This morning I woke up to a message from my youngest daughter suggesting that Spook's name be changed, since 'Spook' is an old perjorative term for a person of color. Of course, I knew that but the 11 year old boy that named the cat did NOT know it. I felt no need to educate him in that regard. Spook is also an old term for a haunt and the cat is slipping around, sticking to the shadows and dark corners of our house like a little spook. Hence the name.
It was brought up that even if William did not know this term, if he discussed it at school, other children might be aware of the connotations, especially if they are brought up in racist homes. Some teachers might wonder if William was being raised in a racist environment.
In the end, there is no reason to create controversy for William. His life is difficult enough without any extra bullshit. So we discussed it and we bounced around names for a while, finally deciding on 'Houdini'. William is a fan of magic and Houdini is a apt name for a disappearing cat.
William and Tim went out hunting today. William is a junior hunter, and this is his first year. Tim is a big fan of hunting and he really enjoyed teaching our two boys the craft. Having his hunting buddies grow up and move on was a sad transition for him. He was anxious that William give it a try and William seemed quite amenable to the idea.
I keep trying to tell Tim that William might give it all a try and decide it's not for him and that he needs to be prepared for that possibility. He swears that he is, but he went out and bought William a deer rifle to use that will 'grow' with William. He was excited as could be to find a new blaze orange hunting jacket for William in the Goodwill. They've been practicing with the gun. William is a bit afraid of it. He wears ear plugs but he does not like the kick. He is fairly consistent hitting the target. (He's a dead eye with his bb gun and spends a lot of time target shooting the spinning woodchuck target during the summer.)
In any case, they went out today. Tim did not take his gun. He's been keeping a close eye on the deer and he knew where a spike and a four point were coming in nightly. He set up a blind a couple months ago. We have antler restrictions here, so they were not legal for Tim, but they were legal for a junior hunter like William.
They waited inside the blind and the deer came as is their habit. Tim and William sat side by side in the blind and grandpa began coaching him in a whisper about setting up the shot. In the end, William couldn't do it. He got nervous. He refused to make the shot.
They sat side by side in the blind, one patient man, one nervous boy. The deer finally strolled away.
Once they got home, I told Tim, 'You know, he just might not be cut out to be a hunter, and you need to let him decide on his own. If he doesn't want to go out..." At that point, William walked in on the discussion. He got upset, and made it perfectly clear that he does want to hunt, and he does want to go out tomorrow morning and he does want to get a deer.
Grandpa was getting ready for bed tonight. He's had a chest cold for the past three days and is pretty tired, but he wants to take William out tomorrow. I began to quietly express my concerns. Patiently but firmly, he told me to leave it alone. First time hunters get buck fever sometimes. He assured me William would do better tomorrow.
I left it alone, but I see it plainly. My grandson is becoming a man. This is between him and his grandpa.