EXERCISE 1 (Part 1)
Make an updated list of the most important events you’ll be writing about.
1) The 2nd day and the deer hunt.
3) The day I cooked liver and onions
4) ) walk in the meadow seeing the huge bear.
5) Dick tells me that we don’t have enough gas to take the boat to the end of the lake.
6) Seeing the swans land on the lake.
7) Deer meat hanging on the four eves and Dick firing the gun to scar off a grizzly bear
8) Me in the out house and I hear a bear, coming to take the venison.
9) Fur Rendezvous Ball.
The 2nd day and the deer hunt.
I hear Dick’s feet hit the floor as he jumps from his bunk.
He scrambles into his pants and shirt and runs out into the early morning darkness to the out house. He is a lot tougher than me.
As a young boy growing up in the orphanage at Holy Cross, he and the other boys would run out in the pitch dark, barefoot, to the outhouse in 50 below zero.
I am not about to run out there without my boots. The only clothing I took off last night was my boots, coat, hat and gloves— which didn’t take me long to figure out that I needed my hat to keep my head warm— and mittens to keep my fingers warm. I couldn’t sleep with my head inside the sleeping bag zipped up over my head. So I put my hat on and stuck my nose out for air—much better.
Ouch! ¿why are my hips so sore? Oh, this bed feels like a brick. It’s been a short night, too much thinking.
Anxious thoughts swarm my mind. Can I do this?
I could speak to my sponsor, Martha, back in Anchorage. When feeling overwhelmed, I can call her, and she always helps me to work out what ever is troubling me, but there is no phone. Her last words to me was, “stay in the moment, pay attention and God will let you know what to do next.
Well…that is how I got this hunting trip going.
“What time is it?”I ask in my grumpy voice.
“5:AM. Time to be up and on the hunting trail.” He answered in a chipper voice.
Oh my God NO! NO! NO! I just want my bed at home and more sleep.
Dick lights the heater heater and cook burner and gets the coffee cooking. While he is lacing up his boots, he said,
“Stay in your sleeping bag until the room gets a little warm.”
Well… now I just feel like a sissy.
“Oh, smile that coffee boiling. An aroma from heaven! And exactly what I need”
“How can you stand to go out in the cold barefoot?”
“Remember, back in the orphanage, us boys would run out in 50 below zero weather, barefoot as a jack rabbit, then we would run back in and shiver around the big wood stove.”
I wish we had a Wood stove.
“It’s a wonder that you didn’t catch your death.”
“That’s what made us tough.”
“The coffee will be ready in just a couple more minutes.” In his chipper voice.
Just like ole times, thanks God. YES! I can do this.
“Here’s your cup, now stay in your bag to drink it, until the room heats up a bit more..”
The heater is on the floor below my bunk.
The room didn’t warn up last night, I got warm by hovering over the heater But I am forever beholding to the nice man who left us the heater. I must remember to keep my critical thoughts to my self.
“OK, here’s the check list, lunch, trail mix, energy bar, candy bars, and the thermos of hot coffee, guns, and ammo. ¿Are you ready to hit the trail?”
He is one happy camper; this is more like the husband I married.
“I will be soon.”
OK girl, this is what you ordered.
I jump up, put on my boots and coat, and headed to the outhouse, and brush my teeth.
Dick turned off the heater, we had only used it thirty-minutes of fuel.
“Here’s you gun and ammo, you have three bullets in the magazine, and here are three for your pocket. ¡OK, we are out of here!”
“It sure is dark and cold out here.”
“It will be daylight soon, and there is not a cloud in the shy. When we start walking, we’ll warm up” Dick said cheerfully.
At that moment I didn’t feel a whole lot of excitement about shooting a deer.
We settled in the boat and the small five-horse motor begin to hum with the second pull of the engine cord, Dick is running the motor at a constant speed, which makes a smooth sound.
About half way across the lake, Dick points out where we’ll be hunting. We are quiet until we reached the other shore. It’s just too cold for chit chat. I am in my thoughts and he in his. My thoughts drift to my normal mode of transformation, the beautiful plush Brougham Fleetwood Cadillac, back at the Anchorage Airport.
Dick glides the boat upon the shoreline, and ties it to a small willow. I hand him our guns, the binoculars, and backpack. With a big grin, he reaches for my hand to help me out of the boat.
I double check to make sure the boat is securely tied.
God help us should the boat not be here when we return. I can’t hold the thought in my mind of what it would be like if the boat gets away while we’re hunting—- since there are no phones, ham radios— no communications with the outside world in this place. This thought has never crossed my mind on other hunts, but this time, is a little different.
