Friday, December 16, 2011

Road Photo Friday: Now THAT'S a Dog Trailer

I snapped this a few weeks ago at a DIY car wash in Del Rio, Texas.  In case you don't have the patience to count, that's a 32-hole rig, folks.

We were going to stop to chat them up, but they were just pulling out as I snapped this.  I don't know if they were hauling bird dogs or hounds (Del Rio isn't known as a quail mecca, especially this year).  The dually that was dragging this monstrosity had Idaho plates.  Judging from the looks of the driver and passenger, they were houndsmen (let the hate mail begin).

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I Am A Duck Hunter.

This is Adam, my great grandfather.  He emigrated to the United States in the mid 1880s from a small town near Worms, Germany.  He and his burgeoning family moved to Nebraska in 1884, and after a lot of hardscrabble work, he became the first podiatrist in the Cornhusker State.  That's our family's claim to fame.  But everytime I see this photo, I see something different than a foot doctor.  I am reminded that this hunting thing isn't just a passing hobby of mine.  It is literally in my blood.

The photo was taken a century ago, when photos were a time consuming, expensive production.  Take a close look.  What did he wear?  His hunting coat, rubber waders, cap, and a badass moustache.  Hunting -- and family -- obviously defined this man.

This is Lee, Robert, Donald, Richard, Leopold, and Bill.  Robert was my grandfather - Gramps - and these were his brothers, the progeny of Adam (there were 13 in all).  It was taken in Nebraska at the height of World War Two, and this Band of Brothers, not yet called up for duty on the front lines, were busy shooting a meal for their families.  Somehow, I think it might be safer being a nazi facing triple-A than a mallard dodging the fusillade of gunfire from this battery of A5's and Winchester 1897's.

This is my dad, Reg, probably taken around 1947.  In this photo, I see myself (always been a dead-ringer for the 'ol man) and my son (mostly through the enthusiasm in which he's holding the gun and enjoying himself outdoors).

So there's no doubt I come by this avocation naturally.  But while my whole family slogged through the oxbows and sandbars of Nebraska's Platte River, I gravitated to upland pursuits.  Not sure how that happened.

It doesn't really matter.  Next week, my dad -- and my son -- will converge on Waldenburg, Arkansas for a duck hunt.  I am blessed with some awesome hunting opportunities every season, but I can't help but circle this one on the calendar as the most anticipated.

I was never lucky enough to hunt with my own Gramps -- I was in college on his last duck hunt, but was told he showed up in a traditional 1940s necktie and hunting coat.  No matter.  Those men, and other family members, will be close to us this next week, as we tell stories, uphold traditions, and indoctrinate the young ones. As it should be.

I am one fortunate man.  I suspect we all have a similar story.  Here's to the hunting man.