I must tell you of my first day in this strange, new place. By the way, where are you?
I figured you were out riding your bike so when a bearded guy with kinda long hair carrying chest waders and a shotgun let the tailgate down on the truck, I jumped up into the bed and into the porta-kennel. The morning was cold and foggy but my legs are strong and young again. I shook with excitement as I saw him load the decoys.
I scratched the bottom of the kennel with excitement and spun around a couple of times as he opened the door but I waited for the command to release. The power in my back legs shot the kennel backwards as I jumped out of the truck. My nose led me in circles and I never felt fatigue or fell down. My old mossy oak neoprene vest fit around my shoulders and belly and all the lipomas were gone.
I sat as tall and straight like you told me and I could see all the ducks circle above. I couldn't help but wiggle because soon I was going to get to swim out and bring them back. But I held steady like you taught me. You would have been proud too, as I left all the decoys alone when he was setting them out.
Boom! Boom! I heard the gun and saw two mallards fall into Lake Lowell. But I waited like you taught me. I wanted to do my best. I heard my name and then did my best cannonball into the water. I brought them both back with only a little help with hand signals on the second one that got trapped in the bushes. I remembered the wagon wheel drill when he signaled I turned to the left on a left-hand back. (Instead of to the right. That was always hard for me, but I got it!)
We hunted all day, Mom, and I didn't lose any birds. I love bringing birds back. I held on softly and sat quietly at his left knee until he asked for them. I was careful not to put toothmarks in the ducks.
I loved my day. I get to go again tomorrow and the next day and the next day and the next day.....all I want. I can go all day and not get tired, All I think about is getting those ducks. I love it here. My legs work again and they are strong. Nothing hurts and I never get tired or thirsty. I feel like I am four years old.
I had the best steak dinner ever and curled up on the couch in front of the fireplace where he pet my ears until I fell asleep.
I wonder when you and I get to go hunting again? The bearded man said in about 70 years. So I will see you then. I will know where all the birds are and I will practice all the things I know to do so I can bring back all the ducks for you someday. I only really care about making you proud by bringing back ducks.
I miss you here, but I am happy and young again and I get to go hunting everyday. Everyday. Mom.
I love you,
Jesus is a lot better shot than you, so use the next 70 years to practice up and I will be waiting by the fire on the couch!
CCR'S HOT WHEELS
APRIL 30, 2001-JANUARY 1, 2015
Your soul is full of nothing but love and your heart knows nothing but loyalty and kindness...You never had to know pain. I love you and you will always be with me on every 14er, duck hunt, hike, ride and nap in the grass until I see you again......Be good, little girl.