Mother’s Hunting Story

Fact can be stranger than fiction.

My mother seldom told fictitious stories. She stayed with the truth. And with a good memory in her favor, the stories stayed the same with retelling.

My memory does not latch onto the details as firm. I want to tweak, smooth, and improve a tale as time goes along. So pardon any errors in the following. It’s a tale told by mother a few times, although not as often as other experiences.

In the third autumn of their marriage, my father decided to go pheasant hunting on their farm. At the time they farmed 140 acres, mostly cropland, but with the rougher portions still in woods.

They must have owned two guns at the time. Dad almost always kept a .22 rifle in the house. A shotgun would have been the weapon of choice for pheasant hunting.

Every day dad went out for several hours, walking fence lines and other areas of tall grass that the birds favored. He didn’t see even one. He’d return to the buildings in time for evening chores and report his lack of luck. And mother would inform him that “the pheasant” came right up to the buildings again today.

Dad expressed his doubt.

Three or four days into this pattern, mother had had enough. When “the pheasant” showed up, long after dad had taken one gun and gone hunting, she took matters into her own hands. She fetched the second gun, loaded it, and opened the bedroom window. Supporting the rifle barrel on the sill, she waited. When the time was right she pulled the trigger.

Imagine my father’s face when he returned an hour or two later.

“I shot the pheasant. He flapped under the grainery too far for me to reach.”

Thus ended my father’s short bird hunting exploits.

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