My 30th Wedding Anniversary
It was rather odd that my daughter wanted to go hunting with me. It was two weeks before her wedding and I assumed there was still quite a bit to do. Either that or perhaps my wife was in charge of all the planning, arrangements, leaving me as the checkbook. I was proud of the fact that she took some time to go out with her old man just like the good ol’ days. She can handle a rifle and take care of herself; this is what I taught her.
We set up our stand about 100 yards back from a common travel corridor where the bucks would stop by for water. Killing a buck is not easy; it requires patience and an inordinate amount of time just to spot one.
It was a cold morning, I took the canteen out of my backpack and poured some espresso with a splash of grappa to warm ourselves up. For some reason I knew something was up. “Cheer up, in two weeks you’ll be married, you’ve got everything going for you” I told her. “He appears to be a good man. Of course he may get on my nerves sometimes honey, but he’s a good guy for you.”
She turned over and looked at me, “I can’t marry him.” I was shocked and pronounced the fact that her mom was going to go through the roof with all the time and money spent on preparation. I was very disappointed, it’s not like we would get this money back. She sat in silence until her head perked up. Her eyes were noticeably watery, “I’ll pay you back every cent, but I can’t go through with this wedding. I don’t like the way he treats you daddy.”
“Honey does that even matter to me? All that matters is whether you’re happy or not. I have a thick skin. Sure, he called me an idiot once but I thought he was joking. That was until the next time he said it again, that’s when I decided to mind my own business. But you want the truth? I never liked his family and would’ve preferred if you fell in love with a plumber or electrician, that way at least we could use them to fix certain things around the house, the business, you name it. I don’t expect the work to be done for free, I would pay” I told her.
She shot up, “Shhh, shhh, do you see the buck out there?” I responded, “He’s way too far to make the kill.” She smiled, “Have you ever wondered how to hunt without a rifle? The buck is at a disadvantage, it’s so easy to sit here and wait for it. But what happens when you want to hunt without any tools? Are you able to do it?”
I laughed, “Of course not honey. The buck has good ears, I can’t run after it. You do make a good point, but if you want to put food on the table you’ll need a weapon. Back to what I was saying, what do you suppose mom and I oughta’ do about this?”
She looked at me, “Listen with mom we can smooth things over if you help me through this. He bought the wedding dress and engagement ring and wants that money back. I don’t live with him anymore but he follows me everywhere looking for his money.”
“Ok” I said. “That’s fine, give him back the engagement ring and I’ll give him the money for the wedding dress.” She shook her head, “He wants his money for the wedding dress and engagement ring. I pawned the engagement ring and they only gave me $2000. I need $6000 more for the engagement ring and $3000 for the wedding dress.”
I began to get dizzy. “Please pass me another shot of that grappa” I told her. Again she pleaded that she would pay every penny back. I eventually agreed.
“Here’s the plan” I said. “Your mom and I have our 30th anniversary coming up. I’ll give you the money you need to pay off this guy and I’ll kick in an extra $4000. On Monday get your mom and I a trip somewhere nice with a beach, all-inclusive, and open bar. Give your mom this trip as a present and tell her you’re not going through with the wedding and that you even managed to get some of the money back. You know your mother, she’ll rant a bit, but I’ll smooth things over.”
“You know dad. I’ve never said this to you, but you really are my hero.” She said. I smiled, “OK, how about this? I’ll give you an extra $1000 for you to reserve a nice table on the beach for your mom and I. I know it’ll make her feel good, and let’s face facts, this hobby of mine takes too much of my time and everybody knows I’m a workaholic. I only have myself to blame.”
She kissed me on the cheek and looked into my eyes. “You work hard daddy, no one can blame you for that.” I asked her, “Do you see the deer.”
“This one’s within range” she excitedly said. “Leave it alone” I told her. “Let it live.”
That was the last time in my life that I set out into the forest with my rifle.