Attitude Is Everything
“Are we almost home?”
“My stomach hurts.”
“I think I might throw up.”
My brain was beginning to tell my lips to start moving in response to the first question, when I heard the convulsions begin. Going from sixty to zero in quick order, I pulled into the barrow ditch. Cold winter air hit my face as I leapt from the cab. Headlights blinded me as I opened the rear door of the truck. The dome light provided just enough illumination for me to see a large serving of mac and cheese splatter on the back of the driver’s seat. Arms extended at full reach I held my son under the armpits and extricated him from the vehicle. Once out of the truck he leaned forward and emptied the remaining contents of his stomach.
Standing in the glow of hazard lights, with my hunting buddy and sick three year old, I took stock of the situation. To be fair, I potentially could have seen this coming. My son was up all night with diarrhea and it had persisted through the day. He had some sort of stomach bug. But other than the sudden need to use the bathroom, he was his usual high energy, destructive self. His mother had had enough and was excited to have both of us out of the house. Naturally we went hunting.
A bag of decoys, one dog, a few shells, and a full package of baby wipes, just in case, accompanied us in the truck. Ducks were abundant but flying high and paying zero attention to our spread. A stroll along a canal with hopes of jump shooting a bird or two brought us close to sunset. An unreal display of colors and clouds brought a close to the day. Minus the ducks, it was exactly the outing we had hoped for.
Sopping up vomit with an extra sweatshirt, I began to reconsider the decision to leave the house. Soiled clothes were tossed in the bed of the truck. Plastic floor mats were removed, chunks dumped on the ground, then doused with a water bottle. We cleaned up the best we could. The cloak of darkness covered up the rest. Wearing undies and a t-shirt my son sat on a clean jacket, covering the puke soaked car seat. A sip of water and some gum served to help wash the foul taste from his mouth. We pointed the rig for home.
Five minutes later I asked him how he was doing.
“I wish we got a duck.”