Dick has the backpacks with all the goodies, binoculars, his seven mm rifle, the ammo case on his belt, and three extra bullets in his right pocket, just incase a limb plunks off the case or he should need a bullet in a hurry. I have my Remington 350 and ammo, just incase we run into a big brown bear, I seem to have a need to do a check list in my head.
From here our only communication will be eye and hand motion. It’s now 6:30 and we can barley see the ground. Every few very soft steps, we stop to listen for any movement, the rustle of dry leaves, twigs snapping. We are also looking for fresh bear signs.
We have been walking up the lower slopes of the mountain for about an hour, which is helping my feet to feel warmer.
Dick removes his glove and bends down and touches the ground, He motions for me to take off my glove and touch the ground. The ground is toasty warm.
He whispers, “A deer was just sleeping here.”
¡I form the words with my lips, “This is so awesome!”
I just wanted to hang out in his bed. ¿I wondered, what it would be like to sleep with a deer? That bed is definitely warmer than my bed!
We walk on slowly, stopping to listen. Now we are in day break, there is enough light to use the binoculars. I check my watch, it’s 8:30.
All at once we hear a loud snap of a trig close by, I’m about six feet behind Dick, he turns to me, eyes wide open as he slides the rifle off his shoulder, his left hand goes up with his finger over his lips. I am already stopped in my tracks. I can feel my heart pounding in my chest. If ‘it’s a bear, we are definitely too close for our own good. I carefully slip my gun off my shoulder and quiet as possible place my hand on the bolt, ready to pop a bullet in the chamber, that action would make too much noise, so I wait until I need to shoot.
Dick is about six steps ahead of me, he gingerly, and very quietly back steps toward me, and turns to face me. Without a word he reaches for my gun and hand me his gun. My gun is the bear gun and he is a much better shot than I. we each turn our heads side to side watching the area behind each other, without having to move our bodies.
The sound came from a thick patch of willows above us. Kodiak grizzly bears can weight up to fifteen hundred pounds and stand ten feet tall, and we are in bear country.
My face feels hot, must be from my heart beating so fast. ¡Oh my God, what do we do!?
After about twenty-minutes of standing still as statues and listing for more movement, or snorting, the only thing I heard was my heart beating hard and fast in my ear, Dick whispers,” I think it was a deer, let’s move on.”
“Shouldn’t we make some noise?”
“No, we’ll just scar off the deer.”
“Wait, I need to unzip my coat.”
I decided to stay on his heels and keep the gun in my hands ready to fire.
A few steps later. Dick stops dead in his tracks, and I bump into him. He points ahead of us, Low and behold, no more than fifty yards in front of us stands the most beautiful Buck with a huge rack. Dick whispers, “this is as good as it gets, and you get the first one.”
I have the deer gun, so I stand with the rifle on my shoulder, scope to my right eye, pointed at the deer.
“OK, put the bullet behind his ear.”
Earlier, just a mile back, where I felt the heat from his body, and pondered what it would be like to share his body heat, and now I am going to put a bullet behind his hear. I can’t do this.
Dick is standing behind me whispering in my ear, “Shoot! Shoot! You have a perfect shot!”
I move my foot a little and the deer walks. I turn to Dick, “I’m sorry my fingers are just too cold to pull the trigger,” I lied.
Fifteen minutes later we come across the same buck. I hand him the 7MM and whisper, “you shoot him!”
We exchange guns and Dick fires one shot and the Buck is down. With a big grin he said, “OK, lets go get him.”
he’s practically in a run, I’m not about to be left behind, so I run to keep up. We ‘re both out of shape and when we reach the buck, lying next to a patch of small willows,. Dick takes a minute to catch his breath before saying, “he is one big buck and look at that rack!… but I wanted you to bag him.”
“It’s ok, I really don’t want to shoot a deer, this hunt is for you, I just want to hang out with you… and not get eaten by a bear.”
He is one happy camper, just like his old self. Now I know why I’m here. Thanks God.
Dick takes off his back pack and coat, as he reaches for his butchering knife, I don’t like this part of hunting, so I walk up the hill , but not out of sigh, with the binoculars to watch for bears.
There’s a big bolder being warmed by this amazing sun, I throw my coat over it and have a seat.
Man! what a morning! Started out freezing, scarred out of my wits, overheated, and filled with joy for Dick.
Reminds me of something my sponsor said to me the day before we left Anchorage.
“There is one thing for sure you can count on, that’s change.”“ Well… she is right about that.
