Not This Time


Halting at the fence, I handed my rifle to Eb, crossed over, took my rifle and his, and waited for Eb to cross over.

I had promised the family (our three boys- not the wives) moose steaks for Thanksgiving. Before you go ga-ga that is not a far-fetched meal plan! Montana has had a growing herd of elk for the last seven season. Eb and I have seen three or four in the upper range every weekend this fall. We weren’t after a trophy, just a meal a little more gamy than the tofu turkey that the wives have settled on since their three month excursion into vegetarianism.

Snowfall had been erratic since early morning. A quick radio check from NOAA calculated that we had a good five hours before anything of slightly dire consequence would be on the roads.

The austere, yet pristine mountain range before us had Eb bouncy with excitement. His normally vapid, white-collar-accountant’s lifestyle tendencies were becoming unhinged by the majestic views and the primal opportunity of his first kill.

I had to continually remind him that silence was necessary for a successful hunt, even if all wind and weather factors and availability of a kill were in our favor.

We hiked for seventeen mostly-hushed miles, the snow continually deepening. I had planned ahead, I had attached snowshoes on each of our packs… even though this was a symbolic awakening into a hunting family for Eb, this was not my first rodeo.

Upon shoeing ourselves at mile fourteen or fifteen, Eb’s silence became more strained. His taciturnity was not from the excitement of discussions involving the kill, Eb was 5’7” and 217… The mammoth mountains were beginning to overwhelm the massive Eb.

At noon, Eb succumbed to defeat. Even if we, by happenstance, fell upon an elk, he did not have the strength remaining to help field dress and drag the animal home.

Never one to face failure head on and retreat, I shouldered the two rifles and handed Eb the Ruger 22 LR.

As we carefully re-crossed the fence, I walked the rifles to the Rover and then assisted Eb to our permanent deer-stand in the adjoining field.

The weather had not been early as blustery here in the valley. From the benches in the stand, we could overlook a shallow stand of oaks.

Within twenty minute we had seven squirrel.

While not elk steak… scrambled eggs, buttered toast, and fried squirrel for morning breakfast… not a bad day from the offices.

Written for Three Word Wednesdays:  Week No. 505, 504, 503, and 502.

Far-fetched, adjective: improbable, unlikely, implausible, unconvincing, dubious, doubtful, incredible, unbelievable, unthinkable; contrived, fanciful, unrealistic, ridiculous, absurd, preposterous, hard to swallow, fishy.

Gamy, adjective: having the tangy flavor or odor of game, having the flavor or odor of game or other meat kept uncooked until slightly tainted, plucky; spirited, lewd or suggestive, risqué, gross or squalid; unwholesome.

Halting, adjective: hesitant, faltering, hesitating, stumbling, stammering, stuttering; broken, imperfect, unsteady, awkward, faltering, stumbling, limping, hobbling.

Calculate, verb: compute, work out, reckon, figure; add up/together, count up, tally, total, tote, tot up, intend, mean, aim, design, expect, count on, anticipate, reckon on, bargain on, figure on.

Dire, adjective: terrible, dreadful, appalling, frightful, awful, atrocious, grim, alarming; grave, serious, disastrous, calamitous, ruinous, hopeless, irretrievable, wretched, desperate, parlous, urgent, desperate, pressing, crying, sore, grave, serious, extreme, acute, drastic, ominous, gloomy, grim, dismal, unpropitious, inauspicious, unfavorable, pessimistic.

Erratic, adjective: unpredictable, inconsistent, changeable, variable, inconstant, irregular, fitful, unstable, turbulent, unsettled, changing, varying, fluctuating, mutable; unreliable, undependable, volatile, spasmodic, mercurial, capricious, fickle, temperamental, moody.

Vapid, adjective: insipid, uninspired, colorless, uninteresting, feeble, flat, dull, boring, tedious, tired, unexciting, uninspiring, unimaginative, uninvolving, lifeless, tame, vacuous, bland, trite, jejune.

Adjoining, adjective: connecting, connected, interconnecting, adjacent, ensuite, neighboring, bordering, next-door; contiguous, proximate; attached, touching.
Bouncy, adjective: bumpy, jolting, jerky, jumpy, jarring, rough, lively, energetic, perky, frisky, jaunty, dynamic, vital, vigorous, vibrant, animated, spirited, buoyant, bubbly, sparkling, vivacious; enthusiastic, ebullient, upbeat.

Symbolic, adjective: emblematic, representative, typical, characteristic, symptomatic, figurative, representative, illustrative, emblematic, metaphorical, allegorical, parabolic, allusive, suggestive; meaningful, significant.

Tendency, noun: propensity, proclivity, proneness, aptness, likelihood, inclination, disposition, predisposition, bent, leaning, penchant, predilection, susceptibility, liability; readiness; habit, trend, movement, drift, swing, gravitation, direction, course; orientation, bias.

Unhinged, adjective: deranged, demented, unbalanced, unglued, crazed, mad, insane, disturbed, out of one’s mind, out of one’s tree; informal crazy, mental, nutso, bonkers, batty, loopy, loco, postal, bananas, touched, batshit crazy.


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