What a week! As I sit in relative peace and write this, I feel almost shot mentally and physically. Looking back on the week, I am relieved that WCU was on trimester break, which provided some much needed reprieve. On Tuesday, I made sure that I fulfilled my duty as an American citizen and went and voted. Later that evening, I sat and watched, like so many other Americans, and waited on the results. I stayed up beyond midnight before throwing in the towel for the evening. I figured that when I woke up on Wednesday morning, we would have the results. Wrong! Same story for Wednesday evening and Thursday morning. By the end of the day on Thursday my brain was fried. I’m sure that most can relate to this feeling. I never like to wish away time, but I would often catch myself just trying to get to Friday. If Friday would just hurry up and get here I could finally relax.
Friday morning finally arrived, and I had a new energy as I drove my oldest to school. We even arrived at school early, which never happens. Mornings at our house are absolute chaos, and the kids are usually arriving just in time to avoid a tardy. Some will judge us as parents and that’s fine, but have you ever known a woman to be on time, much less three of them? All joking aside, getting three kids dressed, fed, and to school/daycare on time is tough, and my wife deserves some sort of trophy. I’d love to take the credit, but in reality, I’m usually the one that causes us to almost be late. There are very few things that I enjoy about mornings, and driving kids to school isn’t necessarily one of them. This Friday, however, was different. On this particular Friday, we are leaving going to the deer camp for the opening weekend of the Mississippi youth gun season. For this reason I’ve got an extra pep in my step for my morning routine. The only thing that disappointed me was that my wife wouldn’t let me check our daughter out from school early to leave. Once again, I found myself wishing away time throughout the morning.
Mackenzie finally finished school at 2:00 and I picked her up and we pointed the truck toward Vicksburg, just the two of us and Tessie, our dog. As we exit the Hattiesburg area I can feel a weight lifted from my shoulders. Mackenzie has been anxious about this weekend for a while and we traded stories of “what ifs” along the way. What if she kills a huge buck? What if she kills a buck and a doe? What if we don’t see anything? What if we see the black bear that we’ve got pictures of? The trip from our house to the camp is 2.5 hours pretty much any way you slice it, but it doesn’t seem near that long when you’ve got someone to talk hunting and fishing with. We pulled into the drive at the camp to find deer standing in the yard. The season starts the next morning so we just watch and enjoy the moment. After dinner and a little television I checked all of our gear to make sure we were ready for the morning, then I began wishing time away again for morning to arrive. We woke up at 5:30 and headed out to one of our stands. We got settled just as the sun was breaking, and the food plot we were overlooking looks like lush, green carpet. There’s no way we are going to hunt this plot and not see anything! As it sometimes goes with deer hunting, everything can be seemingly perfect and you won’t see a thing. That’s exactly what happened on Saturday morning. We sat in the stand until around 9:30 when we’d both had enough and decided to head back to the camp. Fortunately, not seeing a deer is a pretty rare occurrence for most of our stands, so I still felt optimistic for the evening. We drove into town for a couple of errands, even perusing an old antique store in downtown Vicksburg, and stopped by the Mississippi River for a few minutes. Then it was back to camp to try our luck for the evening.
For the morning hunt, we were the only ones at the camp. That afternoon we were accompanied by my good friend, Brad Bridges and his daughter, Emily. This was great for a couple of different reasons. Mackenzie had a friend to play with to pass some time and Brad is a deer skinning machine in the event that someone kills something. We all chose where we wanted to hunt that evening and Mackenzie and I chose to go back where we hunted that morning, and I’m glad we did. We weren’t in the stand much longer than 20 minutes when the plot started to fill up with deer. I was hoping for a large doe or a mature buck, but almost everything was young bucks. Mackenzie finally talked me into letting her shoot the largest of the group. She’s still a smidge too short to shoulder the rifle and shoot out the window from her chair, so she climbed over on my knee to elevate herself a little more. Just as her pelvic bones dug into my thigh, the deer walked behind some thick brush. She was forced to sit still and wait for 20 minutes for the deer to clear the brush. My leg went numb from the circulation being cut off and once again I found myself wishing away time. Once the deer cleared the brush she carefully aimed the rifle and squeezed the trigger. With her patience rewarded, the deer dropped in its tracks and Mackenzie had her first 8 point buck! I hate to rank special moments in life, but this one is near the top for me. The rifle that she used to shoot the deer was the same rifle that I killed my first deer with 25 years ago. Brad, of course, did his thing skinning and the rest of the evening my heart was swelled with pride and emotion over the day.
Isn’t it funny how we will wish time away to get to a particular moment, then try to stop time in its tracks? I spent the entire week trying to get to that exact moment, then tried to freeze it. Time never freezes, it never speeds up, it remains constant. I’ve heard so many people in the last week trying to hurry up time to get to a result. There will be those that want to hurry the next four years up, and there will be those that want to freeze the next four years. What we better do is live in the now, because time is moving and we have to move with it.