My Dad loved the outdoors. After all, it's how he made his living. God rest his weary soul, he survived through five daughters and one bathroom. There were years on end where he was allowed use of the bathroom only for short stints of time, and that amid the haze of hair spray, mountains of wet towels, hair dryers, curling irons, and makeup.
The outdoors, I am sure, was his cathedral, his mental health break, his reboot when he could get away without us.
There was the time, to give Mom a break, he took us all fishing. He made us fishing rods with sticks and string, put worms on our hooks, then settled down with his own rod in anticipation of reeling them in. I don't think he'd even settled down on the shore before one of us got a snag, then another lost her worm, and yet another got her line caught in the toolies. As soon as one was taken care of, the next had a problem. I honestly don't think he sat down once that afternoon. Thinking back, I'm surprised one of us didn't fall in.
Once, and only once, did he ask me once to go with him as a spotter to hunt on one of his logging jobs. We were way back in the boonies when he stopped on a hill and he left me in the truck while he hunted for a big buck he'd seen the day before. If I saw anything I was instructed to give a shout.
Well, I watched him disappear into the woods and it seemed like only minutes later when a big doe came bounding over the logging road right in front of the truck. Wanting so badly to help him bag a deer, I jumped out of the truck and yelled, “Dad!” After a few times, he came bounding out of the trees carrying his gun, gasping for air. “What?” I pointed across the road. “A deer just ran that way!” He looked at me a bit perplexed. “Did it have horns?” “No,” I replied. It was then he just stared at me and I knew that was probably not the answer he wanted. Seems he had the big buck in his sites when he heard me yelling. Not sure if I was in trouble, or if another huge buck happened into our area, he came running. At the sound of my voice, the buck he wanted turned and ran off.
Now, I'm not proud of this story by any means, but Dad never made me feel bad about it. Although, it was a very quiet ride home that day. Several years later, when I was in my thirties, he got me back.
I was home by myself one evening, when he and my sister, Kathi, stopped by. Kathi invited me out to the pickup to see the big buck she shot. I had never known Kathi to hunt, but was impressed. Indeed, in the back of Dad's pickup was a big buck. They told me the story of how Kathi got this buck and, knowing what a sap I am, they really hammed it up. I bought it hook, line and sinker. I gushed and congratulated and couldn't contain my excitement and admiration for my little sister.
I should have known by the twinkle in his eye that it was a bunch of hooey, but, what can I say, I'm gullible. Later, I had to explain to all the people I told that I it was a prank.