My parents divorced when I was in the fourth grade. For a couple years we lived in the same area as my father (in Texas), then we started moving, eventually landing in Kansas.
Many of my “visits” with my father involved hunting and camping together. Hunting was a new world for me, but it was something that I could do with dad. I loved being with my dad on those trips. I loved hearing his stories and the stories of other hunters in our camp.
My memories of those trips are deep and rich: Dad lighting a cigarette with a lighter and that wonderful smell, cooking eggs and bacon on an open fire, crawling into the bottom of my sleeping bag, cold and exhausted but so happy to be there after a full day of hunting; and how my dad honored the game that he took during the hunts.
I loved the long trips coming and going to the deer lease in Texas, as much as I enjoyed the hunt. I would visit, as I got to know my dad during those travels, better and better; I cherished every moment. And I was heartbroken when the trip was over. My time with my Dad was always too short because of circumstances. But it was long in richness and experiences.
When I think about what I want to pass onto my sons and grandsons, it is something like those times that we had together. It has nothing to do with hunting. It has everything to do with meaningful time together. Whether that is time on a vacation, enjoying Thanksgiving dinner, or attending one of my children’s/grandchildren’s sporting events – all of that I want to pass on to my children.
And what I want them to learn from me is how important that is to pass that onto their children.
When I am with my sons or my grandchildren, I often think of my time with my dad, and my time with my stepfather.
I would give anything for one more hunt with my Dad; or one more conversation with my step-father. Wouldn’t you?