He’s about six foot two, tall, lanky. I met him at a country auction. Worn and scuffed leather boots, faded jeans, a t-shirt and a baseball cap sporting a logo I can’t remember.
We tried to talk over the auctioneer’s chant.
The auctioneer held up a handful of gun parts, a barrel, a stock. Seriously, Someone had taken it apart and now they wanted to sell it. A handful of what used to be a rifle and a plastic bag of screws, nuts and stuff..
“I have a rifle for sale, I think it’s a twenty-two. What’s my first bid?” That’s his job, asking for the money. Someone out there said he’d pay $3 and another, quickly said he’d pay $5. I stopped listening.
“That ain’t no twenty-two, that’s a BB gun. I wish he had a real rifle to sell.” The kid next to me. “I need a twenty-two. Did you kill any deer last year?”
“No, didn’t even get to go.”
“I killed my limit.” Killed the biggest deer of my life, a nine point. It was just barely legal.” I looked at him, not knowing if I should ask a question or make a statement. “Shot him at 6:32 in the morning.”
Earlier that day, I drank coffee with another generation of men. One man got to talking about his grandchildren. He whipped out his wallet. Passed it around. Color photos of all six of his grandchildren. You have to look, you have to nod, you have to say they’re all good looking kids. You just have to.
Back to this eighteen year old at the auction.
“Here, you want to see them, I’ve got some photos.”
Faster than the grandfather that morning, he whipped out his smart phone, touched it a half dozen times, d “Here he is. Just got him back from the taxidermist Thursday. Here’s a photo of the one my Dad shot. He’s tied for the state record with that one. Ten points, two hundred pounds.”
I’m looking at his telephone. He’s got a hundred photos. I see six, maybe eight deer heads looking left and right and straight ahead. Big brown glass eyes looking straight back at me.
He’s telling me about this one from last year. There’s the one from two years ago Those two killed were on the same food plot. one Monday morning and the other Tuesday afternoon. There’s the one his Mom shot. There’s the one his little brother shot. His first.
I ask him “Where do you hunt?”
“Over on the county line, we’ve got 600 acres just north of the highway.”
“Sold, make that $10.00 to the fellow in the red shirt.” The auctioneer announced. Someone owns a sack full of BB gun parts.
I realized I needed to get more photos of my grandchildren or spend more time deer hunting.
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