Fall is my favorite time of year. I enjoy walks in the woods when the mosquitos have drunk their fill and the crush of dry leaves under my feet brings the dried sent of the earth to my nose like an elixir to nourish the soul. On a day like this, I was on my first deer hunt with my big brother Vaughn. I was soaking up the sun and smells and time with my big bro when we walked into a ravine off the Burnham road south of Art and Elaine’s. There were a series of shots fired in the direction of Mr. Whitney’s fields. Vaughn said that we were, “In a good place to hold-up.” He said that whatever they were shooting would likely come through this ravine. I had the family’s double barrel 12 gauge shotgun. It was heavy for me; it had a large darkly stained oak stock and the longest barrel of any rifle in our family. But it also gave me the best chance of hitting whatever it was pointed at. Its double barrels were loaded with two shells of buck-shot. How could anyone miss?
I waited anxiously amid the oaks, maples, and birch, trying to stand quietly on the crispy leaves that just begged to be kicked and shuffled. Vaughn urged me to stand quietly and just wait. So I did. Even for an impatient 13 year old, the time passed quickly and a buck peacefully ambled through our ravine. I was slightly above it and Vaughn was somewhere higher up the hill, but I could no longer see him. I started to raise the shotgun and point it at — ‘Bambi”. I didn’t want to shoot Bambi, but somewhere, behind me, above me, watching me, was Vaughn. The double barreled shotgun now weighed a ton as I pointed it at the ambling Bambi. I closed my eyes and pulled the trigger. Well I actually pulled both triggers. With my feet placed side by side, and not front to back, the recoil of both barrels, fired simultaneously, sent me on my back looking through the patchwork of brightly colored leaves that still clung to the trees. Unhurt, I stood to watch Bambi prancing away. I pulled the trigger again, not realizing I had already fired both shells. Nothing happened, I heard Vaughn’s shout, “Shoot again!” I tried. I even opened the gun, like a claim shell, to make sure I had two shells in it. Clicking it back together, I aimed at the now dancing Bambi and tried to shoot again. “It won’t shoot!” I shouted into the air. I heard the single report of Vaughn’s rifle and Bambi, now dead, fell to the ground. After-all, my brother Vaughn was a marksman.
Some weeks later, during a Sunday meal with the whole family, Vaugh took a bite from the steak and said, “Hey, I bit into a buck shot. You did hit the deer.” He never did show me that buckshot.