Termite the Tenacious!

So, Saturday, I posted the following on the dark hole that is called FaceBook:

“sitting at the camp, listening to the rain that foiled Termite’s duck hunting plans this morning, wondering which came first–his tenacity or the nickname?”

One friend responded:

“You can’t let rain stop the duck hunt.  Misery Loves Company is a book I think Termite will really enjoy.”

So, like a good mom who wants her son to read good books, I went to the book link and took a look at Misery Loves Company by Billy Becker.

The flyleaf reads:  “Why do duck hunters do it?  Sit in the driving rain for hours awaiting ducks that may never come?  Shiver in freezing boats and blinds in the most inaccessible, not to mention inhospitable, environs?  Can anyone call this fun?  Evidently, duck hunters do.”

Termite was beyond downcast that I would not depart at 5 a.m. in the drizzle Saturday morning.  He insisted that it had stopped and started several times and denied, even though I made him look at the screen of bright yellow cover on the radar over our area, that it was raining.  Stubborn.  Even though I laid down the ground rule the night before:  I WILL NOT GO HUNTING IN THE RAIN, it made no difference.   He woke me for the third time, saying he was loading the boat.

Hearing rain, and not being happy about being awakened again, I yelled at him from the front porch, across the road to the bayou bank.  “I TOLD YOU I’M NOT GOING IN THE RAIN.” I left him in the boat, in the rain, shed my camo-wear, and slid back into bed.

So, no, the words on the flyleaf definitely do not apply to me.  I don’t get up at 4 a.m. and brave the weather and the scary boat ride in the dark because I love the sport–I don’t even love to eat duck.

I do it because I love my son.

He does it because he loves the sport.  And I really have no clue why.

Duck hunting takes a lot of preparation, for what I see as very little reward.  Today there would be even less reward.  Unlike last weekend when I allowed him to shoot a few gallinules at the end of the hunt today I said no to the gallinules.  Why?  Because even though he cleaned them, and Widow Mary cooked them, he ate very little.  He must learn the lesson that we do not kill the birds if we are not going to eat them.

Regardless of the “no-gallinules mandate”, he happily prepared the boat, his clothing, boots, gloves, ammo box, flashlights, duck calls (yes, Steffi!), face mask, gun, kill switch, boat key, gate keys, hunter safety card, push pole, paddle, life jackets, gas tank, running lights, anchor light, spotlight, decoys, pocket knife, and on and on.  I refuse to be responsible for any of it.

If he were not so tenacious about duck hunting, would he get it all done?

We launched the boat the evening before.  He made sure it had fuel, oil, and that the plugs were in so it floats!  He drove it from the landing to the camp and tied it up securely for the night.

So today, when we left in the cold, cloudy, windy pre-dawn darkness, I reflected on the flyleaf words and my son.  As he threw out his decoys, I mentally compared and contrasted the two and realized that duck hunting really is the sport for this tenacious kid who loves it so adamantly.

Unlike the boat parade of crazies on opening morning last weekend, this morning we were riding solo.  Even though there was almost 100% cloud cover, no ambient light or starlight, he brought us all the way to the lease without turning on one light.  Not one.

I will confess that  I was not in a very good mood this morning.  I did not want my bottom connecting with the cold of that aluminum boat seat.  I was there begrudgingly, but by the time we reached the gate, this display of uncommon maturity nudged the grudge right out.

termitewatching

While watching him in the predawn light, I wondered how this tenacity might benefit him as an adult.  What call will there be upon his life that requires such determination and dedication?

Even though his termite-like ways can be aggravating as all get out, shouldn’t I be happy that he has such spunk?  What’s he thinking about while scanning the sky for ducks this morning, blowing his amazingly-duck-like calls.  I observed him closely, his face smooth and child-like, his voice  sweet and solid, not crackly and uncertain.

What is there in his future that will require such single-mindedness?  Such focus?  Such an unwillingness to give up without exhausting all possibilities?

We sat in the cold together for about two hours.  As we were leaving empty-handed, we ran into some club members who had as much luck as we did–zero.  However, they told us that the two guys in the blind just south of us shot ten ducks this morning.  Even so, Termite was not down trodden.

On the way in, I told him I was sorry that he didn’t get to shoot a duck.

And in his very Termite way, with dimples denting his adolescent cheeks, he said, “It’s okay, Mom.  Thanks for taking me even though I know you really didn’t want to.  I had a good time, anyway.”

