Publication Year: 2010
A young man from Monterey and his younger brother go on their first deer hunt with their minister father and his friends. The setting is 1950s northern California, in country where, from the right height, one can see Mt. Shasta in one direction, Mt. Lassen in the other. It is a region of small, insular towns, and although it is a familiar hunting ground for the Reverend and his buddies, not everyone there welcomes black hunters. Father and son both shoulder their pride, and a racial confrontation seems inevitable.
Among the lessons young Satch learns is the sometime advantage of wit and spine. During their days in the wilderness, the brothers are initiated to the right practice of the hunt and camp and to the ribald talk, needling banter, camp tales, and occasional aggravation of sundry friends. Hunting has a primal nature, but as Satch sees, so may the variable interactions of men.
Published by: Utah State University Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
We’re buryin g my dad today. At one o’clock. He died suddenly last Thursday. When he didn’t come home from his office at the church, Mom got worried and called. No answer. One of the deacons went in and found him slumped dead over his desk. He was young, only 63, but he had a stroke like his mother, brother and sister before him...
It’s funn y how experiences shape people’s lives. Some of them fade from the memory, drift away, get fuzzy around the edges, as if the light of recollection gets dim in places, bringing back only outlines, shapes or fragments. Others remain part of the consciousness in such pristine form that they merge with the perpetual present we live in, standing out, clear, sharp...
The Old Man decided he had to preach the Sunday night sermon himself, so we didn’t get to bed until about eleven o’clock that night. Too excited to sleep, Bub and I talked for awhile. “Think you’ll be able to hit a deer, Satch?” he asked. “Sure,” I said. “All you gotta do is aim like the Old Man showed us. I just hope we see some.”...
Everyone burst out talkin g at once. “Whoooee,” Unca Billy shouted. “Man, did you see this thing? I mean it ate that Hudson up! I tell ya, Rev, I thought my new Chrysler was fast, but now I don’t know. I ’spect this 98’d outrun it.” Willis hollered into the Old Man’s eyes in the rear view mirror, “Why, Ref, even after the needle went outta sight, this car kep on pickin up speed.”...
I learned it on that first Modoc trip and over the years since, but hunting trips were largely about talk. The men made plans, argued the merits of various kinds of guns and ammo, rehashed events repeatedly, bragged about kills, and told stories. Some guys told their stories before they left home...
After the excitement of Unca Billy’s bear, I don’t think anyone slept much more. I know I didn’t, and I could hear mumbling from the direction of Willis and Unca Billy’s tent. The voices sounded angry like the men were arguing about why Unca Billy hadn’t killed his bear, I supposed. And I noticed through slow, sleepy wakefulness that I didn’t hear Deke’s heavy snore anymore...
Camp was tense that ni ght, the gloominess of our mood matching the darkness in the sky. Smitty’s getting lost had upset everyone, him and me more than anyone else. He was angry at the Old Man and embarrassed for himself. He had also been scared. I was pissed at him and at my dad. I had been scared too. Smitty’s racing off into the brush had struck me as childish...
The Pit Riv er flowed out of a reservoir somewhere up above Adin and meandered its way south and west down through Big Valley and across the Cascades before dumping into Shasta Lake over by Redding. About twelve miles east of Fall River Mills, it made a sharp turn to the west and flowed deep and wide toward the little mill town...
We got up early the next morning to a big breakfast of bacon, eggs and grits, and more of Mom’s sweet stuff. Still fuming about his “lousy gun,” Deke got ready to go into town. Unca Billy, who for some reason was always running out of toothpaste, shells for his .35 Remington, or something else, decided to go too—mainly, I think, just to keep from hanging around camp since we still had three days before deer season...
That ni ght, I lay curled up in my warm down bag, looking up at the busy sky, swatting dive bomber mosquitoes, listening to the river chuckling under its breath and to the coyotes howling across the high plateau. Their cries sounded faintly like I imagined Indians singing might sound—high, sharp, soaring sounds. Falling asleep, I wondered what that country was like when the Indians had it. How did those ancient red men live?...
Back at camp, I found the others lounging around somewhat restlessly. Bub was half-heartedly catching pike on filed hooks and throwing back all those not too badly hooked to survive. Smitty, who had killed no rabbits, was fiddling with his rifle. The Old Man was dozing in his chair, and Willis and Unca Billy moved around talking about hunting...
We threw on our clothes and raced through breakfast. The sky was still dark and dome-like, but no one acted as if it were four-thirty a.m. On later mornings, we’d be a little less anxious to get out, but that morning we were determined to be early. No one complained or joshed or teased. Each person knew what had to be done and went about it single-mindedly...
The next three days were like the first. Up in the dark, down with a quick breakfast and out to the daylight hunting spot. Hours of chilly, silent sitting near the hilltops, listening and watching and waiting. Then pounding the brush under the hot, midday sun, and finally scouring the jack pines in the lava beds in the late afternoon.
By then, we had spent nearly a week roaming that entire section of Modoc County—the timber high on the mountains, the heavy brush and manzanita on the hillsides, the mullein-covered plateaus and the lava beds. We had hunted hard for long hours. True, we had made some mistakes, but mainly we had hunted intelligently. We had started out wanting only mule deer, but we had been reduced to taking the smaller...
”Carter, are you all right? You’re driving over eighty,” Claudia says, her tone of voice and her using my given name shocking me to attention. Jesus. I hadn’t noticed. Guess I wandered off. The kids are riding well and I don’t need to get Claudia all ticked off. She already claims I drive like my dad used to—too fast too often. Better ease off a little...
Publication Year: 2010
OCLC Number: 646068479
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Natural-Born Proud