Stepdad's Thoughts

My thought and feelings.

Deer Season 2010 – The Family Lease

I’m back on the family deer lease this year and plan on staying there. I left the lease nearly 10 years ago when my grandfather stopped hunting then when he died I could not see myself ever going back. This year my uncle died and my thoughts changed. I missed my family, my hunting family – the male members I spent so much time with. Mostly my cousin, there are several but one in particular, Kenny, made the biggest impact on me. At his dad’s memorial he told me I needed to come back. We hugged and shared some tears. I later found out my mother was watching and she was crying also.  Any way I’m back!

Opening weekend was a lot of fun. We all shared laughs and even a tear or two. I was able to talk with my uncle, my grandfather’s last sibling, and Kenny. I explained why I had left and what brought me back; I think it made since to them.

Only 4 deer were killed on opening weekend but much fun was had. We ate great, laughed too much, spent a lot of time in the woods. I saw almost 30 deer in 4 days of hunting; I chose not to shoot a doe and the smaller deer I saw.

We all left for home and other places on Tuesday… I got home on Wednesday and began to prepare to take my stepson hunting when he got out of school on Friday.

My stepson was able to see 9 deer in the two days he hunted; even got a shot of at one but missed.  He was able to spend time with my uncle and cousin, seeing them at a time other than a funeral helped him to know them better. Unfortunately he did not grow up as I did with the opportunity to shoot guns much which makes me think he does not fully understand the process of lining up the sights, etc… I am taking him to the gun range this weekend to work on his shooting. He did have fun; he told me so without me asking.

He is now the designated shooter until he is able to get his first deer. He’s 13 and has not hunted much therefore we still sit in the stand together. I want to get him in the Hunter Safety course which he must have before he is able to legally hunt alone. He still hunts with me until I see he truly knows how to be safe with a gun and understands how to determine the right deer to shoot. I can hear the things my grandfather told me many years ago coming out of my mouth.

Of the time I have taken my stepson hunting this past weekend is the absolute best ever. I realized I need to have fun with him; it will make life better at the house. It will bring us closer together.  He’s asked to have his first deer mounted in a shoulder mount, I have agreed if; it’s a nice buck and I have the money to do it.

I am looking forward to more time in the woods, sharing our family traditions, talking of old times and making new memories.

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November 17, 2010 Posted by | General, Parenting | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No Youth Only Weekend this year

This year I will not be taking my stepson for the Youth Only weekend of deer season. The reason for this is my grandparents, my Dad’s parents, are coming to town that weekend. It’s be almost a year since we have seen each other so the decision has been made to not go hunting. We will be going out to dinner since that weekend also has my Dad and Grandfather’s birthday. My Dad will be 68 and my Grandfather will be 95, we plan to have Crawfish etouffee per my Grandfathers request.

I’ll take my stepson hunting during regular season.

October 20, 2010 Posted by | General, Kids, Parenting | , , , , | Leave a comment

Bigotry and the Measles By Ron Pittenger

I found this while reading another blog and wanted to make sure I never lost it… Very well said.

Bigotry and the Measles
By Ron Pittenger (http://tartanmarine.blogspot.com/2010/08/bigotry-and-measles.html)

Bigotry is a lot like the measles. Like measles, it is catching. You might say it’s an equal opportunity disease that respects no human-designated boundaries, affecting as it does people of all races, creeds, sexes, and politics. Most often, it is caught when we are young.

Bigotry is the fallacy of assuming people fall into groups, that the groups are easily classified, known, and manipulated. It assumes the people within each group are fungible, interchangeable, with individuality being of no particular concern. If you have eight $1 bills in your wallet, you don’t care—and it doesn’t really matter, does it—which one you spend on a $1 purchase. If people were like dollar bills, this would be the end of the essay.

Unlearning to be a bigot is difficult because most people catch the disease early, and what we take in as truth when young is very difficult to deny later. It requires us to think and make judgments of our own and to stop relying on the judgments made by our parents and elders.

Like most men of their times, one born in 1903 and the other in 1905, both my grandfathers were bigots. One said he disliked only blacks and Jews; the other was less discriminating, claiming he hated everyone outside our family, and wondering about some of us, too. Oddly, both men got along well with all the people they claimed not to like.

