The year was 1959 or so..(maybe give or take a bit) and it was bird season. My father and I would often take advantage of those precious weeks of fall, those few days between the closing of fishing season and the opening of deer season , to enjoy some bird hunting.
We didn’t have setters, or pointers, or retrievers. Dad was a beagle man. We beat the brush to flush out a partridge or woodcock or scoured an old field for pheasant and we did our own retrieving.
Often we would head out for Frye Mountain in search of the noble ring-necked. The aristocrat of sporting birds.
(Frye Mtn. is now a WMA and is now noted for it’s grouse hunting.)
Not only did we love to dine on pheasant but my father would enjoy using the browns, and reds and florescent green feathers at his fly tying desk. He was always concocting a new, sure-fire fly to out-wit his favorite, finny quarry..the Atlantic Salmon.
Dad’s favorite shotgun for bird hunting was his Remington Model 11. He really loved that shotgun and would even occasionally use it for deer hunting. Loaded it with deer slugs it was a mighty weapon with awesome stopping power. Anyways being deemed way too young to tote around a formidable weapon like Dad’s, I nevertheless did not leave our house unarmed. (Note my trusty BB gun in the porch boot box.)
So now as the days of September are dying, with a chill in the morning air, and the leaves starting to show some color here on the mid-coast, my thoughts go back to those precious few weeks of those autumn’s past. Tramping thru field and forest with my father, shotgun cradled in the crook of his arm, puffing on his pipe, sun shining warmly on our faces, thinking how absolutely perfect it all was.
Only..as I sit here writing this, some 50 plus years removed, I’m not sure if that is what I was thinking at all. Can a 10-year-old boy put his life in such a perspective?
But looking back on those Days Long Past…….