My mother used to watch an old soap opera called the "days of our lives" and the intro to that show has always stuck with me. It started with the narrator stating, "like hands in a shower cap, so our the days of our lives." I never quite understood it but when we heard it we knew it was time to be quiet or go outside because it was my mothers thirty minute break from all of our nonsense.
Why am I bringing this up? A couple years ago I learned that it actually said "Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives." Ping! Light bulb! That quote really does make sense and it fits perfectly into what I want to write about.
In the blink of an eye it seems I have grown up and now have my own children who want to do everything dad does, including hunting. I now find myself teaching them how to shoot a bow and including them in most everything I do. In doing this I can't help but think back to how many people impacted my life by letting me tag along on all of their outdoor adventures. I'm sure it wasn't always easy to drag me along but I was fortunate enough to have a father and his friends who always let the pipsqueak tag along. Looking back, it meant the world to me. I'm sure many of you reading this can relate.
Let me start with a big thank you to all of you who drug me along on their hunts, whether it was a simple evening fishing trip, sitting in a treestand or turkey blind, calling coyotes, bird hunting, or bowfishing...Thank you! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for including me and having the patience to let me keep up with you or even ruin the hunt due to being to cold or too loud. Thank you for showing me the tricks of the trade and making me take part in setting up camp or field dressing and skinning the animals we killed. The lessons you taught me and the passion for the sport you instilled in me have impacted my life more than you'll ever know.
I remember one specific time my dad was going to set in a tree stand for an evening set. I begged a pleaded for him to take me and assured him I'd be fine setting in a tree, being quiet, and holding still. Finally he caved and I got to come along. We climbed in the tree...I freaked out, started crying, we got down and left. It was most likely the outcome he suspected but I will never forget it.
Another time when I was a bit older and able to sit in a tree stand, Kevin Martin, a friend of my family, invited me to come set with him. I told him I really wanted to see him shoot a deer, he told me he was not going to shoot a doe because he was holding out for a buck. I begged and pleaded and finally he agreed to shoot a doe. Soon enough a doe presented a shot and he drew back and took aim. I got so excited watching him draw back that I forgot to watch the deer. He released the arrow and made a perfect shot, he looked at me excitedly and asked what I thought of that!? Needless to say I had to inform him I didn't see it. He still laughs and tells that story to this day. I may not have seen the shot but it is another memory I have that I will never forget!
Now, as an adult (well...at least my age says I'm an adult) I realize it is my turn to pass the "hunting torch" on to the next generation. As I've stated in an earlier blog, I can see my oldest son already showing interest in this way of life and I know that his passion for hunting starts through me. All of us, no matter what your age, had someone who acted as a mentor, someone who helped light the fire that still drives you today. The impact we have on the youth today is immense, especially in today's society that has so many voices against the hunting way of life. Not only is it important to take our own children hunting, it is equally important to take other kids out as well. In my own experience it meant the world to me when one of my fathers friends (or my hunting uncles so to speak) would ask me to go along. So to my generation I write this as a simple reminder to take a kid hunting even if it means the hunt might not be as successful (or as long as you would like) because it might change that child's life.
So to all of the "geezers" I say thank you. Whether you were part of a mentor program, took a neighbor kid hunting or simply took the time to take your own kids hunting, you have made a difference. You did it right and helped to carry on this tradition we all could not live without. All of us should remember to say thank you to the ones who took the time to include us when we were starting out. When you see them take the time to talk with them, invite them on a hunt (even if it means pushing their wheel chair to the blind), and always send them pictures of your success. I am sure they would love to hear from you.
I would also love to hear from you, The NBA has been kind enough to let us bloggers do some giveaways! All you have to do is enter a story, picture, or just mention someone who was an inspiration or a hunting mentor to you in the comment section below and you will be entered to win a Nebraska Bowhunters Association hat! If you have photos, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you and until next time hunt hard and shoot straight!
The Lighter Side of the Arrow