Dick has his back to me, and is butchering away on that poor deer, but I can’t help being happy for Dick. I’m sure that he is taking special care of the liver. With the first deer kill we always have sautéed onions, liver with boiled potatoes for dinner. Oh No! I forgot to put the oniums and potatoes in the ice chest. It has always been my job to pack the fresh food. However will I tell him? Looks like I left some of my I’s un doted and t’s un crossed.
“Hay you over there in deep thought,”
“Huh! OH, I was just thinking about, (missing onions and potatoes,) how warm the sun feels on my back. Do you need me to do something?”
Yeap, you can get two zip lock bags, the paper towels, and bottle of water from the backpack, I’m ready to pack up the liver and heart wash my hands.”
“Sure, I’ll be right there.”
“Oh that feels better! Well… buck is ready for the big haul to the boat, but first let find a nice sunny place and have lunch and a hot cup of coffee before I start dragging that big buck to the boat.”
He said, big buck, with with pride in his voice. Thanks you God for bring us here.
“I have the perfect place, see that big bolder up there and it’s all warm from the sun.”
“Perfect, if there is a bear out there we’ll be able to spot him”
“I was terrified when I heard that noise back there, my heart was beating so hard. I just knew that noise came from a big bear.”
“I was nervous too, I knew if it was a bear he was to close for comfort. I think it was the buck,” Dick said.
“He sure is a big one.”
“Where’s lunch? I’m hungry as a bear.”
“Coming up, what did you pack? Oh, I found a spam sandwich on a sourdough roll.”
“ and you’ll find some sharp cheddar cheese to go with it.”
“ I need you to take the top off the thermos.”
Dick takes a sip, “Oh yes, hot coffee, nothing like a spam sandwich and hot coffee in the woods.”
“Can you eat haft of my sandwich?”
“You need to eat it, to keep your strength up, we have a long walk back to the boat.”
“I am stuffed, and you’re the one doing all the work.”
“Well… if you insist.”
We set quiet for awhile, Dick is scoping the area.
I ask, “do you see any bears?”
“No, just a lot of grass and big rocks and alter patches”
“Do you think that the bears are in their dens?”
“ The pregnant females are probably denned up, but Kodiak bears get big because they spend less time hibernating . The bigger the bear, the fatter they need to be to carry them through their winter sleep. To answer your question, with the warm weather, I’m pretty sure that there are bears roaming around,”
“Well… that’s a scary thought.”
“We’ll be fine, no need to worry, just enjoy the great outdoors.”
Dick pulls his knees up, props his elbows on his knees, and resumes scoping the area.
I feel an inner peace, like I haven’t felt for a long time. I don’t feel the negative energy in Dick that I felt yesterday, and I have forgotten how cold it was last night and early this morning.
“Isn’t the sun so amazing? How can it be so cold at night and so warm during the day?”
Dick turns his cup up for the last swallow of coffee, hooks the binoculars around his neck and said,” we better get moving to the boat. I have to quarter, skin and hang buck before night- fall.”
How far do you think we are from the boat?”
“My guess is about two miles, maybe three.”
“Can you handle the backpack? The liver and heart is in there, and that’s going to be our dinner tonight.” He said with a big grin.
My stomach goes into a knot. How do I tell him that there are no onions and potatoes.
With a few tears I blurt out, “ I am so sorry! ¡I forgot the potatoes and onions!
By this time I am really playing it up. Men don’t like to see women cry and especially southern gals.
He just looks at me with another grin and says, “I saw them on the counter and tossed them in the ice chest.”
“For real!? ¡Oh thank you God!” He came back with,
“No it was me who tossed them in.”
“Oh! You know what I mean.”
I can’t believe the change in both of us. We are right where we are supposed to be.
“OK, can you manage both guns?”
“Yes, and I can carry our coats, it’s to hot to wear them.”
“How much do you finger he weighs?”
“Oh, my guess is about one hundred and twenty pounds.
I left the fur on so it will be easier for me to drag him over the grass.”
The grass is thick, about eighteen inches tall.
I have tied my coat around my waist.
Dick picks up the back pack and said,
“Let me help you strap this on, there you are all buckled up, now the guns, are these too heavy for you?”
“No, they are find.”
I have his coat over my right arm, quiet the load, but I am happy and so pleased with how our day is going. There will be no complaining coming from me.
¿He picks up the deer by his horns and said, OK, ready?”
We start our trek to the boat.
It will surely be a strenuous job for Dick to drag that big buck to the boat.