In the early 1950s, our church burned down. My father was a volunteer on the town’s ambulance squad, and went to most of the town’s fires in case someone was injured or burned. He came home and told us that before the fire was completely extinguished, the rabbi of the Jewish congregation half a block down the street from our church had already offered our minister the use of their hall until our building was rebuilt. So, for most of a year, we had our services in the synagogue. And I never heard another bad word about Jews from either grandfather.

The one who claimed to hate everybody was the person who soothed our worries and fears when a black family moved next door to us in 1955. The man of the house, Gramps said, had worked at his company for nearly 20 years and had been Grandpa’s lodge brother almost as long. “He wants the same things we want,” Gramps said, “and he works hard to get them, just like we do. He’s a good, honest man.” So, I grew up with black neighbors, Bill Sterling and his wife Aaron. I liked and respected them both.

Being young and stupid, sometimes I tried to ask Bill or Aaron questions like “What do your people want?” Usually, Bill’d just look at me like I was a total idiot and say he didn’t know. Aaron would just smile and ignore the question. One summer, when I was around 12 or 13, there were race riots in a town about 20 miles away. Again, I asked Bill what “his people” wanted. When he dodged, I pressed for an answer. I got one I haven’t forgotten.

“How should I know?” Bill said. “I guess I could say what I want, and maybe even make it stick with my wife, but we black folks are just as confused and contrary as you white folks. I can’t be a spokesman for anybody but me. And, then, I might change my mind, just like you do. So, ask me what I want and I’ll try to tell you.”

As my Gramps had said, Bill Sterling was an honest man and a good teacher. I learned my lesson very well. I have never since taken anybody’s word for it that they had the right to act as spokesman for another individual unless they had visible proof in the form of elected office, a successful business, practice, or congregation, and even then, I take it with a grain of salt. Like Bill said, folks do change their minds.

My first date was taking Bill’s niece, Betsy, to the 8th grade class dance. I didn’t view this as being in any way political. She was just Betsy, a nice girl who lived two streets over, and was really pretty. It wasn’t her skin color but her personality that mattered. Had she been disagreeable, I would have found a different date. In fact, Betsy’s neighbor was a year behind us in school. She was as nasty as Betsy was nice. The girl lacked many things, but chiefly self confidence and blamed it on “whitey” or his local representative—in other words, me. But, her brother, a year ahead of Betsy and me, was nice. How do you figure things like this out? You don’t. You learn not to try to predict the actions of other individuals until you know them. And this is exactly the problem with many of our government programs today.

Have you noticed how often government programs fail to improve the lot of the individuals the programs are supposed to help? By its very nature, governments cannot tailor programs to individuals. Even at the town or village level, governments have to operate on the basis of “the group,” not the individual. Higher governments must work with ever larger groups. Only by making the assumption that every member of the group is fungible can group-aimed government programs work as promised. Similarly, programs for groups can miss their goal by wide margins by failing to take into account the individuals who will be “helped.”

Companies and business organizations do a little better, but not much. They want to get their money’s worth out of the program, so they are more careful who they pick and how they structure the program. But, as the organization becomes larger, it falls into the same trap as governments, trying to satisfy the needs of an idealized group, and fails in the same ways for the same reasons.

In the United States of America, we count the votes one at a time, individual choice by individual choice. That’s who we are, a nation of individuals, not a nation of groups. I can promise you this: when you stand before the Judgment Seat and the Great Book is opened, you won’t be judged as part of a group. You will be saved or damned by your own actions, one person at a time. Just like it ought to be here. When our political parties realize this basic truth we will, each of us, be better off.

September 20, 2010 Posted by | General | , , , , | Leave a comment

Grandparents

My wife and I had a great phone call with my Grandparents last night. My Grandfather is 94 and my Grandmother is 80-something, no one really knows her age. We were on the phone for 1.5 hours, it seemed more like 10 minutes. My grandfather has requested a gathering of all his family for Christmas, actually the day after. We have never all been together at one time on Christmas; my dad, his two brothers and their extended families. So we will all me meeting on the 26th for a big dinner. I think a big reason he has asked for this gathering is he has started to think his time is near the end. Definitely not something I look forward to but he is the last of his siblings. He lost his brother in November. My grandfather was the oldest of I think 6 kids and is now also the last. I can’t imagine how that must feel.

I can’t wait, it will be a short visit but a momentous one for us.

December 16, 2009 Posted by | General | , , , , , | Leave a comment