Thursday, December 1, 2011

Deer Camp - A great read!

Please take a few minutes to visit my friend on the Main Line and read this fantastic story.

With most of my readin' bein' news, political or informational in nature, I've learned to put up a pretty thick wall between my readin' and my emotions. This read, however, busted right through that wall and set me back to reminiscin' back to the good ol' days...

Our deer camp used to be an old trailer with no electric or runnin' water, somewhere in the hills of Huntingdon County. It was set back up in the woods a few hundred yards back off the hard road, and if you were goin' too fast you'd miss the lane.

We'd always hunt on the Eastern Shore of Maryland on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, then we'd head to the PA camp. Dad had no stake in the camp, but it was owned by family friends from Maryland and we were always made more than welcome.

We'd arrive in the daylight on Sunday, and we'd set about gettin' things situated around camp. The few that hunted the lands around the camp would go check on their stands. The rest of us hunted a nearby mountain, so we'd work on stackin' wood for the stove and other busywork. Anyone that felt it was needed would climb up on the porch and throw a few rounds at a pie plate on a tree about 40 yards off. The boys from Maryland always had somethin' exotic layin' around to eat. I remember eatin' shark, mountain lion, elk, moose and caribou in addition to good ol' fashioned venison. I'd usually wind up explorin' the stack of ol' Playboys in the corner, which was nothin' short of a goldmine to a 12-year-old.

As the sun went down, the gas lights would come on and the wood stove would be fired up. Since I was the pup of the group, or Camp Bitch as I was commonly referred to, I'd get out the mustard, ham and bread and set to makin' a few dozen sandwiches. The old guys would settle under the old Budweiser poster at the table with their bags of change and commence to playin' poker. It was always like a scene from an old movie... several grizzled men clouded in a sea of cigarette smoke, sittin' at a table loaded with beer cans, playin' cards and loose change. The best part was always the stories and dirty jokes that flew faster than the cards. Sometimes, if I finished my sandwich duties in a timely manner, they'd let me play a few hands. I don't remember winnin' many hands, and I'd guess that if I did it's because they let me. Someone would gather up the buck pool from everyone, and it'd be stuffed up into a crack in the ceilin' until a winner was decided on Wednesday.

We'd eventually get around to makin' our final preparations for the mornin' and they we'd head off to the rack room for a few hours of shut-eye before we left to climb the mountain.

My formative years of huntin' were spent at the Huntingdon County camp, until antler restrictions swayed the Maryland crew from comin' up. We still went up and hunted the mountain for a few more years after that, but that went by the wayside when we began stayin' with Ron at our current camp. I've always wanted to make a day trip on the bike to the old camp, but I reckon it's been so long since I've been back that I likely couldn't find it anyway.

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