Sunday was a field trial practice day for Zack, The Wonder Dog, and I. MLH, Younger Son and I all are “Bigs” in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. MLH and I decided to invite his “Little” to go with us. Around 8:30 a.m., we go pick up burritos and then go pick up Little Brother #1 (So named because he is our first “Little” – he is 11). LB1 is always over the top with energy and wit – we so enjoy being around him!
We head to Big Spring. LB1 has a million questions…"Now, what are we going to do? I’ve never been hunting. What is a chukkar? What is a pheasant? Will I see chickens? Do I get to shoot? Do you use BB guns? How is Zack going to do that? Did he go to school? Will he knock me down?” We try to explain everything to him. He is so inquisitive – and so very smart!
We get to Andy’s (our trainer) house. Andy is cleaning out dog pens, quite an aromatic chore. LB1 doesn’t like that smell, but there are two little pups hanging around, and he thinks they are quite the treat. We play with them, and go to the barn to see all the birds. En route, we have to stop and see Tank, the world-class barrel racing horse. Tank gently lips LB1’s hand, looking for treats. LB1 is not so sure about that, Tank is pretty big - but LB1 quickly gets over his fear. We enter the bird pens, and there are chickens after all! We see a ton of pheasants and chukkar. The birds fly all around, and LB1 gets a kick out of the bird catching process.
Finally, we head out to the field, and LB1 is all eyes and ears. The kid doesn’t miss a thing. Andy, Zack and I head out for our first two birds. I miss my first one, and get the second one. We bring it up to the truck, and LB1 is all over it – he has to hold it and examine it. “Where did you shoot it? Let me see! Look at the cool colors! The stripes! Are you going out again?” He’s handling everything extremely well, on this, his first hunting trip. We carry on, and finish the training session. LB1 has had a good time.
We go to eat lunch, and the kid devours a triple decker hamburger and fries. LB1 is so long and lean – where does that food go?! We head into town, looking for our friends that will take the birds home and eat them. We find them at Hunan’s, eating lunch after church. We transfer the birds, and we’re heading to visit Scenic Mountain State Park . LB1 likes mountains, and is excited about going…but only if we will think about coming back to Hunan’s to eat lunch (again) afterwards.
We get on top of the mountain, let Zack out of his crate, and take off. We walk up and down the mountain side, looking at rocks, animal scat, anything and everything. LB1 is like a little mountain goat. Zack, nose down, escapes our immediate control, and LB1 is the one who finally leashes him in. LB1 is so proud that Zack came to him. LB1 looks across the mountain to another point, and off we go. He wants to go all over that mountain.
At some point, MLH and LB1 head down to another ledge. Zack and I stay on top, watching. Why didn’t I bring my camera? LB1 is just glowing, smiling – he’s really enjoying this trip. It is a beautiful day. I cannot explain my feelings as I watched these two climbing and talking – I just knew that is was right that they do so. It took me back some years. I know that MLH and Younger Son explored many a mile in their earlier years, and I’m grateful that MLH and LB1 are getting to experience this together.
I was a single mom once. Not all single moms are afforded the luxuries we enjoyed in Elder Son’s youth. ES and I were lucky enough to live in the country. We hunted rabbits, explored, shot BB guns, all the things that country-raised children take for granted. Times were lean, but we had lots of fun – and my son wasn’t hooked to the television! Elder Son was always outside, and we had tons of adventures - some even on this very mountain. I'm glad LB1 is able to taste stuff like this.
Much to LB1’s chagrin, it was time to head back to Midland. We stopped by Hunan’s, and fed LB1 again. Once the bottomless pit was full, we headed west. We’ve enjoyed a full day. It was a very good day – and it was a blessing to see our world through another’s eyes.