Sunday, September 9, 2012

A Dog Named Blitz, Chapter 8 "4th Year, Part 7"

For background on this serial, please click here. You can also start at the previous section

As the fall progressed, I took Blitz up to the hunting shack with me every weekend.  While I didn't take her hunting, she enjoyed hunting camp life with all of the other dogs and guys around.  It was a great place for a dog to hang out, get into the garbage, sit on the couch, and just be a dog. 

Still, I felt the whole situation incredibly unfair.  I couldn't take her out to do what she was born to do.  Likewise, I was coming up on my 40th birthday, and was taking things hard.  I felt I had not progressed in my career as much as I had wanted, felt the first aches and pains of an aging body where such pains never existed before, and had a dog, whom I loved, that was going to die shortly.  I felt there was not too much to celebrate, and was downright depressed.  So when my wife asked me what I wanted to do to celebrate the big day, I told her I wanted something low key.  Just a quiet dinner with her and me would be just fine.  But the morning of my birthday would belong to just me, I planned to use the time hunting. 

It just so happened that my birthday fell on a Monday, so I planned on taking a day of vacation from work, and just staying up at the duck camp an extra day once the weekend had concluded, so the timing of everything would work well.  I'd stay up, hunt the morning, then head back that afternoon, get cleaned up, and go to dinner with Vera. 

That weekend was a real dichotomy.  On Saturday, despite big southwest winds, our team of three hunters did well, and scratched out thirteen birds.  We should have limited out, but my partner Ron was having a tough go of it shooting, and failed to connect on three different occasions when my calling had put a flock of mallards right into our decoys.  Sunday was an altogether different story, as it was like the birds had all disappeared from the area.  The big southwest wind continued to blow, which meant new birds would not be winging their way in on migration from more northern climes.  We ended up the morning with a respectable four birds, and saw only a small fraction of the birds we had seen the previous day. 

After cleaning the birds, I helped my partner Dean and his son Kent assemble a blind on Gucci point.  The blind was of Dean's design, and was soundly built, sturdy, well concealed, and downright comfortable.  While Dean had been a giant in business, achieving partner in a major accounting firm, he was also former farm kid.  My dad always remarked at what Dean could build or fix, and often stated that if he ever told Dean's friends at the prestigious Golden Valley County Club of the things he did on a weekend, they might have to kick him out for being a redneck. 

When we finished the blind, I stood on it and shifted my weight back and forth.  It was rock solid.  It had plenty of room for a multiple guys, or perhaps for a guy and his injured dog.  Maybe, just maybe, I'd take Blitz out with me in the morning.  It would be easy for her to move around and not get hurt.  Plus, with so few birds in the area and fewer hunters on a Monday morning moving them around, we'd likely just be enjoying the sunrise together anyway. 

Dean, Kent and I hauled out the tools from the point, and as the rest of the camp got ready to head back to their lives in the cities, I settled into the couch with Blitz to watch some football.  Ron was the last to leave, and said on the way out, "Why are you using vacation for tomorrow?  There aren't any birds!  You should save it for later in the year when the big mallards come down."  "I know, " I replied, " I guess I'm just a glutton for punishment."  What I didn't say was that I was completely into feeling sorry for myself, and wanted a nice pity party for my 40th birthday.  Just Blitz and me, wallowing in our sorrows. 

Ron departed, shaking his head and wishing us luck before leaving us alone.  Just like I wanted. 

Later that night, I fed Blitz and took her outside for a small walk around the yard.  The warm day had given way to a chilly evening, and the light southwest wind had shifted to the northwest and had gained substantive strength.  Maybe, just maybe Blitz and I would see some new birds in the morning. 

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