Eye of the Beholder
If I’d had a pipe and an Irish setter, we could have been in a Norman Rockwell painting. Puffy white clouds floated in a bluebird sky above vibrant green sage and the rolling red-dirt prairie. A man, at ease with the world and confident in his forthcoming conquest, strides forth, a shotgun cradled across his arms. Two hale and hearty young boys trot along behind. It was idyllic. Then they ambushed me.
“I gotta poop,” said Grady.
“You’re kidding me!”
“Me too,” said Everett.
“Bad!” said Everett.
“Uh oh!” grunted Grady, bouncing from foot to foot.
Damn! I started frantically taking inventory, patting my pockets and looking about … Shotgun? Check. Shells? Check. TP? Nope. Spare clothes? Nada. Shovel? Negative. Anything useful whatsoever? Absolutely not. Where’s the kit? In the truck. Where’s the truck? Out of sight, around the bend, and at least a ¼ mile away.
“Dada!” whined E, his voice growing plaintive.
“Alright fellas” I explained, situating them each over a quickly improvised hole. “Here’s the plan. You’re dumping in this hole. I’m going for the truck. Stay put, wait for me to get back and DO NOT get creative.” With that I turned, double-checked that the gun was empty, placed my hunter orange hat atop a tall bush, and ran for it.
I wasn’t gone long, but time is inconsequential to toddlers bent on mess and mayhem. I took a moment to steel my nerve before closing the last few yards to my orange hat.
Rounding the brush I quickly counted two boys. Score! A moment later, it registered that they looked more or less intact. Bonus! Then I took in that they were standing shoulder to shoulder, staring into a shallow hole, their expressions worlds apart. Everett was beaming, ecstatic.
“Dada, Dada I pooped in the hole!”
Grady was silent, pointing at the deposit with a blank face and the glassy-eyed stare of a train wreck survivor.
“Everybody OK?” I asked.
“Uh” grunted Grady, not moving or changing expression.
“Isn’t it beautiful!?” whispered E with a tone of wonder and awe.
We were just finishing up washing hands when Steven reappeared over the ridge.
“How it go?” I asked
“Great” said Steven “I got one. Great stalk. One shot. Clean kill. Good antelope. And she’s not far. Just about perfect. How’d it go here?”
“It was beautiful.”