The thick grass makes the job easier to pull him along.
“Why are you dragging him by his horns?”
“If I drag him by his hind feet, I would be going against his fur, I’ll be pulling him against his hair and that would cause drag and damage the hair.”
“Oh, I see.”
Dick drags him for fifteen to twenty minutes and we stops and rest. While we take breaks, Dick scopes the area for bear.
With all this fresh venison, I’m definitely paying attention, I feel like we are walking bear bate.
“I see it!”
Dick stops abruptly and ask,
“What do you see!?”
“The boat, it’s right where we left it!”
¿In a quizzical tone, he ask me, “Why didn’t you think it would be where we left it?”
“Huh…. I was concerned that the little willow would break off and the boat would float away.”
Another lie. I was concerned that maybe he tied a careless knot.
“Betty Jo, you worry too much, and I need a coffee break, and lets have our snickers bar before I load the boat.”
“Sounds good to me I bet you are pooped!”
”A little, I just need to get my second wind. It’s been a long time sense I’ve done this kind of work.”
“Can you help me with the Pack and guns?”
“Oh sure, I forgot that you are carrying all that stuff. I bet you sleep tonight.”
We laid our coats on the grass for seats.
“ Set down and let me pour us a hot cup of coffee.”
Dick ask, “Hey where is our snickers.?
“Oh I forgot about those.”
Well, I gotta have my energy.”
We sat quiet for a while and just socked up the warm sun rays. All at once I noticed that I am feeling drowsy, the grass is much softer than my bed back in the cabin.
I’m startled when Dick jumps up and said, “That was a good break, now it’s time to get buck in the boat and across the lake. .”
With a big yawn I say, “I feel like a nap/”
“Well, you can nap while I butcher and hang buck, and I need to get done before dark.”
“Do you really think that we are all going to fit in the boat?”
“You wait here while I pull the boat higher on the sand bar.”
I don’t see this working, but I don’t say it out loud.
The boat is nine feet long; between the inflated tubes is two and one half feet wide. As long as the air remains inside the tubes the boat is very safe. My biggest concern are those deer horns, and how we all will fit inside, and who would be left behind. I can’t lift the deer out of the boat; I don’t even know how to run the motor.
Well…I have all the guns and it shouldn’t take Dick too long to run the deer over to the cabin, dump him, and hurry back for me.
“OK, I need you to set on the ground and dig your heels in the sand to keep you from sliding into the boat. Now grab the rope handles on the boat and don’t let go , we don’t want the meat to get wet.”
Dick is laboriously working to get the buck crossways over the tops of the tubes. I’m hanging on to the ropes with gridded teeth all my might.
I yell out, “Stop! I need to take off my mittens, the ropes are pulling them off my hands.
Ok I’m ready.”
He needs help, the boat is sliding all over the sand and I’m not strong enough to hold the boat in place, I certainly can’t lift a hundred and twenty pound deer. deer.
I would throw the thing in the lake and forget it, but he is showing no frustration; how long does he plan to struggle with this thing? The most extraneous chore he does at work is carry a cup of coffee.
“There! I got him on, as he is huffing and puffing.
“Ok, you get in and step over the deer and set on the back tube.”
Well… to my amazement, forty- minutes later, we find room enough to fit us both inside.
he pushes me, the deer and boat back into the lake, and he jumps in, cranks up the motor, and points the boat in the direction of the cabin.
I yell over the deer, ”I am impressed! I don’t know how you did that, I would have thrown him in the lake.”
“It was pure tenaciousness!” Dick said with a heavy breath.
We look at each other, Dick has a big smile on his face and it magically puts a smile on mine.
Yes life is good! Thank you God.
On our boat ride back to the cabin, I blurt out, “I am so grateful for the sunshine! and the potatoes and onions!” and I get another bright eyed smile from him.
Back on the other side of the lake, we start the process over again. The job seems to go easer, maybe experience helps. Dick gets busy with the laborious job of skinning and quartering the deer.
I walk over to the cabin fetch my Journal, and find a grassy spot in the sun, to set and write about my morning. I spread out my coat and sat down on my little blue book., a good reminder, my sponsor Marcia had suggested that I bring it to draw strength from the daily readings. Today is November 3.
Detachment motivated by love can shield us from needless pain and set the stage for a truly rewarding relationship.
I can detach from the drink, not the drinker.
I am grateful to see happiness on Dicks face. Life is good, thank you God! Now I know for sure that this idea came from you. I promise to be on my good behavior and not complain anymore, and I feel closer to you God when I am not complaining and feeling sorry for myself.
