Slim Randles is here as today’s Wednesday’s Guest, and it’s actually Wednesday. 🙂 One of the many nice things about Slim is that he sends these columns out at no charge, and they are seen in hundreds of newspapers across the country and cyberspace. I’m always grateful that he shares these with us, and I do encourage you to check out his books. He has quite a way with words.
So grab a slice of this scrumptious-looking layer cake and enjoy…
When Bob Garcia removed that old mossy-horn mount from its place over the fireplace, we were a bit confused. That huge buck had been his pride and joy for more than thirty years. But Bob put it back in his office, behind the kitchen.
The spot of honor over the fireplace now belongs to a young forked-horn buck, the one he took last year on the other side of the hayfield. It’s the kind of buck you expect to get for your first buck, and not really the kind you honor like that after a lifetime spent hunting in the autumn woods.
When he was asked, Bob just said it was a special buck, and he smiled.
But you know there’s always more to a story than that.
On that special day a year earlier … Bob heard the deer before he saw him, and he got ready. He looked to the sound of the deer and checked what was on the other side of the animal. A large dirt bank. Good. That’s safe enough. Can’t have that old .45-70 slug sailing around the country.
Bob felt the breeze coming right to his face, slightly chilling his nose, and carrying with it the promise of a crisp fall later on. These days still held some late summer heat. The wind was right, and he wore dull clothing, he had a clear shot with a safe backdrop. There was nothing to do now but wait.
Then the little forked-horn buck stepped out. It would never replace the huge buck Bob took years back, but it was a good eating deer and the situation was right, so he aimed carefully and shot.
The sound of the massive cartridge going off started the snake at Bob’s feet rattling. Bob jumped back out of danger and finished the snake. Another step forward … just one more step and life would’ve changed forever.
The taxidermist was surprised when Bob told him he wanted a really nice mount of what was, to all other eyes, a fairly routine meat deer. But he promised to give the mount the full treatment.
It hangs over the fireplace now.
When other outdoors-men ask him about that deer, Bob just says it is a special buck.
And he smiles.
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Brought to you by Dogsled: A True Tale of the North, available in an updated version at Amazon.com.
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Check out all of Slim’s award-winning books at www.slimrandles.com, and in better bookstores and bunkhouses throughout the free world.
All of the posts here are from his syndicated column, Home Country that is read in hundreds of newspapers across the country. I am always happy to have him share his wit and wisdom here.
Slim Randles is a veteran newspaperman, hunting guide, cowboy and dog musher. He was a feature writer and columnist for The Anchorage Daily News for 10 years and guided hunters in the Alaska Range and the Talkeetna Mountains. A resident of New Mexico now for more than 30 years, Randles is the prize-winning author of a dozen books, and is host of two podcasts and a television program.