Monday, November 27, 2023

Message In a Bottle

 Rifle season came in for deer this past Saturday. Tim was pretty excited about this. He wanted a hot beverage and I knew that I'd seen a small thermos, just right to tuck in his vest. It was upstairs in his hunting room on the third floor, so I dug it out and brought it down. I had two turkey salad sandwiches in the fridge, and I bought him some little snacks. 

He came out into the kitchen, and was examining the thermos. It was brand new, still in its box. "Where'd I get this?" he wondered. I said that I thought it had been a Christmas gift. I didn't remember any more about it than that. 

He took it out of the box and opened it up as I was leaving the room. A minute later, he followed me out and said, "I got a note." He handed it to me without saying anything else.

I read it, and it was a very touching note written to him from my youngest daughter, thanking him for taking on our family. She was eight when Tim and I married. I'm not sure how old she was when she wrote that note. I said, "Oh, how nice." Tim said, "It was," and his eyes were strangely shiny. He left the room. 

Saturday morning, he went hunting with his thermos and his lunch and he saw five deer. None of the other hunters in our family saw any. They were all doe, and so he did not shoot. He wanted his buck first. 

"I don't know," I said doubtfully. "It seems as if I remember this strategy not working out so well for you. You're the hunter, I'm not, but don't you think it might be a good idea to shoot what shows up?" 

He can shoot a buck and a doe.  Our deer population is out of control, so they held a lottery for extra doe tags. He got one of those, so he is allowed to take two doe and a buck during deer season. He took a big doe during archery season. 

He went back out again today, along with his thermos and a packed lunch. By 9:30, I received a message. He'd gotten his second doe. He's still on restrictions from his surgery, and so the deal was I'd go down and drag the deer out of the woods.

I trekked down through the woods. It was windy and spitting snow, but unfortunately, there was none on the ground. It is much easier to drag a deer across snow than a bare forest floor. While we walked, he said, "I think that thermos is my lucky charm. I was in the blind watching, and went to pour a cup, and two deer came out of the woods. They seemed to know that I was in the blind and they went running off immediately. They were never close enough to take a shot. So I sat there a while longer, and I poured a second cup, and as I did, I saw a deer coming down the path the other way. I didn't even get a chance to set my cup down and he was gone. I thought I'd blown my chance." 

He waited a while longer and reached for his thermos. Two deer came walking towards him. He picked the biggest one, shot once and shot well. He marveled. "Every single time I reached for that thermos, I saw deer!"




32 comments:

  1. I imagine a deer weighs at least as much as you do, and that deer don’t hang out right beside the road…. How on earth do you drag deer out of the forest??? You do many amazing things, but this is…. superhuman! 😆

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    1. It was hard. I just focus on a point and think, 'I've got to get to that point.' Then I do, and I look ahead to the next point, and think 'Just get to that point there.' When I needed to stop and adjust the drag strap or rest a bit, I did.

      Step by step. Tim tried to help, but I really did not want him to hurt himself. He scouted out ahead and found an easier route to the road.

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    2. It is amazing what we can do if we just set our mind to it. My life as a divorced woman living alone taught me there is very little I cannot do. Age has tempered that philosophy somewhat as I am very senior now, but memories take me back to days when I was unstoppable.

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    3. I understand that completely, Ana. Dragging out that deer made me feel invincible, and I have not felt that way for a very long time.

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  2. What a sweet note to find, I guess not seen when given? She might have wondered why it wasn't acknowledged. When it became clear my stepfather was dying, my sister wrote a letter to him thanking him for everything he had done for our family. As he read it, my mother said it was the only time she ever saw with tears in his eyes.

    I used to love Message in a Bottle.

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    1. I messaged her about it right away. Her response was: 'I gave Tim a thermos? I don't even remember that."

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  3. I guess I'm not the only one eating turkey salad sandwiches right now.

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    1. Our turkey sandwiches are gone. We are now finishing off a bit of turkey vegetable soup.

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  4. The message is to drink lots and keep hydrated.

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    1. The message is that there are thousands of SOS's washing up on shore right now. Vivid imagery for the troubles of the world.

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  5. Great story, especially with all of you forgetting the gift of the thermos, which now seems a lucky deer attractant!

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    1. That thermos will feature into Tim's hunting forever, I think.

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  6. Deer populations here are too high too. What do you do when the beggars chose to live in town. A bunch walked across my yard last week.

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    1. One thing that we missed was when we lived in the woods, we saw deer and bear in our yard regularly. The first year we lived in town, we had a deer bed down out back for an entire afternoon. We've never seen one since. But the deer have been hit by cars at an alarmingly high number this year.

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  7. Oh my GOD! You did it! You dragged the deer out for your husband! You definitely win the Hunter's Wife of The Year Award! Good for you, Debby!
    This is all so familiar to me- the archery season, the rifle season, the doe season, the buck season.
    What a precious story about the thermos. This too, is familiar. My husband took on my children when we married. He is daddy.
    But one main difference- Glen says that the deer can smell coffee and he doesn't take it into the stand.

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    1. Tim doesn't drink coffee. This was hot chocolate. I don't imagine it's much different though. He's always had a thermos.

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  8. I now have that Police song as an earworm. Thanks Debby!

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    1. You are welcome. I could have been evil and embedded 'the song that never ends' as an earworm.

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  9. Way to go, Tim! Your freezer should be filling up! Our cattle partner, who also had surgery recently, used a tractor to load up the deer he got. Still, he should have called my husband to come help with that. I'm proud of Tim for following the rules and calling you.

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  10. We really debated this one. He promised. It would have been a real breach of trust if he would have gone back on his word. Two deer in the freezer is good new indeed.

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  11. What a lovely, uplifting note to find. Clearly, the thermos flask brought luck, too, as well as heavy physical work for you!

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    1. It was. Sometimes things are discovered at just the right time. The note meant a great deal to Tim.

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  12. Dragging a deer out of the woods by yourself! I'm impressed, and good on Tim for reducing the population of those things by one more! We have quite a few arborvitae in our yard in Eastern Washington and last winter while we were in AZ for 3 months the deer ate a lot of them. Wrapped the trees in deer netting before we left to come down here, hoping it works.

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    1. So many accidents here. people will argue that we are encroaching on their space, but we live in a heavily wooded part of the state. The population is just too large.

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  13. A beautiful note.
    My youngest got a father's day note from his stepson to be...You may not be my real dad but I think you're great...not bad for a nine year old.

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  14. I see some venison roasts in your future. Does Tim field dress the animal? Or do you have drag the whole thing out?

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  15. It is gutted right away. You don't want the meat to become tainted.

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  16. My b-i-l went hunting for a week in PA right after Thanksgiving, for maybe twenty years. He had a good buddy there. In all that time, Tom got exactly one small doe. I guess he needed a thermos.

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  17. Wow, you win spouse of the year! Dragging a deer sounds like no small feat. I hope Tim tells your daughter he belatedly found her note. She'll get a kick out of that.

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    1. Oh we did. She said "I gave him a thermos? I don't remember that at all!"

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