Now I need to move my feet and put my coat on.
I feel warmer when I’m moving around.
Lets see what time is it? 1:30: wow! Our day is almost over, and I have to cook dinner.
I find him hanging each quarter on the four eaves of the cabin. “There!” he said, pleased with himself, “that the job is done…
“While we have sun I think I’ll take advantage of the lake, and get the deer washed off of me.”
“Are you going to take a bath in the lake!?”
“No No, just wash my face, arms and hands, I’m not that tough anymore”
“Would you bring be the bath soap and a hand towel?”
We walked around the upper edge of the lake looking for any ice that might be forming. It’s the same as when we arrived yesterday. Of course, this is only our second day and the cold front has’t yet arrived.
Dick looked so tired, I thought the least I could do is cook the liver and onions.
“How about some liver and onions?”
“Lets have them tomorrow, we’ll be hanging out in in camp all day, this has been a full day for both of us.”
“Hey, that suits me just find.”
“How about some chicken noodle soup with cheese and crackers?” Dick suggest.
“That sounds perfect.” “Just boil three cups of water, stir and eat”.
It is 2:30 and the sun is just above the mountain, within an hour it well be out ofsite dropping lower in the west. Soon it will be dark.
I take our dishes down to the lake to wash them in the sandy water. As I slip my long red acrylic nails into the water, Oh Burr, ¡this water is so cold! I need some rubber gloves.
As I’m walking back to the cabin, I hear a couple of gun shots coming from behind the cabin. When I get there I find Dick walking out behind the cabin, carrying the twenty-two pistol.
“What are you shooting at?”
“There was a brown bear about two hundred yard over there, he is pointing in the era where we had been hunting. I fired a couple of shot to scar him away.”
“Is he still over there?”
“No he ran into that group of willows.”
“This does not give me a good feeling. We have deer meat hanging on four corners of the cabin like Christmas lights. Hopefully, if he comes back our way, he will choose the deer meat for dinner rather than us.”
“He will definitely choose venison over us.”
“The sun is dropping out of sight, look at the sky behind the mountain, it has a purple glow, wonder what that means?”
“ don’t know.”
Well, I’m going inside before I get too cold to warm up.”
“I’ll be in shortly.”
A few minutes later Dick came in and lit the heater and turned on the burner to heat some water to brush our teeth and have cup of tea.
“I sure do wish that we could bottle up the sun and bring it in the cabin.” “Yes, that would be nice. “he added as he is pouring our tea.
We sat on the lower bunk by the heater sipping our tea while clinging to our hot cups.
I don’t like having my tea with another person in silence. so… as usual, I start the conversation.
“Well, my biggest highlight was finding the warm deer bed, and not shooting buck…and hearing you say you brought the potatoes and onions. I’m happy for you that you got the big buck, too. What were yours”? “Oh, yes,” I added, “I am so grateful for the warm sunshine. Maybe that is best of all. Hopefully, as long as we have sunshine, the lake won’t freeze up.”
Dick said, “Well… of f course, getting a big buck, but I really wanted you to bag him. Not having to face a big bear this morning was definitely a high point.
Low point: having to drag that big buck about two miles to the boat. Another high point was getting the deer dressed out and having a place to hang the meat”
Then he added with wide grin, “getting the deer on and off the boat, I couldn’t have done it without your help.”
“Well, watching you maneuver him on and off the boat was really impressive. I wish I had had a movie camera.
Burr! I’m ready for my sleeping bag, but first, I have to run out to the outhouse don’t turn off the heater yet.”
While pulling up my pants, I heard a bump, where is that bear!? he could be out side checking out the deer meat, I opened the outhouse door yelling, “ Dick! Dick! Dick! Ii hear that bear come out here!”
“Betty Jo there’s no bear out hear.”
“Well there could have been, I heard something.”
“ OK, lets go inside before you get to cold to sleep.”
I found my booties and extra socks in my sleeping bag and laid them on top of the heater while I unlaced by boots.
“There! I am ready for bed.”
Dick turned off the heater, and we crawled into our sleeping bags. I found my journal under my pillow and made a note, heater on for thirty-five-minutes , five minutes over.
“Good Night Dick”
“Good Night Betty Jo”
It would have been nice to share a sleeping bag, but at this point in our relationship, there are neither goodnight kisses nor hugs nor snuggling. And just for today, that is how it is. Besides, we can’t both fit in one mummy bag.
Thank you God for the sunshine and for watching over us today, and helping Dick to feel happy.