Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Upland Game Birds and My Dad

I'm sitting here on Christmas Eve, slurping homemade Turkey/Wild Rice soup that I made from frozen Thanksgiving leftovers. It gave me a sudden flashback to the Grouse/Rice soup that my mother always made for the family's New Year's Eve open house. I wasn't planning on a blog post this evening, but here it is - just flowing out of the ends of my fingers...

My mother made Grouse/Rice soup, because game birds were usually more plentiful in the freezer than chicken or turkey when I was young. My father was the hunter in the family. My mother's idea of the great outdoors was a beachside hotel. But they had a deal. If he cleaned everything he brought home, and froze it, then she would cook it. I was the only kid in my class that got to ask for pheasant for my birthday dinner - and pick the shot out of my teeth - LOL. In my family, we ate Pheasant, and Grouse, and Woodcock, and Hungarian Partridge, and venison of course. I even recall a taste of moose, and squirrel pot-pie once.

Dad had a very tight circle of trusted bird hunter friends, and they were rather secretive about where their favorite spots were - especially, as I remember, for Woodcock. The single time that I got to out with Dad where I actually carried his shotgun was to a "game farm" for pheasant. It wasn't one of the secret spots - LOL. I also distinctly remember swinging too far on the single shot I took that day and making Dad duck. I didn't know what I was doing, and I didn't like that. I wanted to be with my dad, but was uncomfortable with the gun, and I never went again. I was twelve I think. I haven't ever told anyone that part before. I was embarrassed that I was unsafe, and just never spoke of it again until now. 

Of course knowing what I know now, I know that I didn't have enough training before going out that day. I also know that I have a shortish length of pull even as an adult, so as a kid, I'm sure that FIAS 20ga was probably too big for me. I wonder if that gun went in the auction when Dad died, or if my brother still has it? I'm starting to think that I might like another crack at it - to sort of redeem myself, for lack of a better term.

In related news, I have been honored to receive an invitation to the Women's Outdoor & Shooting Industry Dinner at SHOT Show this year,   

even though I'm just a blogger and I don't actually work for the "Industry".  The theme this year is "Birds of a Feather", and the logo includes pheasant tail feathers. I think this is what is triggering some of these memories.

I'm wondering what I'm going to come up with for "feather accessories" for this dinner. I really wish I had saved some of dad's fly-tying stash when he died. He had "cock-bird" tail feathers streaming out of mason jars on top of the cabinet. Boy, I wish I had some of those now LOL.  Dad had some beautiful bird mounts too - but those are now in the wildlife display cases at the public library.

Well, I'll come up with something - even if it's a Halloween feather boa. But I'm definitely hatching plans for another bucket list entry. I'm thinking I would definitely like another crack at upland bird hunting before I die. I'm not sure how yet, but hey, I'm going to SHOT, right? I'm not good at networking, but it sounds like I have a mission now - LOL!

Oh, and Merry Christmas!!

Sent from my iPad

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