The other day as I was boxing up some random things and starting to get ready for my move to Ohio, I came across something that I thought that had disappeared years ago; a journal I had kept when I was ten, the first year I had gone hunting.
It was made out of notebook paper and orange construction paper stapled together, and all the entries were printed in pencil. On the inside of the construction paper “cover” I had drawn a turkey. The first entry was dated May 20th, 1999.
The entry was short, but I remembered the exact day I had written about.
(Mis-spellings are included)
“Dad and I woke up early this morning to go turkey hunting. We got dressed and I ate my kudo and drank my ovaltine. We left around four but we didn’t go up on the hill instead we went somewhere else. When we got there it was 4:43. We walked around for a while. Then we heard one we walked quickly back to the path. We looked for a place to sit down finally we found one. We were sitting there when catbird fluttered down and screeched. I jumped. Dad called a few more times but the turkey did not anser. We got up and were walking up the path when we saw him. He was sitting in the tree in front of the Appalachian Bowhunters barn. Dad said I could have shot it but he did not want me to. He said it was in the tree (which was legal) and that wasn’t fair you have to give the turkey a fair chance, besides it was in front of a building. I didn’t get mad. He explaned it to me that people make up stories that they called it in and shot it in the woods in stead of in front of the building. We walked up a different path for a while. We went up a hill that turned out to be a sheer drop off on one side the other side sloped down gently. We heard some turkeys and dad stopped and called but they did not come. Dad said it was time to start back to the van. I didn’t want to but I was kinda glad because I was soaked. On the way back we saw morels (mushrooms) and dad said sometime we could pick some. He showed me a salamander it was orange with black spots outlined by red. I picked it up to take home. I put it in my glove. We saw a cat. By the time we got to the van the salamander was gone. I didn’t now how but it was gone. We came back home. I love hunting.”
The rest of the journal entries were shorter, and were mostly about our caterpillars changing into butterflies, how I was sick with bronchitis, and what my favorite toy horse was. But the first entry really made me remember that day hunting with my dad, that the grass was soaked with dew and my boots were too big and my gun was heavy but I didn’t complain. And I’m pretty sure the Salamander went missing when I tripped over a stick and dropped my glove.
Back when I was ten years old and keeping that journal, it had never crossed my mind that 12 years later I would be reading it. But it’s definitely something I will keep forever.