Day before yesterday, I wrote about my Aunt’s Birthday and the unique encounter with the deer near her grave site. Later, I recalled a cute story or two that made me think of that deer. First, I have mentioned this before…when I first became closer to my Aunt was in 2010 when I found her down in her home beneath a pile of stuff, buried, hypothermic and near death. The next few days involved emergency surgery and even discussions on whether we should just let her go (position of other family members). All this was while my mom lay dying in our home, in hospice mode.
A few days into the hospital stay, my Aunt awakened in a daze. Missing her dentures, cheeks sunken in, looking groggy she reached out with her gnarled hand (tubes and tape attached) and touched mine. She moved her dry lips and attempted to form a meaningful remark. I was sure it was to thank me for being near or to ask about her status. No. She asked me one of the two oddest questions she ever asked me: ‘Gary do you have my .257 Roberts rifle?’ Seriously? Yep, that is what she asked me coming out of her fog. That was the first time I had heard about a .257 Roberts and as I came to learn it was a special round that was suitable for a smaller person, her, and fired from a specially built rifle her husband had built for her.
Which brings up the second recollection: she told the story of hunting in Eastern Oregon with her hubby. They were up early, stalking for deer. My Uncle was leading along and my Aunt was walking along behind him. Both carrying their loaded rifles. As my Aunt tells it, she was attempting to quietly step along matching her husband, quiet step for quiet step.
Of course, my Aunt made one of the most egregious errors a hunter can make….she was walking along with the safety off, the trigger finger inside the trigger guard and Boom! She cranked off a round into the air. No doubt my Uncle’s sphincter puckered up and the adrenaline surge must have been amazing. My Auntie tells the story of her ears ringing, of her husband in shock, of the morning calm being broken and that from then on she was walking beside her husband and never to the rear! Yes, he continued to take her hunting and fly fishing and camping. She never did bag a deer. She said she always prayed she never had an opportunity to shoot a deer.
Oh, that other odd question was as we drove along after leaving an emergency room…’Gary do you like vodka?’ ‘Why yes, I suppose so. Why?’ ‘Just wondered’. “Do you want some vodka?’ ‘No, just wondered’.