beer and the ladies, not necessarily both at the same time mind you. But who had time for hunting?
Now you may notice that I never mention anywhere in this story of us actually bringing down a mighty stag. Are you kidding? With all the racket we made? At the end of the day the nearest deer was probably ten miles away and still running. We were noisy as Hell.
When Dad wanted to hunt in a more serious manner, he'd go with his buddy who we called Uncle Smitty. While his name was Smith, he wasn't our actual uncle. But he was like a real uncle, lot of fun to be around. Dad actually got his deer one year.
Were we there?
Hell no. Are you kidding? You don't brings kids with cap guns and galoshes out hunting. Trust me.
Anyway, that's the story that Dave reminded me of. And if you didn't see the comments yesterday, say a prayer for Juvat, poor guy has caught the flu. I know how miserable that can be, makes me feel like a wuss for whining about this cold I've got.
*Okay, it still is cold in Vermont in November, usually. But it was colder back then and we walked five miles to school in driving snow every day. Uphill. Both ways. I swear!