As I mentioned before, my truck turning 100,000 miles caught me by surprise, big time. When I’m shooting carp in May, the Minnesota bear application deadline catches me by surprise, generally sending me in panic to the nearest licensing agent at the bottom of the ninth inning. And then there’s always that wily old doe during the fall hunting season that inevitably comes up from behind and winds me before I ever have a chance to give her the one-finger wave in disgust.
But there are other little surprises that are much more subtle, at least in the beginning, anyway—and experience has taught me that these little surprises are generally the best.
Let me explain.
I was sitting in rush-hour traffic the other day, with my little girl in the back seat waving at every car that passed by. We were stuck in the middle lane, so she was quite busy with both hands trying to keep track of the vehicles on both sides while I was desperately trying to determine which lane was moving the fastest at that time and get into it ASAP.
It was a beautiful thing to watch through my rear-view mirror, and I about rear-ended the Camry in front of me three times before I finally elected to pay a bit more attention to the road. A Hank Williams Jr. song hit the radio about that time, “A Country Boy Can Survive,” of course, and I had all forgotten about my little girl’s waving mission when I heard her say, “Buck.”
As you might imagine, my mind quickly went to that scene in old-school Westerns when a new fella walks through the saloon doors and the music stops while everyone turns to stare. And just then, I heard the radio no more. The traffic sounds faded, and I again returned gaze to my little princess in the back seat.
She, of course, was looking back into my eyes via the rear-view mirror, wearing the most beautiful and prideful smile I’ve ever seen. And although she was no longer waving, she was pointing out the passenger side window at a truck—with a white decal rendition of Milo Hanson’s world-record typical whitetail stuck to the back window of the topper. “Buck.”
I reached back, grabbed her still pointing stubby-fingered hand and told my daughter I loved her.
I learned two things right then: Camouflage is gender-neutral attire, and Gary Allan is a genius.
“When tough little boys grow up to be dads, they turn into big babies again.”
Keep your nose to the wind.