That was a great read, thanks
The yellow firelight cast dancing shadows on the leaves of the surrounding trees. The night was dark but for the circle of flickering light from the little campfire. Over the small fire, was a spit made from green wood, resting on two forked sticks that had been sharpened and driven into the ground on either side of the fire. Two nice fat rabbits roasted on the spit that was turned by the boy. The old man sat off to one side, running a patch down the bore of the .22 rifle that had harvested the rabbits.
"Grandpa, do you always clean your rifle every night?" the boy asked.
"Well pup, I've been taking care of this rifle before your daddy was born, and it will take care of me if need be. Like providing us a nice dinner tonight." said the old man, pointing at the roasting rabbits.
The boy thought back to the afternoon hunt, and how the rabbit had flushed from the underbrush, and the old man had let loose a high pitched whistle, and when the rabbit had stopped still at the sudden sound, the rifle had cracked and the rabbit was dead. The old man had shown the boy many tricks in their weekends together. Like when squirrel hunting, to toss your hat around the other side of the tree, and shooting the squirrel when he came back around, spooked by the flying hat. The old man was a dead shot with the old Marlin .22 rifle, and didn't seem to need or even want another gun.
But what the boy loved even more, was watching his grandpa use his old knife.
As each rabbit was shot, the old man had taken out his jackknife. It wasn't very big, nor was it flashy. But there was a hue about the aged jigged bone that spoke of many years of use. And the blade the old man pulled out was a dark gray, with years of patina of cutting many things over the course of many years. It was like the old man himself, a gray and seasoned old timer with tales to tell. That it was razor sharp the boy could see by the way it glided through the rabbits hide when his grandfather had dressed out the game. When it came time to cook the rabbits, the old man had handed the knife to his grandson and told him to sharpen a couple of sticks for the spit to sit on. The boy loved the feel of the blade slicing through the wood with clean even strokes that had wood chips flying. The boy couldn't have been more thrilled if Arthur had handed him the famed Excalliber.
Dinner came, and they enjoyed the rabbits, and the old man put the tin cups by the coals to heat the water within. Soon, hot cocoa was had for desert, with the old man taking a small flask from his coat pocket, and pouring a bit of whiskey in his cup. The boy held his cup out, and the old man looked at him for a moment.
"What I do, ain't that good for you pup. You ma would never let me hear the end of it, nor let you ever go to the woods with me again."
"Just a little bit to try it out, grandpa."
The old man looked at his grandson for a long moment, then reached over and poured a small measure of the whiskey into his hot cocoa. The boy took a small taste.
"Wow, that's kind of good." the boy said.
"Well don't go to liking it too much. My daddy always said 'all things in moderation'. Never go over board with anything."
"Is that why you never bought more guns, grandpa? All I ever see you with is your .22 and that jackknife. Tommy Burke was saying how his dad has a whole case full of guns."
"Yeah, well, some people just like to have bragging rights." the old man said. " You never knew your great grandpa, boy. My dad. He always said to never have more than what you really need. To be good with a few basic tools is better than being mediocre with many. Dad never had much. But he knew what he was doing with the ones he had. You have to be careful in life, not to over burden yourself with all the stuff you don't need. It'll slow you down, dilute life's experience. In other words, all things in moderation."
The boy thought about what his grandfather had said. He had been going on these woods outings with the old man for a year now. He had watched in rapt fascination the things his grandfather had done. Every move thought out, making it all seem so easy. And all with very few tools. The boy looked at the nylon tarp that hung from a low hanging tree branch, giving a nice water proof shelter in case of rain. The wool army blankets to roll up in. It was a simple camp that all went into one simple green knapsack. The old man traveled light.
Soon, the day's activities and the late hour, and maybe a bit of whiskey in his hot cocoa, the boy was nodding off by the fire.
"Go to bed, pup. We'll start back to the truck in the morning."
The boy went and crawled under the tarp shelter and rolled up in a warm wool blanket. The old man sat by the fire as it burned low, and smoked his pipe. He loved the woods outings with his grandson, and he smiled to himself as he thought; "I'll be dammed it they'll turn him into a suburban mall rat!"
He tapped out his pipe, and the before turning in, he took out his knife and felt the edge. He gave it a light stropping on his boot, and put it in his pocket. He picked up the Marlin .22 rifle, and worked the lever just enough to see the gleam of brass in the light of the dying fire, making sure it was loaded. He set the hammer on the half cock notch, and rolled up in his own blanket. Morning would come early.
That was a great read, thanks
As normal a lovely read Carl
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That was great,you sure do know how to tell a story.Felt like I was sittin at the campfire with you guys.
That's a lucky boy in that story. If every youngster had a grandfather like that, there would be far fewer problems in this world. Thanks for the nice story Carl. It makes me yearn for simpler times and brings back fond memories of my youth.
Great read, it got me to get out my old Remington 514 and do some shooting.
Great story! I always enjoy reading these short stories of yours! I might have to go buy me a Marlin lever action 22 now.
Great story. Thanks!
Great story Carl.
Thank you for being in a writing mood.
The knifekontent is great and the 22 marlin ads to the blend of older and newer times.
A story like that kan have been happening 100 years ago or yesterday.
Time dont show so presicely in the dark woods lighted from a campfire.
Another masterpiece. Thanks.
A great story and even greater advice. Thanks for sharing.
Makes me wish I had a jigged bone jack knife in my pocket.
Carl, my boy is only 2 years old right now, but when he hits about 6, I'm sending him over there to spend some time with you. It seems like he could learn a lot.
Nice story, seems like how my grandfather placed me under his wing as a young boy learning the loars of the woods. Thanks for sharing.Made my day and sent a warm glow over me. Thanks!
Carl, this one brought back many memories form my childhood! Now, I'm the Grandpa, and I'm trying to do the same with my Grandson. It's a blessed life we live, indeed!
Definitely one of your best, Carl.
Great story Carl, really enjoyed that, thankyou
Thank you, Carl.
I can't remember, did you say you were working on publishing these stories in a book? i now we keep pestering you to do so...
But this I know with all my heart,
HIS wounds have paid my ransom.
-Stuart Townend, 'How Deep the Father's Love For Us,' c1995, ThankYou Music
Cool! I was reading through, and picturing a much younger version of yourself, decades ago. Then you throw in that "Suburban Mall Rat" statement and had me laugh out loud.
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You cannot believe everything you read on the internet.
My first read of your work, excellent! My mind flashed to the old Boy Scout folders in the drawer of my dresser, my Dad's, and beside it mine, from my Cub days in NM. I need to treat those old knives to some TLC.
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