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10. Coyote Mobile

Paula Young Lee Travelers' Tales ePub

Chapter Ten

Coyote Mobile

The loudest duck gets shot.

Chinese proverb

Im going to kill the chicken, Don announces without preamble. You want to help?

Uh... sure, I reply uncertainly. I feel obliged to witness its death since Im responsible for pointing out its scabrous condition. A little while ago I went out to the henhouse to say hello to the chickens. Hello, chickens! I said. Right away they lined up, pressing forward to see if I brought food. They all came over to greet me except for one, the one with the weird walk and the bloated stomach. She looked really bad. Chunks of feathers on her back were gone, and her demeanor was sullen. Worse, she was huddled in the corner where the first bird had croaked. She couldnt smell death, because death smelled like her.

Shes eating, Don remarked, when I returned to the human house and tattled on her. Its probably not a disease. Dourly, he scratched his chin. He was not particularly interested in deciphering the clues.

The feathers on her back are funny, I insisted. Either shes picking them out, or the other birds are pecking her.

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11. Girls in the Man Cave

Paula Young Lee Travelers' Tales ePub

Chapter Eleven

Girls in the Man Cave

A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition.

Rudyard Kipling

Back in May 2008, to great rejoicing and fanfare, Cabelas opened a new branch in Scarborough, Maine. John was so excited he started dancing around.

Whats the big deal? I said. Its just another store.

Its Cabelas! John explained by energetically waving his hands over his head.

I still didnt understand what all the fuss was about, so he took me shopping. It was a revelation. Billed as the Worlds Foremost Outfitters of Outdoor Equipment, Cabelas turned out to be Disneyland for gun nuts. The dcor was vintage hunting lodge, with mounted trophy heads popping out from every wall. There was a shooting arcade, a Gun Library, and a freshwater aquarium, but the centerpiece of the store was an ersatz mountain where taxidermied animals frolicked. To discourage shoppers from attempting to climb it, Cabelas did not sell crampons or guide books for trekking through the Himalayas. The store only sold useful outdoor stuff such as turkey calls and camouflage bikinis, both of which I had to try even though I had no chance of succeeding.

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12. When Worlds Collide

Paula Young Lee Travelers' Tales ePub

Chapter Twelve

When Worlds Collide

Your salvation doesnt interest me. Mine does.

When Worlds Collide, 1951

Its my fathers eightieth birthday weekend. My brother, his wife, and their daughter are taking a red-eye flight from California and landing early on Saturday morning. They are staying in Wellesley for thirty-six hours, long enough to land, say hello, have dinner, and then they are fleeing back to Palo Alto. We have not been all together since my mother died fifteen years ago.

Am I thinking about this? No. I am trying to organize the freezer. The impending arrival of a thousand pounds of moose meat creates an acute space management problem. In 2000, according to the USDA, the national average consumption was 195 pounds of meat per person. One moose, then, feeds a family of four over the course of a year if you can figure out how to preserve it. One solution is jerky, but Id really rather not turn good meat into spicy strips of shoe leather.

If were lucky, well get a moose right away! John hollers cheerfully, and bounces down the stairs, through the kitchen, and out the front door as fast as he can. Hes heading up to Maine. Its Friday night, meaning that hes got Saturday and Sunday to scout. On Monday, the moose season officially starts. He is also trying very hard to disappear before my family gets here. Families are just bigger versions of other peoples babies: theyre adorable until they start throwing tantrums and screaming. In my case, theyre screaming in Korean and sometimes French, depending on who shows up and the nature of the occasionsay, my sisters wedding. Nobody has a clue what the other person is saying, but theyre all saying it very LOUDLY.

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13. Don’t Shoot the Deer in the Ass

Paula Young Lee Travelers' Tales ePub

Chapter Thirteen

Dont Shoot the Deer in the Ass

The hunter is not least a subject of song, who brings peace to our pastures and feasts us with every sort of meat.

Synesisus of Cyrene, Letter 148, 1st century AD

It is 5 A.M., and John is getting ready to go deer hunting. Outside, its twenty-three degrees in the disappearing dark, and the fields are frozen. By the time I turn over, a shy mist is rising from the land, blending earth and sky. John is using my half of the bed to offload and organize his gear. I am pretending to be asleep.

I open one eye, and see orange. Theres a fluorescent puffy vest layered on top of me.

To keep you warm, baby, he says primly, and tucks it in around me.

Mmmph, I thank him, and disappear under the quilt.

He tugs on long johns and heads upstairs for food.

Brzzzzzip! goes the coffee bean grinder.

Thump! go the logs in the stove.

Argh! I mutter, pulling his pillow over my head. Something soft lands on me. Its a balled-up sock. I sneeze and count my blessings. This time, the sock is clean.

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14. Blood and Guts

Paula Young Lee Travelers' Tales ePub

Chapter Fourteen

Blood and Guts

Lawyer Amanda Bonner: And after you shot your husband... how did you feel?

Defendant Doris Attinger: Hungry!

Adams Rib, 1949

Patrick lost another one in the dark and rain. He was very high up the mountain, where the terrain is steep and treacherous. Hed been tracking a buck and took a shot. The hit was fatal, but the kill wasnt instantaneous. Running after it, Patrick found bone, blood, and hair before the pounding rain washed the trace away. A weaker animal would have dropped in its tracks. Five friends came out the next morning to look for it, and all they found was the gut pile left by a stranger whod stumbled across it.

Is it poaching to take another mans quarry? Its not unusual for hunters to lose their animals in the forest. Humans stand out. Animals blend in. Within seconds, the wildlife can vanish, even if you know exactly where they are going. So if a hunter stumbles across a buck felled by another mans bullet, the right thing to do is to dress and hang the carcass, alert the game warden, and have a nice day. To walk off with the deer violates an unwritten code. Its the hunters version of the girl crush. A nice girl never steals a boy that her girlfriend likes. A tramp would hit on him just for fun, and steal him if she could. Its one of the ways you know shes a tramp. Sure, alls fair in love and warbut in real life, its not exactly true.

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