Friday, April 05, 2013
I don't have a gun. I had one not that many years ago, and I wish I hadn't sold it actually; but I don't have one now. I have no dog in the current hunt really, but I'm bamboozled by gun owners who say the government will tear their guns out of their clenched fists only when they're cold dead--or however that Charleton Heston quote goes. That's scary.
The people who see black helicopters landing in their yards give me the willies. They may well be the most peaceful, law-abiding ex-Eagle Scouts around, but their passions are laced with paranoia. Do they really expect that if Russians or Muslims or North Koreans or Liberals come, there will be street fighting in Doon, Iowa, Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, and Truth and Consequences, New Mexico? Door to door stuff? Makes a great movie, I'm sure, but it somehow seems a stretch.
I won't fault those folks who live in high crime areas for having guns, even if stats seem to indicate that the likelihood of a gunshot victim in a place like that may well be someone who lives there. But I don't live where there's a lot of crime, so who am I to judge those folks?
Furthermore, I don't particularly like the idea of a national gun registry either, and anyone who says that more comprehensive gun registration will mean murderers can't get guns is just silly. We've got a huge gun problem in this country--there are way, way, way too many. But I don't think there's a chance in h-e-double hockey sticks that anything's going to be done about it. Too many zealots are literally ready to die. That's really scary too.
See that picture? I bit into this thing a couple nights ago when my wife and I enjoyed one huge and wonderful cup of pheasant soup, first time I'd done that for years and years and years. It wasn't unpleasant, I didn't lose a filling or anything, and it reminded me of my adolescence, biting into a pheasant or rabbit and finding some stray bb left behind, some bb that had done its shooter's bidding and brought down the bird.
I shot a couple of pheasants last November on a big pheasant hunt, and when the booty was divvied up, I took more than a couple of pheasants home. Lots of people dislike pheasant, and that's understandable. If you're accustomed to chickens fattened in a factory, chickens that are all breast, then a pheasant is way too hard-core, hardly an inch of white meat on 'em. And they can be sinewy too, like chewing on shoelace.
So every recipe we could find insisted on the slow-cooker. Throw 'em in there in the morning, toss in some onion soup and a few green peppers or something, and take the bird out sometime next week. We did. Wonderful. One of the pheasants was an old fart, all cowhide, but the rest weren't bad at all, given a fortnight's stay in the slow-cooker.
And then soup, when we didn't finish it all, wonderful soup--and I'm not just saying this. By then, of course, the meat was so soft it compared with mother's love, as my dad used to say. That bb up there on the table made it all the way into the soup before rattling the timbers.
I don't plan on hunting much anymore. If they ask me to come along to South Dakota again, maybe I'll do it--it was fun. But on my own?--no.
But that doesn't mean that I didn't take a certain kind of pleasure in suddenly banging my molars on that bb. I did. Had I lost a filling, I'd have been sorry, of course, but there was something sort of cool about coming up on my own bb, something like a great circle. I killed that bird. I don't know that it made the meat any more tasty, but I'm the one that ended it's life, I'm the one who determined that it would end up in our slow-cooker, I'm the one who put the food on the table.
I'm nobody's fool. My wife and I are not about to become hunter/gatherers, and back in the old home town, one of my favorite people works behind the meat counter. I got friends with cattle yards. One of my best friends sells hogs.
Still, there's something in me--maybe it's just my childhood--that just loved finding my own bb in that cup of soup, knowing that I was the one who'd done it.
In front of a whole class of fourth graders not long ago, I said something I thought would be shocking. I told them that the Yankton Sioux who used to roam the very ground the school was built on would sometimes cut the heart out of a buffalo they'd just killed and take a big fat bite out of it because they wanted a chunk of that beast's native nobility. I thought they'd be sickened by the idea, but the boys thought it was really cool. You got to get up pretty early to gross out little boys.
Those pheasants of ours were cooked for a long, long time. I didn't take a bite out of anything raw. But when that bb made noise between my teeth and I dropped it--clunk!--on the table, it just felt good somehow. I don't know how else to explain it.
Posted by J. C. Schaap at 6:31 AM