A few years ago, a relative of mine was visiting his sister in a Midwestern college town. The sister and her husband have done well. They have two lovely children and would be considered upper middle class. The husband is an entrepreneur and a developer. The sister and kids are athletic.
My relative is an accomplished woodsman, hunter, and shooter and he’s not above a play on words or a practical joke. He shares an opinion with Thomas Jefferson: ball games do not impress him. He followed Jefferson’s advise on exercise:
“…I advise the gun. While this gives a moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprize, and independance to the mind. Games played with the ball and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks.”1
He taught his children how to shoot at an early age and their home is on the edge of a semi-wilderness area. Bears in the yard are not uncommon. The garden has to be protected from deer and rabbits. Wolves roam nearby.
While visiting, my relative accompanied his sister to a local soccer practice. The kids were playing and the half dozen other soccer moms were in conversation. One of them attempted to include him, asking if he had children. He said he did.
How many? “A boy and a girl.”
She politely asked, Do your kids play soccer?
“No,” he said, “they don’t play soccer.”
Do they play basketball?
“No, they don’t play basketball.”
Do they play baseball?
“No,” he said, “they don’t play baseball.”
By this time the other soccer moms were interested and were listening intently to the exchange.
The questioner asked, finally, What do your kids do?
The brother said, nonchalantly, deadpan, and with a slight shrug, as if it were of no particular interest, “They kill stuff.”
Six jaws dropped toward the ground. The sister, with only the slightest hesitation, exclaimed, “They’re hunters! They hunt!”
The sister’s children are also accomplished hunters and her husband hunts as well.
Part of hunting is killing. Killing used to be an understood necessity. All of society understood the necessity a hundred, or even sixty years ago.
I told an 88-year-old friend, who tends toward the liberal side in her politics and who lives in the same mid-western college town, about the exchange which happened more than a decade ago. She burst out laughing. We discussed it and she said she found it to be hilarious.
As a retired nurse, she understood the realities of life and death very well. Her husband had been a hunter, a soldier, a musician, had a B.A. in music, and had stopped just short of an M.A. in music to be a professional meat cutter. It paid a lot better.
The older generations had a far better understanding of basic realities than current ones do.
©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.