He is the last.  Your last chance to do it well and get it right. These days are fleeting. Stop wishing he were sixteen and could do this without you.  Be glad he wants you here and that he doesn’t mind being seen in the boat with you.  NOTE TO SELF:  Buy a camo cushion for that old bottom.  Layer clothing.  Bring a book to read.  Enjoy these days while they last.  One day, you might be begging him to let you go hunting with him.

Meanwhile, I’ll just keep going hunting with him and dreaming about the future man this Tenacious Termite will turn out to be.

Heading to the sporting goods store . . .

BW

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Comments

Termite the Tenacious! — 22 Comments

  1. You are a better person than I am. I don’t think I could get up that early in that kind of weather and do something I really didn’t enjoy doing.

  2. Heading to the sporting goods store sure beats heading to the video game store and braving the elements to shoot ducks and become one with nature sure beats sitting inside to shoot gangsters and become one with the couch. Although the latter probably does help improve the reaction time required for the former as Termite so aptly proved scientifically.

    • Oh, D, there’s a new twist. We are heading to the fabric store to buy burlap, upholstery needles, and nylon thread. He is making his own “boat blind”. The rack is still attached to his boat from last year, which held up these long grass mats. After last season, the grass mats were thrown away, I’m guessing, and his big brothers won’t spring for new ones, so he is improvising. He’s about to get his first lesson in “whip stitching” today! This should be fun!

      • Love it! Pics please! And I’m pretty impressed since I am unable to even sew a button on my pants that I’ve popped due to a little extra girth that I suspect has a whole lot to do with the bounty of the wetlands.

        • Never ever go to town without calling to see if desired item is in stock. No burlap. No burlap? Every duck hunter and his cousin must have wiped them out before the season started. Don’t the know how to reorder? No sewing lesson today.

          • I think I’d search the house for any clothing item in need of repair. Practice makes perfect. You KNOW he’ll want his project to be perfect. So he needs to practice. If you can’t find anything around your house, I’m sure I can dig up something around here.

            As much as I like to fish, you won’t find me in the boat if it’s cold and rainy. Warm/hot and rainy’s ok. I’ve got my Frogg Toggs (Dotter, that is the correct spelling) to keep me dry. BW, maybe you could find a “duck hunter mentor” you’d trust for Termite to hunt with.

            • My older boys had one, but he is mentoring two of his own sons and just can’t add a third boy to the mix. Termite has two older brothers that mentor him when they’re not out working on the boats. I just take up the slack, see?

          • Ugh…ain’t no way to make a “quick trip to town” that’s for sure. Would the farm or landscape supply companies have something like that? Or maybe sweet talk an oysterman.

            • The idea evolved from oyster sacks to store-bought burlap because he wanted to go steal some from the Mexicans. Uh, no. And I don’t speak Spanish, so definitely no. He found another supply of sacks, so we shall see.

  3. And now you know why I sat for 8 hours through Hunters Safety course a couple of weeks ago. I figure I better get in time now while I can. As long as I hold the car keys I hold them a little closer. Although there are days I’d give anything if they could drive themselves to town! I did draw the line at deer hunting this weekend, I just have no desire to sit in a stand and hope a deer ventures by.

  4. What a guy! I am astonded at the responsiblity he willingly takes on. I think he is REALLY going to be something when he grows up; something you are going to be very proud of!

  5. Bayou Woman,
    After reading articles on the decline of youth involvement in the shooting sports, it is refreshing to see such a passionate young man. I enjoy your stories and insight.
    Phil

    • Welcome to the bayou, Phil, and I thank you for your comments. At a recent Louisiana Outdoor Writer’s Association Conference, we had a big discussion with our some agents from our state department of wildlife and fisheries about the decline in both fishing and hunting by our youth. With the onslaught of video games, they’d rather sit in front of the TV or computer screen, drinking soda, eating chips and killing aliens or each other than expend a little energy outside. The other part of that is today’s parents both work, and there seem to be less and less parents making the effort to pass along outdoor traditions. It is a sad turn of events. I would like to personally invite you to click on the hunting and fishing categories to read stories from the past two years. BW

    • Welcome to the bayou, Phil, and I thank you for your comments. At a recent Louisiana Outdoor Writer’s Association Conference, we had a big discussion with our some agents from our state department of wildlife and fisheries about the decline in both fishing and hunting by our youth. With the onslaught of video games, they’d rather sit in front of the TV or computer screen, drinking soda, eating chips and killing aliens or each other than expend a little energy outside. The other part of that is today’s parents both work, and there seem to be less and less parents making the effort to pass along outdoor traditions. It is a sad turn of events. I would like to personally invite you to click on the hunting and fishing categories to read stories from the past two years. BW

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