How things truly change

by By Mark Hoskins

Many men have hobbies. Some like to golf. Others fish, some work on old cars.

The only long-term hobby I’ve ever had is deer hunting. It’s something my dad taught me to do, and we always did it together.

In June, my father passed away. It was unexpected to say the least. Since that time, I’ve occupied my time cleaning up his hobby of lawnmower repair.

It’s been a monumental job and if you’ve ever visited him or drove past his home you saw the large number of mowers he had.

All those are now gone, and I’ve renovated his garage. I started this project as soon as we found out he was sick in late April. He had gotten to a point he wasn’t physically able to work on the mowers but didn’t want to get rid of them.

In his mind, he would start back doing the work someday. I see now that gave him something to probably look forward to.

Fast forward to the present, all the work is now complete. I’ve worked tirelessly on the property during a time I usually spend preparing for deer season.

Archery season opened, my thoughts where I’ve got too much to do right now. Gun season opened last weekend and I simply just have no desire to go. I still check my deer cameras. I still make sure they have corn to eat. I do many things that I always did, but the desire to go is just not there.

I basically forced myself to go Monday afternoon. Even as I put on my clothes, I had no desire to go. As I sat in my tree stand, like I have hundreds of times before, my thoughts weren’t on would a big buck walk by. I thought about all the memories he and I shared enjoying the outdoors.

As darkness came creeping in, two does entered the field. They were followed by a nice buck. When you get older, your eyesight isn’t as good as it used to be, so I couldn’t really tell how big it was.

I looked down at my gun, but it wasn’t my gun, I had picked up my dad’s gun and took it with me. I hadn’t even realized I did that. I’ve hunted with his gun before but that wasn’t my plan today, not consciously at least.

I sat there thinking how did I not realize I got his gun instead of mine?

By this time the buck had moved closer to me. I could clearly see this was a possible shooter buck.

In the past when I’d see a deer dad would always say, is it bigger than anything you’ve killed in the past? As I watched that buck, I wasn’t sure. But I didn’t even raise the gun, as I watched it chase the two does.

They eventually headed off to the thicket as the shooting light had dwindled away.

It would have probably been a special moment to get a buck with my dad’s gun, it was like a part of him got to hunt. But the desire just wasn’t there, and I don’t know if it ever will be. I told you that to tell you this…hunting forms special bonds. Bonds between family and friends that nothing else can create. Cherish your moments and hold on to your memories, one day things will change, and the memories will be all you have left.